Europe

  • Rome and Brussels Go Head to Head in Budget Battle

    A budget proposal put forward by Italy’s populist government would create a prohibitively high deficit and has sharpened the conflict between Rome and the European Union.

    Despite warnings from Brussels, the ruling Italian coalition of La Lega and the 5 Star Movement submitted its 2019 budget proposal to the European Union (EU) on October 15. A combination of tax cuts, increased social spending, and a roll back of pension reforms will cause the deficit to jump from 0.8 percent to 2.4 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), according to the government’s calculations. The proposal, which creates a deficit that is more than triple the level desired by the EU, has left investors jittery about the trajectory of the Italian economy.

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  • Quiz: Countdown to Brexit

    The United Kingdom has six  months left in the European Union. Do you know the difference between "hard" and "soft" Brexit? Whether you're Team Barnier or Team Raab, prove that you are the master of Brexit negotiations. Here are seven questions on Europe's messy divorce.

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  • Church Splits, and Putin Loses Big

    Ukraine has just won a tremendous victory by obtaining the right of autocephaly, or the right to constitute the Ukrainian Orthodox Church as fully independent and free of any subservience to Moscow. This victory represents a shattering blow to Vladimir Putin’s pretenses of a Russian world (Russkii Mir) and the entire arcana imperii (Imperial relics) of the Russian narrative that Ukraine is really a part of Russia that does not merit political or cultural independence. The attainment of autocephaly is actually Ukraine’s second emancipation from Moscow; it is a religious and cultural emancipation that accompanies the country’s political emancipation in 1991. And it shatters the intellectual basis for Putin’s attacks on Ukraine.
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  • The New Cold War Could Learn a Lot from the Old One

    Territories between great powers—borderlands—have always been areas of strife. So it is with the countries caught between Russia and the West, those that were once part of the Soviet Union or firmly within its sphere of influence. Much of Europe has consolidated and, with the United States, established a lasting liberal democratic order, but Russia has been increasingly pushing back. Though most of the “borderlands” countries are now West-facing, Moscow wants to control at least the national security policies of its near neighbors.

    The West should reject Moscow’s claim.

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  • How Ukraine Can Avoid Disaster in 2019

    Ukraine’s 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections are the most important since the country became independent nearly three decades ago. If next year’s elections follow those held in 2014 when five pro-reform political forces won a constitutional majority, Ukraine’s European integration and withdrawal from the Russian world will be assured by the next election cycle in 2024.
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  • Ukraine, Anti-Semitism, Racism, and the Far Right​

    October 14 saw the latest in a string of annual mass marches by the far right in Ukraine. As many as 10,000 people participated, mainly young men, chanting fiercely. A nighttime torchlight parade with signs proclaiming “We’ll return Ukraine to Ukrainians,” contained echoes of Nazi-style symbolism.

    Lax law enforcement and indifference by the security services to the operations of the far right is being noticed by extremists from abroad who are flocking to Ukraine. German media reported the presence of the German extreme right (JN-NPD, Dritte Weg) at the rally. According to Ukrainian political analyst Anton Shekhovtsov, far-right Norwegians, Swedes, and Italians were supposed to be there too. And on October 15, they all gathered in Kyiv for the Paneuropa conference organized by the Ukrainian neo-Nazi National Corps party. "Kyiv," says Shekhovtsov, "has now become one of the major centers of European far-right activities."

    Such activism, naturally, unnerves liberals as well as Jews, and national minorities. And they often result in alarmist headlines in Western and Israeli newspapers.

    Coming in a year in which the white supremacist C14 group engaged in savage beatings at a Roma encampment near Kyiv, one could draw the conclusion that the far right is on the rise in Ukraine.

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  • 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.

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  • What Really Happened in Constantinople Last Week

    Last week Ukraine’s Orthodox Church got confirmation that it will likely receive the independence from Moscow that it has long sought. The issue is complex, and the terminology foreign to most readers. The issue of the Ukrainian church is similar to an iceberg. What appears above the surface is political, but the largest part underneath has nothing to do with politics. Millions of Orthodox Ukrainians were considered outside of spiritual unity with the rest of the Orthodox world. Thousands of other Orthodox Christians who belonged to the only legitimate Orthodox Church in Ukraine, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC), felt uncomfortable there because it seems to channel Russia’s political agenda. This is the same country which annexed Crimea and launched a hybrid war in Ukraine’s east.

    Both the Moscow Patriarchate and its filial structure in Ukraine, the UOC, have failed to address the pastoral issue caused by the ecclesial schism. It was addressed, however, by the church of Constantinople, which had planted Christianity in the medieval Kyivan state and was responsible for the Kyivan Metropolia (an administrative unit in the Orthodox church) until it gave Moscow some rights to manage Ukrainian ecclesial matters in 1686. On October 11, the governing body of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, called the Holy Synod, revoked these rights from Moscow and reinstated its own control in Ukraine. Effectively, the Ecumenical Patriarchate restored the status quo, which existed on the territory of modern Ukraine at the end of the seventeenth century.

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  • Kyiv Patriarchate Vs. Moscow Patriarchate: David Triumphs Over Goliath

    On October 10, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople agreed to recognize the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church. This is a historic decision with huge geopolitical implications.

    In addition, the anathema that had hung over Patriarch Filaret of the Kyiv Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Makarii of the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church, and their followers was lifted, and they were recognized as canonical.

    Russia, of course, couldn’t refrain from commenting.

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  • Kempe Quoted in Reuters on Results of Bavaria Elections


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