Do the Winds of Change Portend a Moderating Political Climate in the European Union?

Over the 25 years that I have been studying Greece, the country has often served as a canary in the coalmine for the global economy and the global body politic.  In the 1990s, I was struck by the level of governmental corruption and the tight relationships between business interests and the political parties.  Then IContinue reading “Do the Winds of Change Portend a Moderating Political Climate in the European Union?”

The European Union: a brief overview & terms to understand

The European Union (EU) has a structure of government which is uniquely their own. Although aspects may seem similar to a federal structure, it does not fall into that category. The government of the EU has evolved over 50 years, and is historic in its ability to have so many nations retain a level ofContinue reading “The European Union: a brief overview & terms to understand”

The Horsemeat Scandal

So, you’re living in Europe. Imagine sitting down one evening to a fine frozen dinner; lasagna, from your favorite store. Imagine waking up the next morning and finding pictures of a box of lasagna which seems suspiciously identical to the one in which your delicious frozen food was contained the night before plastered all overContinue reading “The Horsemeat Scandal”

Sakharov Prize nomination for Pussy Riot a disgrace

Pussy Riot’s nomination for the Sakharov Prize is a disgrace. According the European Parliament’s website, the Sakharov Prize is for those who “have shown how much courage it takes to defend human rights and freedom of expression.” Pussy Riot should under no circumstances be placed in the same category as previous winners of the prize–NelsonContinue reading “Sakharov Prize nomination for Pussy Riot a disgrace”

Lukashenko vs. Swedish Teddy Bears

The early 2012 dust-up between Belarus and the EU, which saw all the EU member states remove their ambassadors from Belarus in February, ended rather quietly. President Lukashenko eased back the repression a little bit, and the EU ambassadors slowly filtered back in without fanfare in late April. Basically, it was an ordinary three-month periodContinue reading “Lukashenko vs. Swedish Teddy Bears”

Belarus releases two political prisoners

Two high-profile political prisoners in Belarus were pardoned by President Alexander Lukashenko and released over the weekend. One of the two former prisoners was no less than Andrei Sannikov, founder of the opposition group Charter 97 and runner-up to Lukashenko in the 2010 presidential elections. Zmitser Bandarenka, a political ally of Sannikov, was also released.Continue reading “Belarus releases two political prisoners”

Is Spain (not Italy) the EU’s biggest long-term concern?

Experts discussions have long held the idea that Greece is not the real issue when it comes to solving the Euro Debt Crisis. Contagion is rather the issue: would a Greek default trigger investor panic in larger countries of the Eurozone? Italy has been seen as the elephant in the room since Silvio Berlusconi’s long-hopedContinue reading “Is Spain (not Italy) the EU’s biggest long-term concern?”

EU partially initials Association Agreement with Ukraine

The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, completed last December only to be left unsigned by both parties, was initialed last Friday by two low-level officials who didn’t even hold a press conference afterwards. The initialing—which must be followed by ratification procedures in the parliaments of Ukraine, the EU and all its member states—didn’t even cover the entireContinue reading “EU partially initials Association Agreement with Ukraine”

Hungarian ambassador to speak at IU

At 4 PM on Wednesday, March 7, the Hungarian ambassador to the United States, Dr. György Szapáry, will speak in Room 102 of the Fine Arts Building at Indiana University-Bloomington. His lecture is titled “Melting Down the Iceberg: How to Deal with the Debt Crisis?” Click here for more details on Dr. Szapáry’s visit, scheduledContinue reading “Hungarian ambassador to speak at IU”

Ambassadors recalled from Belarus

The ever-testy relationship between the European Union and Belarus has significantly deteriorated over the past 36 hours. Yesterday, Belarus recalled its own ambassadors to the EU and Poland, and also asked the EU and Polish ambassadors to Belarus to leave the country. In response, the EU announced all ambassadors from every member country would leaveContinue reading “Ambassadors recalled from Belarus”