Tag Archives: EU

Germany – a post-modern Cinderella?

A few days ago, Germany (well most of it) celebrated 25 years of unification. In 1990, the former East-German GDR was incorporated into the West-German Bundesrepubik (FRG). A national spring was promised, however a lot of investment a troubles lay ahead.

Externally, German regained its full sovereignty in a period where global flows were superseding sovereignty more and more. But, after a quarter of a century of growing into a new role, it appears Germany is now being viewed differently. In the Eurocrisis, Germany played the roles of the older brother and the villain. In the refugee crisis, it took a lead as well, without really knowing where to go. Since 1990, German troops were deployed abroad for the first time post-WW2. Despite this, it resisted agreeing with military actions against Iraq and Libya. In the 5 + 1 (or 3 + 3) format, Germany was part of the possibly successful Vienna agreement on Iran, and it also inspired the Normandy format, achieving a Minsk agreement (however shaky) on regulating the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Furthermore, it may become part of a new 3+3+3 process on Syria despite not being a permanent member of the UN Security Council. Finally, the country also did not shy away from conflict with the US on issues of data protection.

Still, doubts are lingering. Some are welcoming a greater German role in global politics, yet others are skeptical. Some are calling for Germany to accept more responsibility, while others think there is already too much of it.

What should the proper message to the Germans be in year 25? What do you wish them to do?

By Prof. Dr. Klaus Segbers – Program Director of the Center for Global Politics

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What is a viable solution to Europe’s refugee crisis?

While the EU is overwhelmed by the tasks of containing Russia, redirecting profligate southern governments, and by blocking terrorism, it is more attractive to hundreds of thousands of migrants than ever before. Whether this is a fatal, or welcome attraction, is hotly debated.

Germany, which for many played the role of the bad cop during the so-called Eurocrisis, appears now as the good angel in the migrant crisis. While the EU may be technically able to take in more than 1 million refugees and labor migrants in 2015 alone, even superficial extrapolations for the coming years clearly show that the EU cannot alleviate ongoing and deep crises in the MENA area as well as the Balkans by accepting millions of people.

So what could a viable solution look like?

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How should we view the staging of historical memory?

Anniversaries come and go, but now and then some are elevated to a specific interest, and play the role of a crucial date. This year, 2015, makes the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. In May the Russian authorities organized a huge parade on Red Square in Moscow. Then, for the 3rd of September, the Chinese ruling party have planned something similar on Tiananmen Square in Beijing. In both cases, some foreign governments faced the quandary of whether or not they should attend and participate.

The reason for this is not some small historical squabble over this or that detail, but rather the value of these commemorations within the current paradigm. In practice, history is not what has been, but rather what we need it to be today.

So what attitude should governments hold towards the staging of historical memory?

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25 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall – is the world better or worse off with the united Germany?

When Germany’s neighbors – France, UK, Italy, Poland, and the Baltic states – faced the prospect of a unified Germany in 1990, many reservations could be registered. Experiences with a “big Germany” were only 45 years in the past. Margaret Thatcher, Francois Mitterand, and others were very open in their rejection of a unified Germany. Scientists like John Mearsheimer predicted a nuclearization of a unified Germany. Nothing of this sort materialized. But – Germany is not just a, but the core member of the Eurozone and the EU. Germany has a place at the Iran negotiations, and is also active in the Near and Middle East diplomacies. Also, it has its
troops deployed to keep peace or stability in plenty of global crises. There is no Western politician so much in demand in both Ukraine and Russia. On balance – how do we see Germany’s global role today?

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MH 17 plane crash in Ukraine: How can an ever more unreliable Russia be contained?

The situation in and around Eastern Ukraine reached a climax last week, when the Malaysian Boeing 777, flight MH 17, was downed en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 298 passengers and crew members, over the settlement of Torez, close to Donetsk and the Russian border. There is hardly a reasonable doubt that the plane was shot down by militia or Cossack groupings fighting for an independent Donbas, openly bragging their deed, inspired and supported by the Russian military. Increasingly it is becoming clear that Russia is moving away from being part of a solution for a new post-Cold War European order. Rather, it is major problem. Finally implementing level 3 sanctions and redistributing the 2018 World Cup will be debated now, once more.

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Will the rise of populist parties in the European parliament have an effect on the EU’s external relations and Europe’s geopolitical position?

The recent elections to the European parliament led to the expected rise of populist parties, advocating anti-EU messages and fusions of right and left-wing positions. While the pro-EU conservative, socialist and liberal party families still hold about two thirds of the seats, the rise of the rebels – particularly from France and the UK (winning in both countries by a landslide), Greece, Hungary, the Netherlands and Austria – constitutes a significant challenge.

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Is it time to forget about a Turkish perspective for merging Islam and democratisation? Is the EU itself partly to blame by dragging on ascension negotiations?

Over decades, a membership of Turkey in the EU has been debated and negotiated. Once again, the progress of negotiation seems to have stalled. There always were good reasons for finally integrating Turkey: a Muslim country as an EU-member state could demonstrate that the EU is not a “Club of Christians”. Also, Turkey’s influence in regional conflicts is substantial.

But the recent moves by the Erdogan government apparently put all hope for an EU-Turkish rapprochement to rest: the violent measures against the demonstrators around Gezi Park in 2013, voluntary shifting of hundreds of procurators and police officers, rude language from Prime Minister Erdogan himself, indicators of notorious corruption even in higher echelons of the state apparatus, increasing measures against social networks in Turkey, and the negligent reactions to the victims of the mining tragedy in Soma all show that Turkey may be sliding backwards.

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No Europe A La Carte: The EU needs Turkey far less than Turkey needs the EU

BY THEODOROS TSAKIRIS

The Turkish experiment in democratization has always been a complicated process. Erdogan, like Menderes in the 1950s, consolidated his power basis in contradiction to the secular kemalist guardians who always elevated the country’s Armed Forces as the true regulators of the Republic.

The big difference between Erdogan and Menderes is that Erdogan used the EU bid as a means of neutralizing the Military’s interventionism. The Generals knew and know that a potential coup d’etat would effectively terminate their country’s bid for EU accession.

As Erdogan consolidated his power and presided over an era of unprecedented economic growth he started to behave with the same level of arrogance that Menderes behaved towards the end of his ten-year term.

Erdogan will only become more aggressive and intractable in the domestic arena where his efforts to resolve the Kurdish issue ended in disarray, but in the absence of a credible alternative he is more likely to continue to consolidate his position and conquer the country’s Presidency.

In the foreign policy area, and Ankara’s relations with Athens and Nicosia, Turkish policies have remained as revisionist and uncompromising as ever. With regards to the Middle East where Ankara is perceived to play a major and positive role by some Europeans, Turkish Foreign Policy has lost almost all influence with the existing governments. Mr. Davutoglou’s “Zero” Problems Policy has managed to isolate Turkey from its former allies.

Turkey is no longer considered as a valuable ally or an honest broker by any of its Middle Eastern neighbors with the exception of the Islamic Brotherhood parties that are on the run everywhere in the region except the Hammas and Islamic Jihad Stronghold of Gaza.

Turkey’s Cold War with Israel continues and its relations with Iran have lost their special character ever since Turkey was forced to -by and large- implement the US/EU oil boycott against Tehran that is crippling the Iranian economy.

Europe has no responsibility for Mr. Erdogan’s excesses. The Acquis Communautaires are not negotiable because they constitute the least common denominator of the European consensus and the Spirit of the Acquis is the very epitome of Europe’s Political Civilization which Erdogan continuously violates.

Turkey always attempted to utilize its geostrategic location and the false pretense of hegemonic influence in the Middle East and the Caucasus to persuade Europeans that it should be exempted from the rules everyone else followed.

There is no Europe a la carte. You need to eat all the menu even if it included spinach whether you like it or not.

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How can the OECD countries cope with this challenge: accepting many asylum seekers claiming to be refugees, or carefully selecting qualifications and insisting on the given channels of immigration? Are quotas the only solution? What about amnesties for illegal migrants?

Waves of asylum seekers, many of whom are actually labour migrants, constantly struggle to reach the shores of more developed countries such as Australia, Southern Europe, the United States and elsewhere. We can see these movements both as human tragedies where help is required, and the resulting pushback as attempts to regulate human capital influx.

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What consequences will the Fatah-Hamas pact have for the region and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?


Fatah and Hamas have just overcome a seven year rift and agreed to implement a unity pact. Both sides now want to form a unity government within five weeks to prepare for elections within six months. Israel´s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already said that under these new conditions, he will terminate the peace talks.

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