Is the EU beholden to lobbyists?

How much influence do interest groups have on EU legislation? Experts are divided, but the online platform LobbyPlag sees a lot. Sometimes, they say, MEPs even copy and paste directly from lobby proposals. READ MORE

Germany to Continue Leading Europe Despite Domestic Political Uncertainty

By Stephen F. Szabo

Germany’s federal election in September is about more than that country’s future; it’s about Europe. Germany has emerged from the multiple crises of the eurozone as the continent’s pivotal power. U.S. President Barack Obama understood this early in his tenure and it has also been openly acknowledged by the likes of Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, who called for more German leadership in a speech in Berlin. Germany’s indispensability is also acknowledged, albeit less openly, in Britain and France, both of which are still coming to terms with Germany’s preponderance of economic and political power (and its lack of comparable military power). And in countries such as Greece, Spain, and Italy, anti-German sentiments are a grudging acknowledgement that these nations’ fates are determined in Berlin as much as in their own capitals. READ MORE

Ex-U.S. official on increased role of Azerbaijan, Europe's energy security, Central Asia and Iran's nuclear issue

The importance of Azerbaijan is rising in the world, David Merkel, senior fellow at the Centre for Transatlantic Relations - John Hopkins University in the U.S. and Former U.S. State Department and National Security Council senior official believes. READ MORE

Lithuania Wants to get Free of Energy Hegemony

By Thomas Jarvi

Till 2014 Lithuania intends to build a terminal of condensed natural gas (CNG) in Klaipeda in order to reduce the dependence of supplies from (yet the only source) Russian gas. Meanwhile Russian gas giant Gazprom loses European market rapidly, giving the way to other suppliers, for example, Qatar and is concerned about the issues of terminal construction by Lithuania. READ MORE

Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius in Warsaw: Lithuania and Poland will seek EU support for gas link


Lithuania and Poland will join forces and turn to the European Commission (EC) to ask for the European Union's (EU) financial support to the projected gas pipeline, Lithuania's Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius has said after meeting with his Polish counterpart. READ MORE

Turkey Debates SCO as an Alternative to the EU

By Emrullah Uslu

Turkey–European Union relations were frozen while Cyprus held the rotating EU presidency during the second half of 2012. In those six months, no progress was made in Turkey’s European integration, and very few official visits took place between Turkish and EU delegations. Signifying the tense relationship, in November, ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy, Professor Burhan Kuzu, the head of the parliamentary Constitution Commission, harshly criticized the EU progress report on Turkey. He dramatically threw it into a trashcan on national television to show his government’s disappointment with the EU and with Cyprus’s presidency (CNNTurk, November 11, 2012). READ MORE

The EU doesn’t give ‘certificates’

By Raphael Vassallo

The EU does not give ‘certificates’ of economic health. On the contrary, it merely accepts whatever figures are thrown at it by member States, at face value and without question. READ MORE

Speech by Foreign Minister Westerwelle at the 49th Munich Security Conference


Mr Vice President,

Distinguished guests,

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and gentlemen, READ MORE

Baptism by Fire of Francois Hollande

By Anton Ramov

The year of 2013 has started with an acute escalation of the situation in Mali. After a military coup in March 2012 the North of the country was captured by Toureg-separatists from the National Liberation Movement of Azawad (NLMA). Having used disorganization and weakness of governmental troops, the rebels proclaimed an independent state of Azawad along the territory, comparable in sizes with France. Already in summer 2012 contradictions between moderate separatists and radical Islamists among rebelled Toureg escalated. As a result the power was transferred to the Islamists from the groupings of  Ansar al-Din (“Faith defenders”) and Al-Qaeda of Islamic Magrheb. READ MORE

Russia denies bullying Ukraine into its customs union

Moscow, which recently slammed Kyiv with a huge gas bill, said Monday (4 February) that an arrangement could be found. A Russian diplomat explained that the deal would not necessarily require Ukraine to join Moscow's proposed Customs Union with Belarus and Kazakhstan.  READ MORE