Russia and EU move one step closer to visa-free travel

By Evgeniya Chaykovskaya

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the government to present suggestions about easing visa rules for tourists, including those visiting while on a cruise and yachts, by June 1. READ MORE

Lithuania and Poland: Lost in Translation

By Wojciech Borodzicz-Smolinski, Vytis Jurkonis

Lithuanian–Polish relations, though far from being perfect in the political sense, are on a very good level in economic terms. This awkward situation is not only a hard task for policy makers, but may also influence future generations and their vision regarding the cooperation between Poland and Lithuania. The bilateral relations of Poland and Lithuania, therefore, have become hostage to the complicated history of both nations and their respective complex inner political situations. READ MORE

The State of the World: Germany's Strategy

By George Friedman

The idea of Germany having an independent national strategy runs counter to everything that Germany has wanted to be since World War II and everything the world has wanted from Germany. In a way, the entire structure of modern Europe was created to take advantage of Germany's economic dynamism while avoiding the threat of German domination. In writing about German strategy, I am raising the possibility that the basic structure of Western Europe since World War II and of Europe as a whole since 1991 is coming to a close. READ MORE

How Italy May Yet Save Europe… Really

By Maria Elena Gutierrez

The European sovereign debt crisis reached its apex when global financial markets began considering the possibility that a large euro zone economy — Italy, Spain, or both — could become another Greece, resulting in the dissolution of the single currency. By November 2011, the spread between the yields of 10-year Italian and German bonds was so great that Italy had to pay interest rates well above 7 percent on its long-term debt, a clearly unsustainable level. This marked a political turning point. But while Italy was once seen as a primary cause of the euro crisis, it could now be poised to be part of the solution. READ MORE

Hungary’s Prime Minister Bites the Hand that Feeds Him


By James Kirchick

On March 15, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stood before nearly 100,000 of his fellow countrymen in Budapest and declared, “Hungarians will not live as foreigners dictate.” Drawing an explicit connection between the European Union, which Hungary enthusiastically joined in 2004, and the Soviet Union, which brutally crushed a Hungarian revolt in 1956, Orbán said, “We are more than familiar with the character of unsolicited comradely assistance, even if it comes wearing a finely tailored suit and not a uniform with shoulder patches.” READ MORE

“Pro-Romanian” President of Moldova

By Vitali Kulik

This March 23rd after almost three years pause Moldova obtained its President, thus getting out of evidently prolonged constitutional dead-end. Having just taken the office, the elected President, 63 years old Head of the Supreme Magistrate Council of the Republic of Moldova Nicolae Timofti, have already gained the reputation of the upholder of unification with Romania and “anti-Russian” project in the yellow press. READ MORE

Rising Gas Consumption Reveals Structural Problems in Turkey’s Energy Policies

By Saban Kardas

Heavy winter conditions have strained natural gas supplies in Turkey, shedding critical light on the country’s over reliance on hydrocarbons. Due to the record increases in household consumption and electricity demand, which coincided with interruptions in gas imports from Iran and Azerbaijan, concerns were raised as to whether Ankara’s current contracts meet its actual demand, and how this will affect its future energy policies. READ MORE

Building with BRICs in 2012

By David Kudla

Investors hurt by last year’s market turmoil have enjoyed an encouraging turnaround, with many of the worst performing asset classes from 2011 having pivoted to become the standout performers of the new year. Such has been the case with emerging markets. READ MORE

China sacrifices economic growth to slay inflation dragon


By Nick Edwards

If inflation is a dragon that must be slain, China’s Premier Wen Jiabao has shown he is willing to sacrifice a part of the country’s most vital asset to do so – growth. READ MORE

See you in Sukhumi


By Diana Zadura

Viewed from the side it would seem that the issue of Abkhazia and South Ossetia is now closed for business, and what happened cannot be undone. Georgians however did not abandon hope. In the New Year message, President Saakashvili proposed to his fellow countrymen to greet with a greeting ”See you in Sukhumi,” following the model of ancient Israeli, greeting with the New Year greeting, ”See you in Jerusalem.” READ MORE