The Snowden Dilemma

Merkel caught between Washington and her domestic public

by Bettina Vestring | Cyber Security, Germany

Angela Merkel would like nothing better than to leave the NSA scandal behind. The German chancellor wants no shadow cast over her upcoming visit to Washington. But Merkel’s domestic public is not playing along. Germans stubbornly persist in considering the NSA’s whistleblower Edward Snowden a hero. This feeds into a strong current of anti-Americanism – with dangerous long-term consequences for the transatlantic relationship.

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Going Renewable

Achieving Energy Independence from Russia

Can the Ukraine crisis force Germany to backtrack on the Energiewende?

by Paul Hockenos | Renewables, Central Europe

No, regardless of Poland’s off-the-cuff critique. But it’s fueling anew the debate in Germany over supply security. Renewables could go a long way toward bolstering Germany's energy security vis-à-vis Russia, while energy-saving measures could be the true clincher.

Eye on Europe

Outgunned and Alone
Outgunned and Alone

If Russia attacks openly, Ukraine’s military will be no match for Putin’s forces

by Elizabeth Pond | Ukraine, War/Warfare

With the situation in Donetsk and elsewhere escalating and “pro-Russian demonstrators” occupying police stations and administrative buildings, the government in Kiev is sending troops eastward for the first time. Its opponents – and not only those kept battle-ready beyond the border in Russia – are far better equipped. Even the capital would be within their reach.

Eye on Europe

Democratic Wunderkind No More

Hungarian authoritarian Viktor Orbán wins again

by Paul Hockenos | Elections, Hungary

25 years ago, Hungary was the liberal shining light of the Eastern Bloc. Now one in five Hungarians supports the hate-fueled Jobbik party's calls to reclaim “Greater Hungary” from its neighbors, and Viktor Orbán and Fidesz are riding the country's scapegoats and their own manipulative policies to an overwhelming reelection to a second full term.

World Trade

Doha Still the Silver Bullet
Doha Still the Silver Bullet

WTO's Bali agreement important development toward resolution

14/04/2014 | by Claudia Schmucker | Worldwide, Trade

Finally a step in the right direction: in WTO negotiations on Bali at the end of 2013, it was finally possible to agree on a package including trade facilitation, select agricultural policies, and developmental agreements. Will such progress save the Doha Round from collapse?

Berlin Observer

No Room to Maneuver

Delayed French austerity leaves France and Germany few options moving forward

by Derek Scally | Fiscal Policy, France

Given its sustained, rule-breaking deficit, France's new government will be forced to walk a fine line between domestic calls for more state stimulus and European demands for cutbacks, as its ministers were duly reminded on their first visit to the German capital this week.

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Latest blog posts

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    How Merkel went from hot to cold on Tymoshenko

    While Yulia Tymoshenko was imprisoned in Ukraine, Angela Merkel was her staunchest ally. But since her release, the relationship has cooled off dramatically. Berlin fears that Tymoshenko is turning into a fervently anti-Russian nationalist in order to win the presidential elections.

  • Paying the Gas Piper

    Former Soviet republics weakest link in EU energy security chain

    The Baltic states, overwhelmingly dependent upon Russian energy supplies, experience most directly the high costs of their neighbor's political pressure on the EU. Could diversification including renewables provide these countries some relief?

  • Greening the Heartlands of Coal in Europe

    New Böll Foundation report sheds light on renewables in Central Europe

    Germany's Energiewende has also impacted Poland and the Czech Republic, but these effects are rarely discussed or well-understood by German lawmakers. EU-wide energy policies are needed in order to ensure that Germany's transition to renewables is permanent, sustainable, and fair to its neighbors.