Blogs

  • The Snowden Dilemma

    Merkel caught between Washington and her domestic public

    by Bettina Vestring, 17/04/2014 | 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.

  • Achieving Energy Independence from Russia

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

    by Paul Hockenos, 16/04/2014 | 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.

  • Democratic Wunderkind No More

    Hungarian authoritarian Viktor Orbán wins again

    by Paul Hockenos, 11/04/2014 | 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.

  • No Room to Maneuver

    Delayed French austerity leaves France and Germany few options moving forward

    by Derek Scally, 10/04/2014 | 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.

  • Insurrection, Annexation, Resurrection

    Ukraine will overcome this too – if it can avoid further invasion

    by Elizabeth Pond, 09/04/2014 | Conflicts and Strategies, Ukraine

    No strangers to radical rebirth, Ukrainians are united in their demands for functional democracy, a growing economy, and a unified state, not divided along ethnic or geographic lines. Is Western money enough to keep the Russian military at bay?

  • Springer Without Borders

    Coloring Central Europe's view of the Energiewende

    by Paul Hockenos, 08/04/2014 | Renewables, Central Europe

    Media conglomerate Axel Springer AG is known in Germany for its populist and archconservative tone. What most don't know is the degree to which it also owns publications across Central Europe – in which it spreads deep-seated skepticism of Germany’s energy transition.

  • More Effective Aid, More Prestige

    Why Germany should europeanize its humanitarian assistance

    by Matteo Garavoglia, 04/04/2014 | Humanitarian Intervention, Germany

    If Germany would like to play a more active role in international affairs, improving the country’s international humanitarian aid efforts should be top on the list. Working toward deeper European integration in this field would boost its own profile.

  • Support For Ukrainian Unbraiding

    How Merkel went from hot to cold on Tymoshenko

    by Bettina Vestring, 02/04/2014 | German Foreign Policy, Ukraine

    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

    by Paul Hockenos, 01/04/2014 | Renewables, Eastern Europe

    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

    by Paul Hockenos, 26/03/2014 | Renewables, 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.

  • Hard vs. Soft Power

    Risks and rewards in the international battle over the future of Ukraine

    by Elizabeth Pond, 25/03/2014 | Conflicts and Strategies, Ukraine

    Russian President Vladimir Putin is gambling that his superior short-term hard power will prevail in Ukraine. The West is hoping that its superior long-term soft power will succeed. Whose bet will be the winning one?

  • Coddling the Russian Bear

    Apologists for Crimean aggression found across the German political spectrum

    by Derek Scally, 21/03/2014 | German Foreign Policy, Russia

    Rather than placing the blame for Russia's actions in Ukraine squarely in Putin's court, numerous German experts, politicians, and talking heads argue the West overstepped its bounds in building partnerships inside Russia's sphere of influence, claiming sympathy for Russian security interests while simultaneously ignoring those of former Soviet republics and satellites.

  • Merkel Shows Her Mettle

    Reacting to Crimean annexation, Merkel sets a hard line precedent

    by Elizabeth Pond, 20/03/2014 | Conflicts and Strategies, Ukraine

    It was not inevitable that Angela Merkel would become Europe's geopolitical as well as financial leader when Vladimir Putin pulled off the continent's first armed land grab since World War II. Only in retrospect did her leadership seem preordained.

  • Europe’s Long Peace, Shattered

    Russia’s refusal to back down over Crimea marks a sea change

    by Elizabeth Pond, 13/03/2014 | Conflicts and Strategies, Ukraine

    Those who thought the world had traded 20th-century big power tactics such as annexation by force for peace and the rule of international law were stunned by Russia's invasion of Crimea. Will the West react swiftly and strongly enough to uphold its security promises to Ukraine, reassure its smallest partners, and keep Russian aggression in check?

  • For Steinmeier, the End of Ostpolitik

    Putin’s ruthlessness in Crimea forces German policy revision

    by Bettina Vestring, 12/03/2014 | German Foreign Policy, Ukraine

    Germany’s Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier used to be a firm believer in Ostpolitik. But Russia’s determination in taking over Crimea has thwarted all his diplomatic efforts.

  • Ukraine’s Generational Divide

    Age, not geography, most significant in East/West orientation

    by Elizabeth Pond, 10/03/2014 | Conflicts and Strategies, Ukraine

    For a movement that has already brought together divergent interest groups in the interest of protecting civil society and national integrity, Putin’s move on Crimea will only accelerate the forging of a national, European identity in Ukraine.

  • Diaspora-Driven Campaigns Finance Clean Energy Projects

    UNDP model project in Croatia powers school with solar panels

    by Paul Hockenos, 07/03/2014 | Renewables, South-East Europe

    For countries with widespread and established emigrant communities, crowdfunding can be a means to support sustainable development at home.

  • Diplomacy On the Line

    Berlin mediates between Moscow and Washington

    by Derek Scally, 06/03/2014 | German Foreign Policy, Eastern Europe

    Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel are renowned for their open criticism of one another, yet the two leaders are more sympathetic to each other than such behavior lets on. Negotiating on Ukraine, Germany navigates a fine line between the demands of the EU, the US, Russia, and its own recently-touted international political ambitions.

  • Preventing Further Eurosion

    The importance of the 2014 European Parliament elections

    by Olaf Cramme, Arian Meyer, Jo Ritzen, 04/03/2014 | European Union, Geographical areas of Europe

    In order to stop euroskepticism from spiraling out of control at the ballot box this May, member states must come together and champion a model for Europe to inspire their citizens, based on commonly defined objectives such as full employment, dynamism, competitiveness, egalitarianism, and sustainability.

  • Seehofer Shifts on Südlink

    Energy policy bungling in Bavaria

    by Paul Hockenos, 28/02/2014 | Renewables, Germany

    CSU party leader and Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer's sudden about-face on Südlink, the planned long-distance transmission corridor for renewable energy running through his state, is little more than political pandering to cosmetic concerns without accounting for long-term needs.

Latest Eye on Europe

  • Democratic Wunderkind No More

    Hungarian authoritarian Viktor Orbán wins again

    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.

  • Insurrection, Annexation, Resurrection

    Ukraine will overcome this too – if it can avoid further invasion

    No strangers to radical rebirth, Ukrainians are united in their demands for functional democracy, a growing economy, and a unified state, not divided along ethnic or geographic lines. Is Western money enough to keep the Russian military at bay?

  • Hard vs. Soft Power

    Risks and rewards in the international battle over the future of Ukraine

    Russian President Vladimir Putin is gambling that his superior short-term hard power will prevail in Ukraine. The West is hoping that its superior long-term soft power will succeed. Whose bet will be the winning one?

Latest Berlin Observer

  • The Snowden Dilemma

    Merkel caught between Washington and her domestic public

    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.

  • No Room to Maneuver

    Delayed French austerity leaves France and Germany few options moving forward

    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.

  • More Effective Aid, More Prestige

    Why Germany should europeanize its humanitarian assistance

    If Germany would like to play a more active role in international affairs, improving the country’s international humanitarian aid efforts should be top on the list. Working toward deeper European integration in this field would boost its own profile.

Most Read

Latest blog posts

  • The Snowden Dilemma

    Merkel caught between Washington and her domestic public

    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.

  • Achieving Energy Independence from Russia

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

    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.

  • Democratic Wunderkind No More

    Hungarian authoritarian Viktor Orbán wins again

    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.