2019-12-05 - Bulletin
Hungary's Policy toward Turkey
Strengthening relations with Turkey has for several years been one of the pillars of Hungary’s “Eastern Opening” policy. It has two goals: increasing the economic benefits of relations with non-EU countries and making Hungary distinct in EU politics. Hungary did not want to condemn Turkey’s military operation in Syria and blocked the adoption of a critical joint EU statement this October. It finds the Turkish intervention beneficial if it stops another wave of refugees arriving in the EU.
2019-12-04 - Bulletin
Trilateral Gas Talks on Future Russian Gas Transit via Ukraine
In September, after an eight-month beak, the trilateral gas talks between the European Commission (EC), Ukraine, and Russia resumed. The aim is to reach agreement on Russian gas transit via Ukraine to the EU before the current deal expires at the end of this year. The talks, however, did not reach a breakthrough. One of the challenges is that Ukraine still has not fully implemented EU energy rules, which comprise the basis for the future transit scheme. However, the main obstacle is Gazprom and the Russian authorities’ stance of using the negotiations as an opportunity to force Ukraine into concessions.
2019-12-03 - Bulletin
The Future of Brexit in the Light of the 2019 UK General Elections Campaign
The elections to the House of Commons on 12 December became necessary because of the political crisis and decision-making paralysis that has been intensifying in the UK for more than a year. Although the campaign is centred on Brexit, voters will also be influenced by how party manifestos relate to social, economic, and immigration issues. The outcome will also be affected by campaigning pacts concluded on an unprecedented scale by the parties. The stake of the election, both from the EU and the UK points of view, will determine whether the Brexit process accelerates or stalls.
2019-12-03 - Bulletin
PISM Policy Paper: The Von der Leyen Commission: Searching for Balance in Europe
In the increasingly politically fragmented Union, the new European Commission (EC) led by Ursula von der Leyen will be a more collegial institution, as the president finds herself obliged to share power with a trio of influential executive vice-presidents. Seeking to cement the initially fragile support for her, she built a team of commissioners with the aim of maintaining a balance in terms of the political influence of various actors and the approach to policies. With the call for a “geopolitical Commission”, she aimed to unite the bloc around the objective of boosting the EU’s role in the world. Von der Leyen’s success will depend on her ability to translate the general political balance into concrete proposals that will bridge the internal divides.
2019-12-03 - Comment
Left-Wing Candidates Victorious in SPD Leadership Election
Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans won the leadership election of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In the second round, the respective SPD deputy to the Bundestag and former finance minister of North Rhine-Westphalia won the support of 53,06% of the group’s members, beating the favourites, Olaf Scholz, the current finance minister of Germany and deputy chancellor, and the Klara Geywitz, a former member of the Brandenburg parliament. The election result is a signal that party members want the grouping to have a more left-wing profile.