Blog

Does Europe really need Fiscal and Political Union? | Project Syndicate

Greece’s combative former finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, and his nemesis, former German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, were at loggerheads on Greek debt throughout Varoufakis’s term in office. But they were in full agreement when it came to the central question of the eurozone’s future. Monetary union required political union. No middle way was possible. This is one of the interesting revelations in Varoufakis’s fascinating account of his tenure as finance minister. “You are probably the one [in the Eurogroup] who understands that the eurozone is unsustainable,” Varoufakis quotes Schäuble as telling him. “The eurozone is constructed wrongly. We should have a political union, there is no doubt about it.”Of course, Schäuble and Varoufakis had different ideas regarding the ends that political union would serve. Schäuble saw political union as a means to impose strong fiscal discipline on member states from the centre, tying their hands and preventing “irresponsible” economic policies. Varoufakis thought political union would relax creditors’ stranglehold on his economy and create room for progressive politics across Europe.

Read the full Article here

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

COP23: Introducing a new toolkit to help support the Paris Agreement | EUROPP – LSE Blog

Countries hit hard by recent climatic events, from category 5 hurricanes in the Caribbean, to severe flooding in South Asia, are demanding swift action. Not just in terms of disaster recovery, but also with regard to adaptation and mitigation policies that can reduce and address the effects of climate change. One recommendation to come out of the climate change workshop at the 63rd Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) in Dhaka this month was that ‘legal reform can make a low carbon and climate resilient development pathway possible by reinforcing policy, strengthening institutions and mobilising resources towards climate change activities’. There is high demand for a tool that can support countries in realising the nationally-driven focus of the Paris Agreement, by providing collective experience in the strengthening of national laws related to climate change.The Paris Agreement’s goal is to hold the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C, to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C, and to achieve net zero emissions in the second half of this century. Realising such a goal will require widespread socio-economic changes in diverse societies around the world. In addition to the challenges of decarbonisation, countries face climate change consequences across themes as diverse as urban planning, potable water, sanitation, agriculture, and loss of territory due to sea-level rise.

Read the full Article here

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Many EU commentators said Trump is good for Europe, will it be the same after the G20? | J.S. Nye – Project Syndicate

Trump

At a recent conference in France, a number of Europeans surprised their American guests by arguing that US President Donald Trump might be good for Europe. With Trump returning to Europe for the G20 summit in Hamburg, it’s worth asking whether they are right. By most accounts, Trump’s presidency has been terrible for Europe. He seems to disdain the European Union. His relationship with German Chancellor Angela Merkel is cool in comparison to his friendship with Turkey’s authoritarian president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, or his admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Moreover, Trump welcomes Britain’s looming exit from the EU; upon meeting Prime Minister Theresa May for the first time, he is alleged to have asked enthusiastically, “Who’s next?” Finally, Trump only belatedly reaffirmed NATO’s Article 5 (which pledges mutual defense); he withdrew the US from the Paris climate agreement, which is very popular in Europe; and he has cut US funds for the United Nations, which has strong European support. Not surprisingly, Trump is personally unpopular across Europe. In a recent Pew poll indicates that only 22% of Britons, 14% of French, and 11% of Germans have confidence in him. But this very unpopularity – more anti-Trump than anti-American – has helped to reinforce European values.

Read the full Article here

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

The Future of Trade, by R.P. Medhora | Project Syndicate

Trade

The past year’s populist resurgence has brought to the fore ongoing debates about trade and underscored public concerns about internationalism. Can the mechanisms of globalization that shaped the twentieth-century world economy be salvaged to continue delivering prosperity in the coming decades? The economist Rohinton P. Medhora considers arguments by Kaushik Basu, Jeffrey Frankel, Laura Tyson, and other Project Syndicate commentators to assess the populist threat to globalization and international trade.

Read the full Article here

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Brexit Talks have started but have the French and British elections changed the tone? by J.Hoerner | Europp – LSE Blogs

brexit-referendum-uk-

In 2017, citizens in the three largest EU member states have gone (or are due to go) to the ballot box. The general election in the UK was followed by the French legislative elections, while in September, Angela Merkel is facing German voters in her bid to become chancellor for the fourth consecutive time. One of the most pressing issues facing the EU is of course Brexit. And the outcome of this year’s elections in these three key member states will have a significant impact on the way the Brexit negotiations are conducted and the potential outcome. Contrary to most expectations, Theresa May could not increase her majority in the UK’s election and is now dependent on the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to govern. Even though in some respects to the right of the Conservative Party, the DUP has arguably a preference for a ‘softer’ Brexit given Northern Ireland’s close trade links to the Republic south of the border. Moreover, the strong performance of the Scottish branch of the Conservative Party with their socially liberal leader Ruth Davidson could potentially influence the balance of power within the party. Finally, against expectations, the Labour Party, which has a more ambivalent position on leaving the EU, increased its seat share, as did the decidedly pro-European Liberal Democrats.

Read the full Article here

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Who Will Fill America’s Shoes? by N.R. Haas | Project-Syndicate

Ku-b_0d4

It is increasingly clear that US President Donald Trump represents a departure when it comes to America’s global outlook and behavior. As a result, the United States will no longer play the leading international role that has defined its foreign policy for three quarters of a century, under Democratic and Republican presidents alike. We have already seen many examples of this change. The traditional US commitment to global organizations has been superseded by the idea of “America first.” Alliances and security guarantees once regarded as a given are increasingly conditioned on how much allies spend on defense and whether they are seen to derive unfair advantage from trade with the US.  More broadly, foreign trade is viewed with suspicion – supposedly a source of job loss rather than an engine of investment, job creation, growth, and stability. Immigration and refugee policies have become more restrictive. Less emphasis is being placed on promoting democracy and human rights. More dollars are going to defense, but fewer resources are being devoted to supporting global health or development This is not to be confused with isolationism. Even Trump’s America will continue to play a meaningful role in the world. It is using military force in the Middle East and Afghanistan, increasing diplomatic pressure on North Korea to rein in its nuclear and missile programs, and renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. And the policies of states, cities, and companies will translate into an American commitment to climate change, despite Trump’s decision to abandon the Paris agreement.

Read the full Article here

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Five challenges facing next UK premier | EURACTIV.com with AFP

Screen Shot 2017-06-09 at 17.17.55Whoever ends up becoming Britain’s new prime minister faces a daunting five years in office, with the negotiations of the country’s withdrawal from the European Union topping the list of priorities. According to the authors, the five main challenges ahead consist of Brexit, terrorism and security, the economy, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Read the full Article here

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Trump’s Climate Scapegoat, by s. Tharoor | Project Syndicate

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump holds a sign supporting coal during a rally at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on October 10, 2016. / AFP / DOMINICK REUTER (Photo credit should read DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

By accusing India of demanding “billions and billions and billions of dollars” as a condition for its participation in the Paris climate agreement, US President Donald Trump has ruffled what promised to be a close relationship between the world’s two largest democracies. After Trump singled out India in his speech renouncing the Paris accord, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj retorted that “there is absolutely no reality” in Trump’s allegation. According to Swaraj, India joined the agreement not “out of greed or fear,” but “because of our commitment to protecting the environment.” India thus has no choice but to build new coal plants in the medium term. As Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out when the Paris agreement was concluded, India still needs to “grow rapidly to meet the aspiration of 1.25 billion people, 300 million of whom are without access to energy.”

Read the full Article here

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

What Macron’s victory means for Brexit, by A.Glencross | EUROPP LSE Blog

uk-france-flags

As one of the EU’s most powerful states, France will have a large say over the final outcome of the Brexit negotiations. Andrew Glencross assesses how Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential elections will impact on the process. Macron could pursue a tougher line on Brexit than his predecessor, while the current border arrangements between the UK and France could also be up for renegotiation. Amidst the turbulent past few weeks of UK-EU Brexit wrangling, relatively little attention has been paid to the effect the election of a new French president will have on these negotiations. UK tabloids have been busy instead making hay with their preferred EU bogey-figures, namely Angela Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker, who are both portrayed as bullies embittered by the very notion that a member state wants to leave the club. The victory of Emmanuel Macron – the insider’s outsider –suddenly means there could be another leader that comes to embody EU hostility to the UK after the Brexit referendum.

Read the full Article here

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn