May 2012

Europe’s Elections and the Politics of Austerity

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By Kristen Silverberg

Francois Hollande’s election victory Sunday over Nicolas Sarkozy and the losses by Greece’s main political parties, are only the latest examples of the growing anti-austerity backlash in Europe. The Dutch Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, resigned last month after the populist, right-wing Freedom Party withdrew its support in opposition to a proposed €14.2 billion austerity package, which included cuts to healthcare spending and increases in the retirement age.   The Dutch government has been one of the few in Europe to maintain its AAA credit rating throughout the crisis, a sign that support for fiscal tightening is endangered even in the stronger economies.

Stanislav Tarasov: NABUCCO Collapse – Thunderbird of Oncoming Geopolitical Changes in Near East

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The Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán reported that, Hungarian company MOL withdraws from the consortium on NABUCCO gas pipeline construction. According to the estimations of the experts, withdrawal from NABUSSO proves the fact that Hungary is more involved with Russian project “South Stream”. Yet in 2009 ex Prime Minister of Hungary Gyurcsány Ferenc said that Hungary should stand up for the construction of the both pipelines – NABUCCO and “South Stream” - with all its might. However as we see they didn’t manage to preserve this line: current Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán has made the priority not policy but “simple economic solutions”. “Through the territory of Hungary it is planned to pipe one of the branches of “South Stream” gas pipeline, which directly –  along the bottom of the Black Sea should connect Russia with the EU, - comments on the situation “Deutsche Welle”. – This project, which is lobbied by Gazprom, is considered to be the rival of NABUCCO. That is why in Budapest they could consider that it’s more beneficial to promote cooperation with Russia than force the construction of NABUCCO ". But earlier also the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov during the meeting with the President of the Council of Europe Herman van Rompuy declared that “Bulgaria has no possibility to accomplish NABUCCO project”, although recently Sophia have given this project the status of state priority.

Ukraine Expects Putin to Tighten the Screws

By Oleg Gorbunov

On May 7th the Prime Minister of Russia Vladimir Putin shall become the President of our country for the third time already. This fact concerns many people in Russia as well as abroad. Ukraine, with which Russia has plenty economic contacts and which shares non-understanding of political and business elites, expect nothing absolutely new from Russian leader. However they guess there whether Putin shall tighten the screws openly or choose to compromise. What is the future of Russian-Ukrainian relations after the appointment of Putin? Ukrainian experts answer this question for Politcom.ru.