Sarkozy

Europe’s Elections and the Politics of Austerity

video

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.

The New Power Alliance: Russia, Germany and France

video

By Ariel Cohen

Moscow is flush with cash from energy sales and arms producers in France, Italy and Germany are happy to take large chunks of it. They are busily selling Russia advanced weapons, sensitive dual-use systems and military supplies. All this indicatesunprecedented Russian openness about (and need to) buy advanced weapons systems. Moreover, Moscow-based experts say privately that the Kremlin hopes the arms deals help revive the Russian-French-German axis that began to emerge in 2003 in opposition to the US-Iraq war.

The euro crisis shows starkly that power in the European Union has shifted from France to Germany

When the financial crisis erupted in September 2008 President Nicolas Sarkozy was quick to seize the European lead. He summoned Britain’s Gordon Brown to emergency talks in Paris. He urged Europeans to stimulate their economies. He taunted Germany’s Angela Merkel for hesitating over a stimulus plan, declaring that “France is working on it; Germany is thinking about it.” The French counted at least as much as the Germans—indeed, they were setting the pace (in part fortuitously, as France held the European Union presidency at the time).

A place for Russia in the Weimar Triangle

By Andrei Fedyashin

The Weimer Triangle is just one of the many prisms through which the EU looks at Russia. After a long break, the heads of state of Poland, Germany and France came together for a meeting of the Weimar Triangle on February 7. Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski started the summit off with a bang by inviting Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to attend the summit, and all future summits, as a guest.

NATO, Reinvented

By Sudeep Paul

Has Dmitry Medvedev successfully capitalised on his time as Russian president to pre-empt Vladimir Putin in bringing Moscow irreversibly close to the West? Not Yet. What happens within Russia is a different sport altogether. But one suspects that Putin (mark his silence), even if he’s still scripting his return to the top job in 2012, has lost some room for manoeuvre.