December 2014

Western Europe: The Autumn of Separatism


By Vladimir Schweitzer

In terms of the quest for independence, 2014 has been a bad year for separatist movements in a number of regions in Western European countries (Scotland, Catalonia, Northern Italy, Flanders, Greenland, Corsica, Northern Ireland and the Basque Country). In some countries, the separatists lost referendums and polls, while in others the mass actions of their supporters were unsuccessful. There were signs of differences among the European Union’s regional elites. This was due to a combination of economic, social, internal and external factors, considering the tense situation in the regions adjacent to Western Europe.

The next NATO Summit 2016 offers Poland opportunities worth seizing

By Bruno Lété

Twenty-five years after the fall of the Iron Curtain in Europe, modern-day Poland is by many measures the most successful case of post-communist political and economic transition to market-democracy in Europe. Hence, U.S. President Barack Obama in his speech at Warsaw’s Castle Square in June 2014, rightfully coined the country’s progress as an economic “Miracle on the Vistula”.

How East-West Competition Turned Balkan Energy into a Geopolitical Football


Europe’s dependency on Russian gas, especially in Central and Eastern Europe, has become a major strategic liability for the West. This is especially true as the war in Eastern Ukraine has brought relations between Moscow and Brussels as well as many of the European capitals to new lows.  Russia enjoys a de facto monopoly on gas supplies to the Baltic States, Bulgaria, Moldova, Serbia, and Slovakia, as well as dominating the energy scene in Hungary and other European countries. This raises serious questions with regards to the Kremlin’s political influence in capitals from the heart of Europe to the Mediterranean. Allegations of corruption permeate political debates about the Russian gas supply and are putting increasing pressure on the EU and the nation-states to find economic alternatives.

Future of Energy Market, Kazakhstan’s Energy Policy Discussed at 25th Energy Charter Conference in Astana

The future of the international energy market and global energy management systems, as well as a review of Kazakhstan’s energy saving and energy efficiency policies, were on the agenda at the 25th Energy Charter Conference, held in Astana’s Rixos hotel on Nov. 26 and 27. Kazakhstan is chairing the conference now.