Slovakia

Will Slovakia’s Robert Fico Be Another Viktor Orban?

By Pavol Demes

What is going on in Central Europe? After Viktor Orban’s consolidation of power in Hungary, another political strongman has returned to the helm, this time in Slovakia. Former Prime Minister Robert Fico has once again assumed the leadership of Slovakia following his Smer-Social Democracy (SMER-SD) party’s landslide victory in last month’s elections. Like Orban in Hungary, Fico will preside over the first single-party cabinet in Slovakia since the collapse of communism in 1989. His coalition government between 2006 and 2010 had been accused of abuses of power and a lack of respect toward the opposition, media, and NGOs. And, much like his Hungarian counterpart, Fico could yet use his political mandate to attempt to reinterpret Slovakia’s history, change key laws, or battle with the European Union on nationalistic grounds.

Visegrad: A New European Military Force

By George Friedman

With the Palestinians demonstrating and the International Monetary Fund in turmoil, it would seem odd to focus this week on something called the Visegrad Group. But this is not a frivolous choice. What the Visegrad Group decided to do last week will, I think, resonate for years, long after the alleged attempted rape by Dominique Strauss-Kahn is forgotten and long before the Israeli-Palestinian issue is resolved. The obscurity of the decision to most people outside the region should not be allowed to obscure its importance.

The New World Order

For centuries we have used maps to delineate borders that have been defined by politics. But it may be time to chuck many of our notions about how humanity organizes itself. Across the world a resurgence of tribal ties is creating more complex global alliances. Where once diplomacy defined borders, now history, race, ethnicity, religion, and culture are dividing humanity into dynamic new groupings.

Lessons from Prague: How the Czech Republic Has Enhanced Its Energy Security

By Andrej Nosko and Petr Lang

With regard to energy security in the European Union, it has become common knowledge that there are still two Europes.  The security of energy is dividing the continent broadly along what used to be the Iron Curtain. The Western part has both effective and poorly functioning energy markets, but generally a fairly well balanced energy mix.  In contrast, the Eastern part is almost the opposite; the region has accumulated and continues to confront many challenges.