Again and again the same play in Eurozone?

Mr Pierre Moscovici takes office in less than 10 days, after a tumultuous hearing a couple of weeks earlier. During this month, stock markets were shockingly destabilized with distrust over Eurozone to put again into the spotlight. Recent reports unveiled the weaknesses of the German economy, while Britain is heading into the sixth day of protests due to constant income squeezing. In the meantime, the Greek government has declared its will to exit from IMF’s surveillance into its public finances and policy, with international reports focusing on the next day in Greece, after the almost-proclaimed national elections in the first months of 2015. In this respect, it Eurozone recovering?

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Closed Doors: The ECB’s New Strategy

The draft report of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs of the European Parliament over the regulations and powers of the European Central Bank to impose sanctions (EC No 2532/98), issued on September 17, includes a rather ambiguous, to be polite, provision, entitling the ECB to decide whether to publish or not decisions of its board that could jeopardize the stability of the financial markets. In other words, and with reference to bail-out member-states like Greece, the ECB can delay a publication of a certain sanction or administrative pecuniary penalty up to three (3) years after the date on which the decision was taken.

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Greece is the poorest country in the EU

Since 2008 the Greek state has experienced one of the deepest and persistent financial and economic crisis in its short history. A crisis that has dismantled its social nets, increased unemployment to unprecedented levels, broken out extreme right parties, lowered trust to the entire political and banking system. In contrary to other countries in the EU that implement programs against social inequality, Greece is way long behind reaching the minimum levels of a so-called “welfare state”. People vie for social care more than ever, but state’s reaction to increasing demands is considered inconsistent and burdened with bureaucratic dysfunctions. Meanwhile, there are no prospects for recapturing income losses in the near future.

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Turkey is EU’s stronghold against the ISIS

The Islamic Caliphate (i.e. and not “State” as many refer to it, as it is neither sovereign nor recognized) has been regarded as one of the biggest threats for the Western world and for the always-fragile stability in Middle East. With incomparable organization, power, execution pace, and strong influence, and with funding from unknown sources, the Islamic Caliphate seems drawn from history books referred to the crusades of tens of thousands of Christian knights crossing Europe to fight against and conquer Jerusalem from Saladin and his Muslim fighters.

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Hopefully the Scots said “NO”

Since the debate over Scotland stirred up and the insinuations with similar cases started to formulate (e.g. Catalunia, Corse, or even Transnistria) I could hardly see any positive relation with the Scotland being completely independent as a sovereign state – and therefore as candidate member-state for the EU, the possible turbulence of British and Scottish pound in the global market, the way these two separate states would live with each other in a number of issues that would surface. Especially in this period of time for the European Union, such a development would possibly be destructive in various ways for the EU, Britain and Scotland itself – even if the YES side had a strong saying on Scotland’s sufficiency on building its future alone.

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Interview with Mr Abdullayev, President of SOCAR

The President of the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR), Mr Rovnag Ibrahim Abdullayev, discussed with Dimitris Rapidis, Director and Project Coordinator at  Bridging Europe, on a string of issues ranging from energy supply and production, regional cooperation, ongoing and forthcoming projects and partnerships, to the risks of climate change, corporate social responsibility, and the special relationship with Greece as the linking corridor towards the expansion of the company in the Western Mediterranean Basin and the European Union.

*The interview was first published by Bridging Europe. It is republished here.

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Do we need a Commissioner for #Enlargement?

Sweden’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mr Carl Bildt, as well as other diplomats, have expressed their concern over the decision of the new President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Junker to abolish the position of EU Commissioner for Enlargement. In this respect, what are the possible motives for Junker to take such a decision and what is the message left to the candidate member-states?

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Mogherini’s First Priority

A recent report from Euractiv Greece unveiled an ambiguous position of the European Commission regarding the question of alignment of candidate member-states Serbia and Turkey with the EU against Russia with reference to bans in food imports. Similar news reports of the past couple of weeks pointed out that both countries have benefited from the current embargo on food supply from the EU, increasing their exports to Russia and gaining a comparative advantage. In this respect, the following question comes in mind: Should the EU’s stance be a denominator for candidate member-states when such crises see the light or we should expect a more lenient approach, accepting the temporary free-riding?

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A Regional Clash in Ukraine in not that far

A couple of months ago, the crisis in Ukraine could look like a common escalation between the Ukrainian and the Russian forces in a power projection game where Moscow should definitely want to win at any cost. This scenario is completely abandoned as the ongoing escalation has taken a rather structural character both in terms of army mobilization, diplomatic intervention, and timing. Timing is very important in war, as in economy, the market or in politics; in the case of Ukraine the time for a regional escalation has possibly arrived, entangling the European Union (EU) as well.

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Could İhsanoğlu challenge Erdoğan?

In August 10, Turkey holds its presidential election. This is the first time in the political history of the country that the President is going to be elected directly by the electorate, and not through the internal vote of the Parliament. Meantime, this election brings something new in the political landscape of Turkey: the candidacy of Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, endorsed by five opposition parties, to compete Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Is he going to challenge Turkey’s PM with success or is İhsanoğlu candidacy the critical element of a wider project?

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