Dr Emmanuel Martin

French President Francois Hollande, the country’s most unpopular president in modern history, has introduced changes to cut red tape for business and workers. But while 100 changes have been made to the 400,000 ‘norms’ - the rules, regulations and directives – the vast majority remain, damaging entrepreneurial spirit and the opportunity for economic growth. So is Mr Hollande underestimating the chances of the French economy going bust? read


The geopolitical impact of falling oil prices

Dr Frank Umbach

The geopolitical impact of falling oil prices

Dr Frank Umbach

Innovations in technology and the shale oil and gas revolution in the United States are one major component for falling oil prices, but the inability of Middle East oil producers in OPEC to reduce their production to maintain higher prices is also critical. And lower prices and revenues will have huge economic and social impacts for oil-producing countries. read


E-commerce – China’s booming market

China is rapidly becoming more urbanised but retail presence has not kept pace with the growth of existing cities and the building of new ones. China’s retail market is highly fragmented due to large geographic distances between town centres and high regional disparities in income. This is an opportunity for e-commerce players who are able to offer a far greater diversity of products than are found on local shelves, and who reap the benefits from government drives to improve countrywide internet access, writes GIS guest expert Vaughan Winterbottom. read


Geopolitics
Jokowi brings a new look to Indonesian government

Yang Razali Kassim

Jokowi brings a new look to Indonesian government

Yang Razali Kassim

Joko Widodo has already brought a new dimension to government in Jakarta. His cabinet members were vetted by the anti-corruption and money-laundering authorities and many are technocrats rather than politicians. But despite his popularity as a ‘man of the people’, his ruling coalition has only 37 per cent of the seats in the new parliament. Much of his energy may be spent fighting his way through Indonesia’s byzantine politics rather than tackling issues including a slowing economy and endemic corruption. read


Dr Uwe Nerlich

Obama's choices after defeat in mid-term elections

Dr Uwe Nerlich

The Republicans seized control of both Houses in the US mid-term elections and have tied President Barack Obama’s hands for the next two years in terms of introducing domestic policy initiatives. The president will look to the world stage to shape policy but the challenges are very tough. Victory presents the GOP with new challenges of its own. Is there room for compromise? read


Charles Millon

‘Small is beautiful’: the key to creating a powerful Europe

Charles Millon

From Scotland and Catalonia to the Basque Country, Lombardy and Bavaria, modern Europe is teeming with regions and provinces demanding greater autonomy, or even total independence. By letting specific power return to local communities and grassroots, not only will Europe rediscover who it is, but also return to its people their means of economic self-development. A new means of decentralised organisation, and possibly more, is the key to the continent’s future, marking a return to its identity and to an economy with greater justice and respect for human rights. read


Economics
Global corruption thrives in tangle of regulations

Professor Enrico Colombatto

Global corruption thrives in tangle of regulations

Professor Enrico Colombatto

Corruption is endemic throughout business and institutions across the globe. It is a burden on growth and costs the European Union 120 billion euros a year. It thrives through over-regulation, centralisation and a lack of transparency. But Georgia almost eradicated corruption overnight by making all procedures available to the public via the Internet. read


Professor Enrico Colombatto

Freedom of contract is key to getting Europe’s jobless back to work

Professor Enrico Colombatto

Some European countries are buckling under staggeringly high unemployment rates with Greece and Spain having more than a quarter of their population out of work. Their economies are suffering, while others like Italy and France are stagnating, and there is no prospect for growth until sweeping reforms are introduced to the jobs market, including freedom of contract and lower income taxes. read


Defence & Security
Flow of foreign fighters pose threat to states on edge of instability

Dr James Jay Carafano

Flow of foreign fighters pose threat to states on edge of instability

Dr James Jay Carafano

The wars in Syria and Iraq have been a magnet to thousands of foreign fighters causing global concern over a new wave of transnational terrorism. Recruiting, training and the financial support for these pipelines of warrior extremists is big business and pose a threat not only to the countries at war. These ‘pipelines' have the potential to flow into new or existing militant groups and threaten overall political stability - particularly of those Arab states teetering on the edge of instability. read


Professor Stefan Hedlund

Russia contests Nato's Black Sea strength

Professor Stefan Hedlund

Russia’s seizure of Crimea will have a formative influence on security arrangements in the wider region, from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean. A few years ago Russia’s Black Sea Fleet was in a sorry state. All has changed with Russia’s ambitious US$600 billion programme for rearmament followed by pledges to Crimea of massive investment in upgrading port facilities and infrastructure. Nato can no longer count on ruling the waves of the Black Sea, or being uncontested in the Mediterranean. read


Professor Dr Blerim Reka

Balkan mercenaries could threaten peace in Europe

Professor Dr Blerim Reka

Young men from Balkan countries are fighting as mercenaries in the world’s trouble spots in the Middle East and Ukraine. This raises questions of what countries can do to end the threat to security when these fighters return to their own countries with battle-hardened experience and could they become a rallying point to foment further trouble. read


Dr Uwe Nerlich

Nato is in search of a mission

Dr Uwe Nerlich

Russia’s support for Ukrainian separatists fighting for independence in eastern Ukraine has raised concerns about European defence to a new level. Nato’s two-day summit saw greater unanimity and determination to place Europe’s defence back on the agenda. But the real work was achieved in a 30-minute side-meeting between key players. read


Energy
Hydrogen to play key role in Japan's energy future

Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

Hydrogen to play key role in Japan's energy future

Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

With the spectre of the Fukushima nuclear disaster of March 2011 still raw in the minds of Japan’s population, there is concern whether the country’s new Strategic Energy Plan will give the public confidence that the country is moving towards safe energy options. The plan reduces the emphasis on nuclear power and focusses on the emerging renewable and clean energies. However, government and big business also want to see Japan move towards becoming a hydrogen society. There are challenges ahead. read


Dr Carole Nakhle

Tunisia treads cautiously over energy reform in post-revolution recovery

Dr Carole Nakhle

Tunisia initiated the Arab Spring wave which toppled decades of dictatorship in several countries. Its success in charting a course for itself after President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled the country in January 2011 will allow its people to move into a new era of fairer political representation, sustainable economic development and wider social inclusion. It will also be a model to aspire to for all those who are desperate to see that their revolution was worth it. The road, however, will not be smooth. read


Nick Loris

Free market reforms present global energy opportunities

Nick Loris

Free market principles could transform global energy markets and keep a check on prices. Clearly defined and enforceable property rights will be critical to those resource-abundant countries hoping to take advantage of their assets, as has been shown in the United States and Canada. Opening markets to both domestic and international access could also fundamentally improve the global energy landscape. Countries already implementing such reforms include Mexico, India, South Africa, Mozambique, Turkey and Ghana. read


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Professor Dr Stefan Lippert

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