Dr Uwe Nerlich

Settlement of the Ukraine crisis will require cooperation in particular between Russia, Germany and some other key European countries. But the key to this lies with Kiev. If Sunday’s election stabilises President Petro Poroshenko's role, the prospects for a broader framework reflecting Ukraine's dependence on both Europe and Russia will improve. read


Germany - the not-so fit man of Europe

Professor Dr Michael Wohlgemuth

Germany - the not-so fit man of Europe

Professor Dr Michael Wohlgemuth

News of a slowdown in the German economy came as a surprise to many, including the German government. Is the only powerful growth engine of the eurozone suddenly running out of steam? The German economy is not as robust as one may think and its long-term prospects for growth are rather dim. read


Rafael Correa seeks constitutional change to protect his Ecuador ‘revolution’

Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa, is seeking a fourth term in office in 2017 to protect his ‘Citizens’ Revolution’, writes GIS guest author and Andes specialist, Dr Catherine Conaghan of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He has introduced controversial regulations for the media and civil organisations, and authorised major changes in the running of his country’s financial system. Conflicts with international oil and mining companies may reduce his aggressive public spending, but he has a habit of getting what he wants. read


Geopolitics
Economics
Dollar’s rise will continue as eurozone ignores structural change

Professor Enrico Colombatto

Dollar’s rise will continue as eurozone ignores structural change

Professor Enrico Colombatto

How far can the dollar appreciate in value is a conundrum tickling the minds of investors. The dollar’s rise and the euro’s fall reflect respective growth in America and Europe and the underlying problem of the eurozone’s failure to tackle irresponsible governments, reforms and taxes. read


Professor Stefan Hedlund

Sanctions - Russia fends off damage to economy with deep spending cuts

Professor Stefan Hedlund

The ongoing friction between Russia and the European Union is not good news for frontline states such as Finland which are taking a beating in the war of sanctions and counter sanctions. Finland feels vulnerable and fears it too could be a Kremlin target for military action. Meanwhile, Russia is feeling the pain of sanctions which is demonstrated by the deep cuts in its newly announced budget. read


Teresa Nogueira Pinto

The menace of Boko Haram and its effect on Nigeria’s economy

Teresa Nogueira Pinto

Islamist extremists Boko Haram have brought the northeast of Nigeria to a near standstill with its five-year campaign of terror which has seen the abduction of young girls from their schools, thousands driven from their homes and the population of entire villages slaughtered. Nigeria has enjoyed massive economic growth. But there is a deepening division between the commercial south and its poverty-stricken north dominated by the fear of Boko Haram. Young men in this corner of Nigeria have no alternative but to submit to Boko Haram or flee their homes perpetuating a cycle of poverty and instability. read


China’s growth puts wide-ranging tax reform high on Beijing's agenda

Communist China had no individual income tax before 1980 because personal earnings were so small. Today, in an era of high economic growth, its tax system is comparable with those in developed economies. But reform is inevitable - individual income tax comprised only 5.8 per cent of total revenue in 2012. Beijing must decide how to apply taxes not only to individuals but to business, foreign investors and fossil fuels, writes GIS guest expert Ken Davies. read


Defence & Security
Russia contests Nato's Black Sea strength

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


Professor Dr Amatzia Baram

Hezbollah and its part in the Middle East turmoil

Professor Dr Amatzia Baram

The Syrian civil war has turned into a fully-blown regional conflagration. Shia Muslim groups are on one side, linked across Lebanon, through Syria, to Iraq and Iran. On the other side are Sunni Arabs, including Islamic State extremists, backed by the Arab Gulf states for whom the Islamic Republic of Iran is a primary foe. The deep involvement of the powerful Shia group Hezbollah, based in Lebanon and supporting Syria’s al-Assad regime, is a major factor in the ongoing conflict. Fighting has now spilled over to Hezbollah’s home territory. read


Energy
Europe’s challenge to build an energy union dealing with supplies and prices

Dr Frank Umbach

Europe’s challenge to build an energy union dealing with supplies and prices

Dr Frank Umbach

European Union countries are looking after their own individual interests when negotiating gas prices with Russian energy giant Gazprom. Russia is exploiting the situation as a political weapon to divide the EU and manipulate other countries. A proposal for an energy union by former Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk seems to be gaining ground with backing from the European Commission and the European Council. read


Dr Carole Nakhle

China energy: growing appetite for gas

Dr Carole Nakhle

Although natural gas occupies a modest share in China’s primary energy consumption, its popularity is on the rise. Over the past 10 years the country’s demand rose by 376 per cent. Such an emerging trend, if maintained, will shape the dynamics of natural gas markets and those of competing energy sources, with far reaching implications especially for the climate change agenda. read


Dr Emmanuel Martin

New ‘green’ policy could weaken influence of France’s energy market

Dr Emmanuel Martin

France has announced an energy policy aimed at halving its total consumption by 2050. It includes creating more renewable energy, insulating homes and increasing the use of electric cars. But critics say the bill, due for discussion by Parliament, has many hidden costs. They claim that relying so much on renewables is probably risky and could weaken France as an important energy player in Europe. read


Dr Frank Umbach

The strategic implications of Russia’s record-breaking gas contract with China

Dr Frank Umbach

Russian energy giant Gazprom has landed one of the biggest gas deals in history with China. But the 30-year contract, worth US$400 billion depends on laying thousands of miles of pipelines from new remote gas fields. It raises doubts about the profitability of the bilateral deal and which power emerges as the likely winner. read


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