EUelections 2019: Elections in Belgium – towards another world record?

QUENTIN GENARD

Belgium is known over the world for fries, chocolate and the intricacy of its political system. It looks as if the country might be able to secure a new spot in the history books after the elections of May 2019. Belgians voted for the European, general and regional elections on the same day, and some of the electoral results were largely unexpected.

Belgium is a federal state. There is a central government by and large in charge of security and defence, international affairs and social security. There are also three communities and three regions. The three communities (French-speaking, Flanders and German-speaking) are particularly responsible for education. The three regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels) are supervising the economy, employment and energy. Czytaj więcej

 “SPANISH SUDOKU”: THE LONG AND TROUBLED ROAD TOWARDS NEW ELECTIONS

NICCOLÒ QUERCI

The last Spanish general election was held on Sunday 20 December 2015. More than 120 days have passed and yet, Spain still doesn’t have a government. Since 1977, two big parties have dominated the Spanish political life: the People’s Party (PP) and the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party (PSOE). These two parties accounted for more than two thirds of the votes at every general election, and more than eighty percent of the seats in the Spanish Congress. The only exception was in 1977. Over the past ten years, the born and rise of two new political movements, the populist anti-austerity leftwing Podemos (“We Can”) and the liberal Ciudadanos (“Citizens”), has completely changed the Spanish political scene. Czytaj więcej

175 PARTIES SIGNED THE PARIS AGREEMENT. WHAT’S NEXT?

QUENTIN GENARD

On Friday April 22nd, 2016, representatives from 175 parties (the European Commission signed on behalf of the EU) gathered in New-York to sign the Paris Agreement at UN headquarters – making this a very symbolic ‘Earth day’. The Treaty is one of the outcomes of the COP21 meeting held in Paris in December 2015 – probably the most visible one. Parties agreed on the text of a new and legally-binding Treaty regulating the fight against climate change with the objective to keep the increase of the world’s temperature well below 2°C. The signing ceremony was the first test of the political credibility of the deal. Good news: it passed!

Why signing Treaties?

Once a country/a regional organisation signs a Treaty, it commits not to take any action that would hinder the purpose of the agreement even though the Treaty is not yet legally binding in its internal legal framework. After the signature, parties have to submit their ‘ratification instrument’ to the depositary of the Treaty. The submission of this instruments is the act through which a country agrees to be bound by the content of the Treaty. States do not always ratify a Treaty – the procedure depends on the national constitutional order, that can be  a ratification, but  also an acceptance, an approval or an accession. Czytaj więcej

The new era of energy? Dilemmas for the future

RAFAŁ ANDRZEJ SMENTEK, Weimar Dialogue

Ligne_haute-tensionWithin the next years the topic of energy could be dominant in the international relations in Europe and surpass such problems like financial crisis, equal rights or tolerance. Probably only the subject of water scarcity will compete with energy for time on daily news. The reason for that is simple and consists of three parts. Czytaj więcej

Indian economy in the light of Millennium Development Goals

mdgCEZARY SZCZEPANIUK

Two years before the end date of the Millennium Development Goals, India seems to be far from achieving most of them. Millennium Development Goals are eight objectives set up in 2000 to be achieved by 2015 in order to improve general social and living conditions in the world. Among the MDGs, six seem to be crucial from the social point of view: to eradicate poverty, achieve universal primary education, promote gender equality, combat HIV/AIDS, reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. The key to understand conditions for India’s MDG progress (or rather their delay) is to analyze the country’s economy.  Czytaj więcej

The Ukrainian lady declined to dance with the European partner: last tango for the EU’s Eastern Partnership?

QUENTIN GENARD

800px-Flag_of_Ukraine1A few days before the long-awaited Vilnius Summit (29-30 November), Ukraine took everyone short by turning its back to the European Union and moving closer to Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, as The Times wrote. On 21 November, the Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov signed a decree suspending the negotiations with the EU to „ensure the national security of Ukraine” and to „restore lost trade volumes with the Russian Federation”. The EU was warned through its special envoy in Kiev, the former Polish president Kwaśniewski, who said earlier that day “the deal with Ukraine is over”. Some commentators have seen the Vilnius Summit as a “moment of truth” for the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP). In the context of Ukraine declining to dance with the European Union, what will be the consequences of the EU’s Eastern Partnership? The political reactions of Ukraine’s partners, the rationale of the Ukrainian decision and the probable consequences for the EU’s ENP will be also discussed. Czytaj więcej

EU Mission DRC Artemis: Greek goddess of the Hunt who brought peace in the Great Lakes Region?

BARBARA MARCINKOWSKA, CII Petersberg Series

ArtemisIn 2003 the European Union launched its first missions: one civilian (EUPM Bosnia & Herzegovina) and two military: ‘Concordia’ in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and ‘Artemis’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This article aims to analyze the latter. Operation ‘Artemis’ was the first autonomous EU military operation (independent of NATO) conducted outside Europe and therefore can be considered as an important step in development of the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP)[1]. However, has it provided peace and stability in the DRC, and more broadly – in the Great Lakes Region as it aimed to? Czytaj więcej

OSCE Election Observation Mission in Georgia – report from an International Observer

CEZARY SZCZEPANIUK*
fot. C. Szczepaniuk

fot. C. Szczepaniuk

On October 27, 2013 presidential election took place in Georgia. The country faced the challenge of electing a new president, after a year of political cohabitation. 41 candidates were listed on the Voting Lists, but just three out of them were serious competitors – Giorgi Margvelashvili, David Bakradze and Nino Burjanadze. The Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights of Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (ODIHR OSCE) organizes Election Observation Missions (EOM) to strengthen democracy, human rights and the rule of law across the world. Such Election Observation Mission was organized for the 12thtime in Georgia. Being one of OSCE member states, Georgia is obliged by the Copenhagen commitments to organize fair elections and to allow the presence of international observers. For this mission OSCE employed temporarily 16 experts, 18 Long Term Observers (LTO) and 300 Short Term Observers (STO). I had the pleasure to be among them.

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Bitter-sweet impressions from the “Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum”, 4-5 October 2013, Chisinau (Moldova)

ANITA SĘK

DSC_0381

This year’s 5th Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, an informal arm of the Eastern Partnership initiative of the European Union to strengthen the cooperation with Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, was for the first time organised in an EaP country: Moldova. The previous ones were held on an annual basis starting from 2009 in: Brussels, Berlin, Poznan and Stockholm. Around 250 associations and organisations working in or with Eastern Europe and the Caucasus were invited to the conference: 26 from each EaP state and 70 from the EU, plus international observers (e.g. from the European Commission), the latter without a right to vote. Your correspondent was also there and remains… confused. Czytaj więcej

What do we celebrate in Belgium, and why?

QUENTIN GENARD

Logo-federation-wallonie-bruxellesOn September 27th, (a part of) Belgium will celebrate! Many cultural events (theatre, sports, concerts…) will be organised throughout Brussels and Wallonia for Belgian residents who will enjoy them because of bank holiday. This time, the King will not be the centre of attention, but the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. Since 1993 indeed, Belgium is officially a federation but the so-called linguistic communities were created well before: the French Community (former name of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation) is indeed celebrated since its foundation in 1981. Celebration days, as everything else related to politics in Belgium are not neutral: they encompass a specific story that tells long about the spirit that describes Belgian politics. This short article intends to present some of today’s strong tendencies.

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