2012 has been a very busy and productive year for the European Student Think Tank. A new board has taken over duties, and the editorial office launched the Essays/Papers/Theses Publication section on the website. The amount of articles has increased, and in order to broaden its appeal and readership, EST has strung up cooperation agreements [...]
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2012 has not been a good year for Putin. Demonstrations across the country and growing support for the opposition are damaging his image as Russia’s “saviour” and “Restorer of former glories”. More importantly though, his most potent foreign policy tool, Gazprom, is facing increasingly tough times due to lower gas demands, more competition and the development of a European shale gas industry. To make matters even worse, the EU has opened an antitrust probe into Gazprom’s deals in Central Eastern Europe.
It has been a long-standing feat in the UK to hear parliamentarians talk about a Scottish independence. For decades Scotland was considered too poor to attempt to break out of the Union with England but due to resource richness and an SNP landslide win at the last elections, independence is becoming more likely. Which consequences will this have for Scotland and the EU?
The European Central Bank’s decision to launch OMT (the Outright Monetary Transactions programme) to purchase unlimited amounts of bonds, is a risky but necessary step, and has been mostly welcomed by member states. There are good reasons for praise, but the Eurozone is far from saved. What OMT does and what it doesn’t – read it here.
Germany has been the global front-runner in terms of “greening” its economy. After the nuclear-accident in Fukushima in 2011, the country decided to abandon nuclear energy completely and rely on renewable energy. What seemed like a bold and determined move might endanger the European energy supply, especially since the European sovereign-debt crisis has become the major focus of EU leaders actions. However, every crisis offers an opportunity..
Germany has played a major role in every discussion revolving around the current Greek budgetary crisis. Not only has the country been singled out as the biggest creditor, and more generally as Europe’s paymaster, but it has also come under severe criticism for enforcing an export driven economic policy that condemns its European partners to negative trade balances with Berlin. However, is that criticism fair? Probably not.
German financial austerity demands have dominated the debate on how to save the countries hit hardest by the eurozone crisis: Greece and Portugal. However, despite severe cuts in the social spendings as well as massive lay-offs, results are meagre and new bailout payments are discussed. There is no doubt that austerity is essential for a balanced budget, but starving the economies of Greece and Portugal is not going to help at all. What the EU needs to do is rebuild their economies.
It seemed that Nabucco might actually win the pipeline race in the Caspian basin, but the group of contestants has grown even bigger with the addition of BP’s South East European Pipeline. Could this mean the end of Nabucco and is it a reason for concern?
The Hungarian government of Viktor Orbán has been repeatedly criticised for taking the country down the road of authoritarianism. After its grab on the Hungarian National Bank, the EU and the IMF have finally decided to prevent a further deterioration of democratic standards. The decision comes late, but is right, because Hungary is starting to resemble Russia more than any country in the EU.
The outcome of twenty-six to one in favour of stronger integration and tighter fiscal and budgetary rules has left the UK in the corner. Seldom has such a degree of unity been found among member states. Criticism of Cameron was harsh and aggressive, but is London’s decision to remain outside really that bad? Well, yes, but not necessarily. It might actually be great news.