Improving the efficiency with which the European Union uses resources is a priority in the face of an ever increasing population and corresponding growth of consumption well above the regenerative capacity of nature. In June 2015, MEP Pietikainen said that the current way in which resources are being used is unsustainable and that we need “a true paradigm shift like with Copernicus or Galileo Galilei”. She later added that the circular economy is the paradigm shift we need, as it is a “systemic change” as well as a “huge, hidden, business opportunity”.
After several years of European attempt to locate the three South Caucasian countries, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, within a common framework, policies of these neighbouring states have become more distant to each other. Currently, the strategic region on the crossroads of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, finds itself in a situation where Official Tbilisi, after signing the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) as part of the Association Agreement (AA) with the EU, is closely aligned with Western structures and European policies; Armenia, after being pressured by Moscow to abandon plans for concluding similar agreements, has become a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). And Azerbaijan, denouncing both the EU and the EEU, remains also outside the World Trade Organization (WTO), seeking strategic partnerships on equal footage. Despite the fragmented nature of the region, all three states have been closely monitoring developments occurring 15-16 July in Turkey. The coup had failed, but the consequences of the attempt could be far reaching not only for Turkey, but also for South Caucasus.
What is next?
Post-industrial areas – particularly in Wales and Northern Ireland – benefit significantly from EU structural funds, and their governments will continue to advocate on their behalf.
But these funds aside, who will speak in the Brexit negotiations for the interests of those people who have just voted to leave? When Britain’s fiscal position deteriorates, will working class voters pay the heaviest price, as economists warned before the referendum? As we become more reliant on the “kindness of strangers” to pay our way in the world, who will argue for investment to flow to Brexit Britain’s heartlands? What does each party say about Brexit? Are they proposing EEA membership, including free movement? Or are they promoting an association agreement in which both single market access and free movement are curtailed, for British and EU citizens?
“Europe has never been so prosperous, so secure nor so free”. It was 2003 and those were the words introducing the self-congratulatory EU Security Strategy that set the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) guidelines for the next 13 years. The former High Representative (HR), Javier Solana, drafted it to tackle indirect and external threats, as almost none existed at home. Now, the current HR, Federica Mogherini, faces very different circumstances and so the strategy does too. Continue reading
Brexit has taken most of the column inches recently throughout Europe, but amongst the ever changing tectonic plates of European geopolitics, day-to-day governance on a range of issues continues at pace. None are more important and potentially critical to the European energy sector than the future of nuclear development – both new build and plant life extension – as over 45% of current nuclear plants are predicted to come offline over the course of the next decade. Last week, in the same venue where COP21 was agreed, Paris held the World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE) where leading companies such as Rosatom, Westinghouse, EDF, and CGN attended to collaborate on the future of the industry, and ensure Europe is leading, not trailing worldwide nuclear energy development.