EA March 2016

Letter from Berlin: The Challenges of Successful Refugee Integration

markusziener2015Europe is struggling with a refugee crisis of epic proportions. Whether the various efforts to stem the tide will bring about a significant drop in the number of immigrants is yet unknown. But what already is clear: Germany, which has taken the brunt of the immigrants in Europe, has a Herculean task. A successful integration of the refugees may even decide over the political stablity of the largest country in Europe's center.


Perspectives: Turkey 404 Error: Europe not Found!

aliaslanWhen you go to the web address of Turkey's -once- largest newspaper Zaman, an error message pops up frequently: "404. Page not Found! We're sorry, but we can't find the page you were looking for." The automated message is more about a serious failure in Turkish democracy than merely a technical glitch: Turkey's largest independent newspaper was brutally taken over by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 4th and turned into a mouthpiece for him. Zaman's government-regulated new webpage gives errors, because many links from the original version are missing, and it is a work in progress. The progress in Turkey, however, does not seem to be towards a viable member of the European Union. Given the lack of meaningful pressure in response to this authoritarian turn, 404 Error can also apply to EU: Europe not Found!


As European Central Bank Convenes, How Well Has Maestro Mario Performed?

spellmanEuphoria in financial markets can burn off as fast as fireworks, an explosive flare-up and then, poof, gone. Many investors are wondering if the unprecedented initiatives by the European Central Bank, including negative interest rates, may be just like that, a cascade of fleeting embers. Others, though, think the restructuring underway as a consequence of “quantitative easing” has established the groundwork for sustainable recovery and growth within the European Union, albeit a trajectory of fits and starts buffeted by the global economy’s “gathering storm.” 


Perspectives: Letter from Brussels-- Europe’s Controversial Plan to Deal with the Refugee Crisis.

ThomasKlauIn a new twist to Europe’s and Western Asia’s refugee drama, European leaders have agreed the outline of an unprecedented deal to expel asylum seekers and war refugees from the EU territory of Greece and deport them back to neighboring Turkey.

Under the still blurry plan, so called ‘irregular migrants’ — currently mostly Syrian war refugees — who have made the dangerous voyage from Turkey to the Greek islands are to be forcibly shipped back to the Turkish mainland. Turkey is a country that has taken in over 2.5 million refugees from Syria and Iraq. It is also a state where democratically elected authorities exercise power in an increasingly repressive and undemocratic fashion.


Letter from London—the UK Referendum on EU in Perspective

MichaelWhite2016In an Athens bar the other evening, a middle aged Greek of progressive outlook bemoaned to a London visitor the grim prospects facing his country, with a mixture of fear and anger. Greece had tried all permutations, governments of left, right and coalition, he protested. But it is still mired in debt levels which are unbearable for an economy that has lost 25% - yes, 25% - of its GDP since the financial crisis began.