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.

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BrianBeary.new1As a bridge between East and West and gateway to a chaotic Middle East, the strategic importance of Turkey has never been greater. While Turkey’s government faces sustained criticism over its worsening human rights record, the rebukes are being drowned out by the more pressing security challenges of the Syrian refugee crisis and Islamic State (ISIS) control of parts of Iraq and Syria. A rapprochement is taking place between Turkey and the West, one motivated more by pragmatism than principle.

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EfthymiosAravantinos2015Greece’s obligation to set up five identification and registration centers, the so-called hotspots, for migrants and refugees arriving from Turkey, is mostly fulfilled. Four out of five hotspots, more precisely the ones on the islands of Lesvos, Leros, Samos and Chios, are fully operational. The Greek defense minister Panos Kamenos made clear that the fifth hotspot on the island of Kos, still not ready today, will also be operational by the end of the month.

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The ruling government in Ukraine, hailed as the inheritors of the Maidan protests’ legacy, is now tottering in crisis mode after PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s bloc has lost the support of two parties in the ruling coalition and must seek out new partners in 30 days of face new elections. This follows President Petro Poroshenko’s earlier backing of an eventually unsuccessful effort to sack Yatsenyuk with a no-confidence vote in the Ukrainian legislature (Rada). 

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spellmanIn summoning the heads of Europe’s top telecommunications companies to a recent meeting (January 12), the European Commission has signaled that it wants Europe to lead development and implementation of the next generation of technologies that cellphones and other wireless devices will use, the so-called “5G” bundle of software and hardware expected to be widely available around 2020, if not sooner.

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