CEPS Commentaries

31 - 60 of 398
12 March 2014

The EU relies heavily on imports to meet its demand for natural gas. Nearly 23% of the gas burned by the EU member states is produced in Russian gas fields. Ukraine remains one of the main supply routes for Russian gas flowing into Europe. Consequently, mounting tensions between Russia and Ukraine concerning the Crimean Peninsula brought back memories of past gas supply disruptions, most notably of 2009. The question today is whether the EU in 2014 is equally vulnerable to potential (forced or voluntary) cuts in Russian gas supplies as it was five years ago.

05 March 2014

By militarily invading and annexing Crimea, Russia has acted in breach of its obligations under the 1994 Budapest Memorandum. Yet the Kremlin seems unfazed that it is violating general principles of international law. This seems emblematic for the ‘can’t care less’ attitude of Putin’s Russia. Moscow allows itself to be inconsistent with its own commitments and is reneging on its own words. This has all the trappings of a panicking dictatorship, which crushes dissent at home and portrays confidence in winning a great battle with enemies abroad.

03 March 2014

Despite the rapidly escalating situation in Ukraine, Michael Emerson discerns in this CEPS Commentary a very slim margin of possibility that cooler heads may still prevail in the Crimean peninsula and allow a return to a mundane and peaceful normality.

Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.

03 March 2014

Recently, the EU energy debate has been dominated by the discussion on energy prices and the competitiveness of the European industry. According to the latest estimates of the International Energy Agency, gas prices in the US are one-quarter of those in Europe. Moreover, prices of imported gas vary across the EU member states.

28 February 2014

Surveying the landscape following the Swiss referendum on February 9th, Adam Łazowski observes that once Swiss voters are deprived of the benefits of the EU internal market, they may come to appreciate that their days of cherry-picking from among EU policies are over. This might present the EU with a golden opportunity to press for a comprehensive framework agreement with Switzerland that would simplify the existing regime and provide for a uniform institutional set-up.

26 February 2014

Notwithstanding the failure on February 15th of the second round of the Geneva II talks on Syria, Luigi Scazzieri and Steven Blockmans take note in this CEPS commentary of several welcome signs that the international community as a whole is starting to move in a more coordinated manner on the Syrian peace process.

Luigi Scazzieri is an intern at CEPS. Steven Blockmans is CEPS Senior Research Fellow and Head of the EU Foreign Policy unit. This commentary will also be published as an editorial in the March 2014 issue of European Neighbourhood Watch.

24 February 2014

In surveying the traumatic events of the last week in Kyiv, Michael Emerson reports on the profoundly moving scenes at the Maidan this last weekend, but goes on to offer constructive advice to the EU on its next move there; and the clear message to Russia that its coercive policies towards its most important neighbour do not work and need a big rethink.

Michael Emerson is Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.

18 February 2014

In examining the long-awaited opinion given January 22nd by the CJEU in the case concerning the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), this Commentary argues that the ruling is important for the insights it yields into the modern understanding of the Meroni non-delegation doctrine. The authors, Jacques Pelkmans and Marta Simoncini, aim to extract the potential implications of the ESMA case for the place and significance of the Meroni doctrine in building up the single market.

07 February 2014

In his assessment of the EU proposal on banking structural reform, unveiled on January 29th, Karel Lannoo observes that the Commission must perform a delicate balancing act between preserving the single market and at the same time accommodating existing EU measures covering resolution and trading activities.

Karel Lannoo is Chief Executive Officer and Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.

04 February 2014

Following a period when EU-Turkish relations have not been particularly close, the readmission agreement signed in December 2013 by the Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and the Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmet Davutoglu could help inject some sorely needed goodwill and trust into the relationship. Yet, as pointed out in this commentary, there is always the risk that the challenges faced in the actual implementation of the agreement will aggravate the relationship.

03 February 2014

Surveying the political and economic problems that plague Ukraine today, Michael Emerson warns in this commentary that unless strong and sound fresh governance structures are immediately put into place, the political dynamics will lead to catastrophic radicalisation, chaos and conflict. He calls upon the EU, elected by the Ukrainian street as honorary sponsor of the EuroMaidan, to prepare for this contingency now, observing that emergency situations require emergency measures.

The author is Senior Associate Research Fellow at CEPS.

24 January 2014

To counteract the powerful anti-Europe sentiments swirling throughout the EU today and to motivate EU citizens to vote in a constructive spirit in the upcoming European elections, Karel Lannoo argues in this commentary that the functioning of the EU institutions needs to be openly discussed and proposals need to be aired for improving the decision-making process to render it more transparent and democratic.

24 January 2014

Paul De Grauwe writes in this new CEPS Commentary that the recent and surprising conversion of François Hollande to supply-side economics completes the victory of the northern European policy-makers who believe that insufficient aggregate demand should be fought exclusively by supply-side measures. In his view, however, it is not the first time in post-war history that economists and policy-makers apply the wrong medicine; or to put it differently, it's akin to some generals who fight a new war by applying the strategies developed for the previous war.

24 January 2014

Countless bilateral disputes continue to plague the Balkan region; daily reminders of the region's troubled history. Not only are they the cause of tension between the countries of the region both inside and outside the EU, they also undermine efforts to integrate the region into the EU. To avoid the risk of instability and further erosion of the credibility of the EU's enlargement strategy, urgent action is required. The author sets out four recommendations for the EU to pursue without delay.

22 January 2014

Lithuania assumed its maiden term running the rotating Presidency of the Council in the 2nd half of 2013 under difficult constraints: the country’s modest administrative capacities and the enormous time pressures brought on by the urgency of certain dossiers and the abbreviated term of the current Parliament, which ends in mid-April. Nevertheless, as assessed by Sonia Piedrafita and Vilde Renman in this new CEPS Commentary, substantial progress was made thanks to the perseverance and strenuous efforts by the Lithuanians.

09 January 2014

Following the recent ‘third plenum’ in China, CEPS Director Daniel Gros finds that China has reached a difficult crossroads in terms of making the necessary reforms that will foster continued growth and productivity. Continuing in the direction that so far has been followed with astounding success, namely giving the market a greater role and opening to the rest of the world, might no longer be sufficient. He points out, for example, that combating pollution requires more state intervention, not less.

08 January 2014

A majority of national governments across the EU have long tried to cordon off their practices of mass interception of communications data and cyber-hacking of foreign companies and diplomats from supranational scrutiny by the EU institutions and courts, arguing that they remain within the remit of their ‘exclusive competence’ on grounds of national security.

06 January 2014

In this new CEPS Commentary, John Bruton considers some likely consequences of the UK’s renegotiation of its membership of the EU, in terms of the UK’s own national interest, its relations with its European neighbours and the future effectiveness of a ‘revised’ EU.

John Bruton is Former Prime Minister of Ireland and a member of CEPS Board of Directors.

06 January 2014

On 22 January 2014, the European Commission is expected to publish the proposals for the 2030 Framework for Climate and Energy Policies, which will be discussed and possibly – or maybe, partly – agreed during the 20-21 March 2014 European Council. This is the first comprehensive review of the 2007-09 Climate and Energy Package, which resulted in the so-called ‘20-20-20’ targets by 2020.

19 December 2013

Calling the Single Resolution Mechanism an “inelegant step in the right direction”, this Commentary singles out the Single Resolution Fund, with its considerable mutualisation of risk, as the key advance – but one that will require changes over time in the extremely complex decision-making mechanisms agreed.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS.

19 December 2013

In his assessment of the compromise agreement reached on the Single Resolution Mechanisn (SRM), Daniel Gros finds that the popular perception that the periphery has the most to gain from the establishment of a unified resolution regime might have gotten it backwards. In reality, he finds that Germany and other surplus countries have a bigger interest in tying the hands of their national resolution authorities, which have a tendency to be too generous.

Daniel Gros is Director of CEPS.

16 December 2013

In his penetrating look at who lost Ukraine, Ivan Krastev finds that ultimately, everybody got Ukraine wrong. In his view, outsiders need to understand how high the stakes have recently become in the post-Soviet space, where two opposing integration projects are doomed to clash. He concludes that there are only three options left for Ukraine: sign the agreement with the EU, as the majority of Ukrainians want; join Putin’s EurAsEC, as the endangered political elite prefers; or go bankrupt.

13 December 2013

The recent decision by Baroness Ashton to end the mandate of a number of European Union Special Representatives (EUSRs) and her proposal to integrate these posts within the European External Action Service have raised concerns among member states. In the view of Erwan Fouéré, these developments underline the urgency of a more comprehensive and strategic discussion between Baroness Ashton and the member states on the future role of EUSRs in the EU's expanding foreign policy tool box.

Erwan Fouéré is Associate Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.

10 December 2013

Germany has been an attractive target for external-deficit countries in Europe and beyond, but beating up on Germany alone appears to be the wrong way to get results. This CEPS Commentary by Daniel Gros argues that the discussion of Germany’s surplus confuses the issues in two ways. First, he points out that although the German economy and its surplus loom large in the context of Europe, an adjustment by Germany alone would only modestly benefit the eurozone periphery.

05 December 2013

The latest round of climate negotiations that took place in Warsaw (Conference of Parties, COP19) finally resulted in a decision to agree on a timeframe for the new agreement due in COP21 in Paris in 2015, and on ways to enhance the levels of ambition in pre-2020 mitigation pledges.

04 December 2013

Drawing on his direct participation in the latest round of climate talks in Warsaw, Andrei Marcu looks at the results of the 19th COP through the lens of three basic questions, with a view to understanding how much progress was made and where we stand two years ahead of Paris.

03 December 2013

In assessing the third Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit at Vilnius on November 28-29th, this CEPS Commentary concludes that the event fell far short of its initial ambition to define the geopolitical finalité of EU-EaP relations by projecting a path towards future accession to the EU for Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Steven Blockmans is CEPS Senior Research Fellow and Head of the EU Foreign Policy unit. Hrant Kostanyan is a Research Fellow at CEPS.

29 November 2013

This Commentary briefly examines each of Prime Minister Cameron's headline proposals to limit EU citizens’ access to social benefits. Are these proposals in breach of the UK’s obligations under EU law? The paper also makes some general comments about the end of the transitional arrangements for Bulgarian and Romanian work-seekers, and ‘benefits tourism’ in general.

28 November 2013

In surveying the strategic realignment now underway in Central Europe among the four members of the Visegrad Group, Michal Simecka observes in a new CEPS Commentary that it is hard to think of another point in modern history that permitted a scenario of Germany and its eastern neighbours working together to constructively shape Europe.

Michal Simecka is a Visiting Researcher at CEPS.

14 November 2013

In this CEPS Commentary Daniel Gros argues that the purpose of the euro was to create fully integrated financial markets; but, since the start of the financial crisis in 2008, markets have increasingly separated along national lines. So the future of the eurozone depends crucially on whether that trend continues or is reversed and Europe’s financial markets in the end become fully integrated. But either outcome would be preferable to something in between – neither fish nor fowl. Unfortunately, that is where the eurozone appears to be headed.