We thought it would be appropriate to celebrate this festive holiday season with a review of the past 12 months of the European debt crisis. Europe has been constantly in the headlines this year, but very little of it has been good news. As the year draws to a close, we have written the following analysis in the spirit of a favorite holiday song, “The 12 Days of Christmas.”
At an EU summit meeting in Brussels, December 8 and 9, Britain’s Conservative prime minister David Cameron provoked a fury by vetoing a planned new EU treaty imposing tighter fiscal discipline on euro members to help resolve the debt crisis in the eurozone and prevent its recurrence.
For the past decade, accession to the European Union (EU) has become both the journey and the final destination for peace and democracy in the Western Balkans. EU political and economic engagement in the region has had a profound and positive influence, from encouraging the rule of law, human rights, and economic reform, to establishing a regional dialogue.
Fourteen summits in 21 months; the collapse of six eurozone governments; four bailout packages; and still we have an economic crisis on the verge of engulfing the world’s largest economies—this is the picture of political failure.
Since the crisis over America’s debt rating and the formation of the super committee, there has been a surge in debate about how to reduce defense spending. Despite talk of “all options being on the table,” the lack of both breadth and depth in active proposals is remarkable. Efficiency initiatives and across-the-board cuts have been advanced as solutions.
On Sunday, EU leaders will meet in Brussels for yet another high-stakes summit on Europe’s escalating sovereign debt woes, with the future stability of the global economy in the balance.
A Warning for Bosnia
Excerpt "An insightful report just released by the U.S.-based Democratization Policy Council and the Sarajevo-based Atlantic Initiative issues a stern warning about renewed ethnic violence in Bosnia. The authors, who are seasoned Balkan analysts, are not predicting imminent violence, but their warnings need to be heeded by international actors who assume that the current status quo can last indefinitely."
This policy review, an annual publication, monitors and assesses developments in the central and eastern parts of Europe to provide recommendations for policy initiatives by Western governments and multinational institutions. The first volume in 2010 focused on the Western Balkans.
How can Europe and the United States support democratic transitions in a way that is acceptable to the Arab countries, effective in inducing genuine change, and affordable at a time when both continents are confronting fiscal crises?
US competition with Iran has become the equivalent of a game of three-dimensional chess, but a game where each side can modify at least some of the rules with each move.