Spotlight on Geopolitics

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The ASEAN countries’ annual summit meeting starts today in Thailand amid calls for more economic integration between its members. Its main objective is the creation of a common market in the region by 2015. The urgency of finalising agreements leading to the creation of a common market in Southeast Asia is understandable. The economic crisis… » read more

Posted by Florian Pantazi

No later than last week, the Hungarian and Romanian prime ministers have both asked the EU officials to speed up their respective countries’ accession to the eurozone. After years of neglecting structural reforms in favour of stimulating domestic consumption, these countries, Poland and the Czech Republic are particularly hard hit in the current crisis. Their… » read more

Posted by Florian Pantazi

EU and the Soviet Syndrome

President Klaus’ recent diatribes against the Union which he is supposed to be presiding must have ruffled quite a few feathers in Brussels. The depth of his anti-EU feeling is, to be sure, worrying. To many a Western politician, this kind of counter-performance in office must look rather puzzling: was he under the influence, or… » read more

Posted by Florian Pantazi

While the financial crisis has wiped out two thirds of Russian tycoons’ equity value, plunging oil and gas prices are projected to diminish Russia’s income from energy sales by more than 20 billion euros in 2009 alone. Undaunted, the giant gas supplier Gazprom intends to push ahead with plans to build Russia’s most expensive gas… » read more

Posted by Florian Pantazi

World´s Largest Trade Bloc

While fears of protectionism are sweeping the EU and the US, China is preparing the launch, in 2010, of a regional trade bloc which will extend the benefits of free trade to the ASEAN countries (Brunei, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos). The move will create the world´s largest trade… » read more

Posted by Florian Pantazi

China´s Black Lists

Last week, a foreign correspondent from Singapore asked a Chinese researcher in psycho-sociology about the likelihood of revolution in China. His answer was: “nothing is impossible, but chances are minimal” (Courrier International). Is he to be believed ? China´s evolution for the past forty years proves that major change in this country usually comes from… » read more

Posted by Florian Pantazi

Behind Closed Doors

This week, Wang Qing of China Youth Daily has publicly asked the Chinese government to provide details regarding its economic recovery plan. The Chinese recovery plan, adopted in November last year, has a total value of 4.000 billion yuan or around 455 billion euros. According to official press releases, railways, airports and freeways would be… » read more

Posted by Florian Pantazi

If France was known, until recently, as “the country of the permanent revolution”, Turkey could very well end up as “the country of permanent coups d’état”. The Turkish Constitutional Court has recently admitted a request to verify the constitutionality of a measure aproved by the Erdogan government, concerning the freedom of female students to wear… » read more

Posted by Florian Pantazi

By the end of 2008, the Dalai Lama-related diplomatic row between China and the EU, as well as a constant stream of dire news about the economic crisis have overshadowed the launch of a very important reform initiative from China. On December 10, a group of 303 intellectuals has published the Charta 08 on the… » read more

Posted by Florian Pantazi

Towards Dictatorship ? Ever since the close of the Russian presidential elections, Western pundits have been asking themselves whether Russia is heading towards a dictatorship of sorts, or is still trying to fulfill the democratic aspirations of the Russian electorate. Admittedly, the presidential elections have looked more like a referendum on Vladimir Putin’s choice of… » read more

Posted by Florian Pantazi