Police and military personnel lay sandbags to strengthen a dike, Woltersum, Netherlands, Jan. 6, 2012 (AP photo).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on countries’ risk exposure, contribution and response to climate change. The Dutch parliament voted last week to cut the Netherland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 55 percent by 2030, a move that requires closing the country’s five remaining coal-fired power plants. In an email interview, Pier Vellinga, a professor at the University of Wageningen, discusses the Netherland’s climate change policy. WPR: What is the Netherlands’ risk exposure to climate change, what effects of climate change are already apparent, and what sorts of adaptation approaches will it have to adopt or […]

A protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada, Leipzig, Germany, Sept. 17, 2016 (AP photo by Jens Meyer).

When Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton took the stage on Monday night for their first presidential debate, there was one topic on which their positions were not diametrically opposed: trade. That’s not to say they agreed. But in a debate rife with sharp disagreements on just about every issue, the matter of U.S. trade agreements with other countries was one in which they both argued there is room for change. Skepticism about the benefits of free trade is not unique to the United States. Throughout the developed world, the rise of populist politicians has changed the tone of the discussion […]

Protesters march during a demonstration against international trade agreements, Brussels, Sept. 20, 2016 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

From protectionist rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign and the Brexit referendum to worldwide protests against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), free trade is in a political rut. Concerns about income inequality, job loss and capital flight have deepened the sentiment that globalized trade benefits elites at the expense of everyday citizens. But that’s not necessarily the case. World Politics Review’s 10-article compilation helps to contextualize the debate. The following articles are free for non-subscribers until Oct. 13. The Case For and Against Free Trade Liberalized Trade Is Under Attack. Can It Be Saved? […]

A police officer stands guard on the Bulgarian-Turkey border, near Lesovo, Bulgaria, Dec. 04, 2015 (Bulgarian Government via AP).

Earlier this month, the Council of the European Union—the body known also as the European Council where EU member states’ leaders and government ministers meet—formally approved a new border agency for the bloc, the European Border and Coast Guard, or EBCG. The new force will replace the EU’s existing border agency, Frontex, and also include national border authorities and coast guards. It will officially start its activities on Oct. 6. Originally proposed last December during the height of the migrant crisis, the new force aims to provide better management of the EU’s external borders in order to deal with migrant […]

U.S. National Guard members stand by as demonstrators protest the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, Charlotte, North Carolina, Sept. 24, 2016 (AP photo by Jeff Siner).

A routine intervention by security forces turns deadly, causing deeply rooted and widely felt grievances that have lain dormant for years and even decades to erupt into view. Spontaneous protests grow into organized demonstrations, ending in violent confrontations, and at times even riots. By now we’ve become familiar with the sequence of catalyzing events that trigger widespread political instability. It is a pattern that describes Tunisia, Egypt and Syria in 2011, and we are used to thinking of it in terms of fragile states on the periphery. But it also describes the events in Charlotte, North Carolina, last week, following […]

A gas transfer station, Volovets, western Ukraine, Oct. 7, 2015 (AP photo by Pavlo Palamarchuk).

Following meetings with Ukrainian officials in Kiev early this month, the vice president of the European Commission, Maros Sefcovic, who holds the energy portfolio for the EU as a whole, laid out his vision for how the often contentious relationship between Ukraine, Russia and the EU ought to be structured. “Russia as an exporter, Ukraine as a transit country and the EU as the main importer,” he said. This pithy formulation also sums up Europe’s geo-economic approach for managing the Ukraine conflict. Geopolitical strategies to keep the peace appear to be breaking down in Ukraine. An uptick in clashes and […]

A Libyan fighter affiliated with the internationally recognized government in Tripoli during clashes against the Islamic State, Sirte, Sept. 22, 2016 (AP photo by Manu Brabo).

In a story that reads like a crime thriller, The New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi and Lorenzo Tondo reported last week on new routes for smuggling hashish from Morocco to Europe that raise suspicions about whether the self-proclaimed Islamic State is profiting off the drug trade. The hashish routes wind their way across the eastern Mediterranean through Libya, a roundabout passage that avoids the usual short run—often on small boats and even jet skis—across the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain. There are two reasons for the new route, Callimachi and Tondo write: more police surveillance along the Spanish coast in […]

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker delivers his 2016 State of the Union Address, Strasbourg, France, Sept. 14, 2016 (EU Commission photo).

Last Wednesday, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gave his annual State of the Union address after one of the most difficult years in the EU’s history. Between the ongoing migrant crisis, the continued rise of populism, a series of terrorist attacks and Brexit, there are many reasons to conclude that the EU is in dire straits. “Let us all be very honest in our diagnosis. Our European Union is, at least in part, in an existential crisis,” Juncker stated in opening his speech. “Never before have I seen so much fragmentation, and so little […]

Former EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, left, stands with current President Jean-Claude Juncker, May 26, 2015, Brussels (European Commission photo by Georges Boulougouris).

Pressure has been mounting on the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, and its former president, Jose-Manuel Barroso, since he recently took a job with U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs. Many are calling for Barroso’s commission pension to be revoked and for EU ethics rules to be made stronger. In an email interview, Daniel Freund, the head of advocacy for EU integrity at Transparency International, discusses the EU’s ethics rules. WPR: What is the role of the European ombudsman, and what recourse does the ombudsman’s office have when faced with issues of ethics, corruption and abuses of […]

An Iranian oil worker at a refinery south of Tehran, Dec. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Vahid Salemi).

Since August, there have been growing rumors about an oil production freeze by major oil producers. The deal might be concluded on the sidelines of the International Energy Forum in Algeria from Sept. 26 to 28, where the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will hold an informal gathering along with other producer countries, such as Russia. Seasoned oil market watchers will have a strong feeling of déjà vu. Back in April, members of OPEC and Russia failed to hammer out an agreement to limit oil production at a meeting in Doha. The talks collapsed at the 11th hour after […]

Climate activists protest on the rooftop of the Economy Ministry, Warsaw, Poland, Nov. 18, 2013 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on countries’ risk exposure, contribution and response to climate change. As the European Union faces pressure to quickly ratify the Paris Agreement, Poland has said it will only do so if it is given special concessions for its coal-based power sector, which the government plans on continuing to use for many years. In an email interview, Karolina Jankowska, an independent researcher on climate and energy policy and the author of a chapter in the forthcoming book “The European Union in International Climate Change Politics,” discusses Poland’s climate change policy. […]

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades at a summit in Athens, Dec. 9, 2015 (AP photo by Thanassis Stavrakis).

In recent years, Egypt, Israel and Cyprus have all discovered huge natural gas fields off their coasts, raising export potential and perhaps the prospects for better political ties in the region through new energy partnerships. At least this is the scenario that the United States is hoping for. Last month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s envoy on energy affairs, Amos Hochstein, told Bloomberg that “we’re just beginning to open the spigots of what is the potential for the broader region.” That is already evident in the improved ties between Israel and Turkey after their June rapprochement, motivated by gas […]

Residents of Calais gather next to the foreign affair ministry during a protest, Paris, March 7, 2016 (AP photo by Christophe Ena).

Last week, the United Kingdom announced plans to begin building a barricade at the French port of Calais, dubbed by some media the “Great Wall of Calais.” The U.K. will foot the bill, and the barrier will complement a fence that already protects the port and is guarded by heavily armed French police. The move followed massive protests held by French truck drivers and farmers, who threatened to block the port until Calais’ large migrant camp, known as the “Jungle,” is dismantled. Protesters argue that the camp, which, according to some estimates, is home to 9,000 migrants, has led to […]

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager gives a press conference on a case against Apple, Brussels, August 29, 2016 (EU Commission photo by Georges Boulougouris).

In late August, the European Union ordered Ireland to collect more than $14 billion in unpaid taxes from Apple. The move followed an investigation by the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, which found that Apple’s effective corporate tax rate on its European profits had fallen from 1 percent in 2003 to just 0.005 percent by 2014. At a press conference announcing the move, the EU commissioner responsible for competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, said that “member states cannot give tax benefits to selected companies—this is illegal under EU state aid rules.” EU member states are allowed to set […]

Russian navy ships and helicopters during military drills on the Black Sea coast, Crimea, Sept. 9, 2016 (AP photo by Pavel Golovkin).

On Aug. 24, Ukraine celebrated 25 years of independence from the Soviet Union with a military parade in the capital, Kiev. President Petro Poroshenko, elected in the wake of the 2014 Maidan uprising, proudly recounted the country’s progress to the crowd: “Independence already gave us democracy and liberty, sense of human dignity and national unity; taught us to defend ourselves and opened the European perspective. The middle class has been formed as well as the civil society. The first post-Soviet generation with a new European world outlook has grown up.” Less than two weeks later, a mob of far-right protesters […]

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström speaks to journalists, New York, June 28, 2016 (UN photo by JC McIlwaine).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series on the status of women’s rights and gender equality in various countries around the globe. Last week, Sweden’s minority center-left government announced that it plans to propose legislation that will require 40 percent of all corporate board members to be women by 2019, with fines for companies that fail to comply, despite the fact the center-right opposition has said it will vote against the measure. In an email interview, Ann Numhauser-Henning, a professor at Lund University, discusses gender equality in Sweden. WPR: To what degree is Sweden’s reputation as […]

A protest against the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trade Promotion Authority, Beverly Hills, California, May 7, 2015 (AP photo by Damian Dovarganes).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and host Peter Dörrie discuss the prospects for Uzbekistan after President Islam Karimov’s death, the challenges of implementing Colombia’s peace deal with FARC rebels, and Iran’s posture toward the West and Saudi Arabia in the year since signing its landmark nuclear deal with world powers. For the Report, Kimberly Ann Elliott joins us to talk about the global backlash against liberalized trade. Listen:Download: MP3 Subscribe: iTunes | RSS Relevant Articles on WPR: Uzbekistan Faces Continuity With Karimov’s Successor—and the Same Challenges Why Colombia’s Historic Peace Breakthrough Was the ‘Easy Part’ […]

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