French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron addresses his supporters during an election campaign rally, Arras, France, April 26, 2017 (AP photo by Thibault Camus).

On Sunday, centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron came out on top in the first round of France’s presidential election. He will face far-right firebrand Marine Le Pen in the May 7 runoff. Macron, a pro-European Union independent who now has the backing of the French political establishment, is expected to defeat Le Pen come May, securing the presidency. But on the heels of a surprise-filled campaign that exposed deep divergences in French society, and against the backdrop of the stunning outcomes in the Brexit referendum and U.S. presidential election, nothing is certain. World Politics Review has compiled 10 articles that put […]

Electoral posters of French centrist presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, Saint Jean de Luz, southwestern France, April 26, 2017 (AP photo by Bob Edme).

PARIS—The widespread narrative surrounding the first-round results of France’s presidential election, which sent centrist independent Emmanuel Macron and far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen into the second-round runoff, goes something like this: Macron was the candidate most capable of barring Le Pen’s route to the presidency; his victory Sunday—and, in all likelihood, in the May 7 runoff—saved France from self-destruction and the European Union from a death blow. The populist tide has been turned back in Europe, and disaster averted. While there is nothing actually wrong in this narrative, it obscures as much as it reveals. A closer look at the […]

A letter bomb presumably containing handmade explosives went off after being opened at the offices of the International Monetary Fund in Paris, March 16, 2017 (Sipa via AP Images).

On March 16, a letter bomb addressed to Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schauble, was intercepted in the ministry’s building before it could go off. Its sender, according to the return address, was Adonis Georgiadis, the deputy leader of New Democracy, Greece’s right-wing opposition party. At the same time, a similar letter-bomb actually exploded at the offices of the International Monetary Fund in Paris, slightly injuring a staff member. This one, too, had been posted under the name of a New Democracy politician. The attacks were covered in the international press, but their significance and meaning has perhaps been obscured by […]

Supporters of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen during a campaign meeting, Paris, France, April 17, 2017 (AP photo by Kamil Zihnioglu).

On Sunday, France will vote in the first round of a heated presidential election that has domestic and international observers biting their nails. More than ever, the outcome of the French vote will resonate beyond its borders, with implications for the fate of the European Union, the plight of migrants and refugees, and security in the Middle East and Africa. Terrorism, immigration and the economy have dominated the contentious campaign period. That’s not surprising: Just yesterday, a gunman killed a police officer in Paris; migrant camps have popped up across the country; and unemployment, especially among youth, is soaring. But […]

An AfD election poster, Halberstadt, Germany, March 7, 2016 (AP photo by Jens Meyer).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and associate editor Karina Piser discuss the issues shaping Sunday’s presidential election in France. For the Report, Eleonora Vio talks with Peter Dörrie about the evolution of right-wing extremism in Germany and the factors making the country’s eastern region particularly welcoming to these movements. If you’d like to support our free podcast through patron pledges, Patreon is an online service that will allow you to do so. To find out about the benefits you can get through pledging as little as $1 per month, click through to WPR’s Trend Lines […]

Protesters march holding a banner that reads "The worker is not a slave!" during demonstrations against the presidential election victory of Aleksandar Vucic, Belgrade, Serbia, April 11, 2017 (AP photo by Darko Vojinovic).

BELGRADE, Serbia—Tens of thousands of Serbians have taken to the streets in recent days to protest the victory of current Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in the country’s presidential election on April 2. The demonstrations also reflect widespread economic and political dissatisfaction as well as divisions in the country, and present a challenge to the European Union’s approach to the Western Balkans. Brussels is increasingly seen in some quarters as promoting stability over deep reform in the combustible region, allowing strongmen to erode democracy and independent institutions. Protesters returned to central Belgrade on April 18 following a brief lull over Easter, […]

French presidential candidates at a debate, Paris, April 4, 2017 (Sipa via AP).

In picking a topic for this week’s column, I decided to write about an institution that is deeply embedded in the structure of daily life as we know it. Yet it is deeply flawed, in ways that many observers from across the political spectrum have acknowledged for quite some time: It is bloated, sclerotic, overly bureaucratic and inadequately representative of society’s less privileged. Worse still, it is detached from the everyday life of those under its watch and paralyzed by seemingly insurmountable political divisions. Similarly, there is a general consensus on the necessary reforms that would make this institution more […]

Activists outside the Russian Embassy protest against the treatment of suspected gay and bisexual men in Chechnya, London, April 12, 2017 (Rex Features photo via AP Images).

On April 1, the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta broke the news that security officials in Chechnya had rounded up at least 100 men suspected of being gay or bisexual, and that several had been killed either in custody or in so-called “honor killings” carried out by their families. Last week, United Nations experts reported that men were being subjected to verbal abuse, beatings and electric shocks. In an email interview, Kyle Knight, a researcher with the LGBT Rights Program at Human Rights Watch, discusses possible reasons for the crackdown and options for an effective international response. WPR: What do […]

A rally held by the Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West (PEGIDA) political movement, Dresden, Germany, Dec. 22, 2014 (AP photo by Jens Meyer).

Since the reunification of Germany in 1990, the government has kept yearly records of the state of national unity, issuing a report every September that takes stock of economic, social and institutional progress east of the Elbe River. In its 2016 report, the focus was more on socio-political, rather than economic, developments in the region. “We have achieved a lot in eastern Germany in the last 26 years,” said government spokesperson Iris Gleicke in Berlin last September as she presented the findings of the annual report. But, she added, “we are very concerned about the right-wing extremism, xenophobia and intolerance […]

French President Francois Hollande walks in the Cerny cemetery during a ceremony marking the 100th anniversary of the Chemin des Dames battle, Cerny-en-Laonnois, France, April 16, 2017 (Sipa via AP Images).

Is Francois Hollande the most underrated statesman of his generation? The question might at first glance seem like a mean jibe. The French president is almost a forgotten man these days. His domestic approval ratings were so dire that he chose not to run for a second term. French voters will start the two-round process of selecting his successor next weekend. The outcome is disturbingly unclear, and the nationalist Marine Le Pen could be the ultimate victor. Even if France picks a more palatable president, Hollande’s exit marks a greater loss for global diplomacy than most analysts recognize. France has […]

A demonstration calling for Germany to leave NATO, Berlin, Oct. 8, 2016 (Sputnik photo by Nikolay Filyakov).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance. In the debate over defense spending by NATO members, Germany has been singled out by U.S. President Donald Trump for alleged freeriding. Just days after Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the White House last month, Trump took to Twitter to accuse Germany of owing “vast sums of money to NATO & the United States.” In an email interview, Tobias Bunde, head of policy and analysis at the Munich Security Conference and a researcher at the Hertie School of Governance, describes […]

Turkish flags and posters of Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, at a rally in support of a referendum on constitutional reforms, Istanbul, April 8, 2017 (AP photo by Emrah Gurel).

It is not very often that a candidate country admonishes the organization it wants to join. Yet that is the story in Turkey, where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has gone on a series of tirades against the Netherlands, Germany and the European Union at large ahead of a referendum this weekend on constitutional changes that would grant Erdogan more powers and transform Turkey’s government from a parliamentary to a presidential system. Turkey has been stuck in accession talks with the EU for over a decade. Erdogan’s anti-EU streak began with attacks early last month against the Netherlands, which he called […]

German soldiers at the Sestokai railway station, west of Vilnius, Lithuania, Feb. 24, 2017 (AP photo by Mindaugas Kulbis).

Editor’s Note: This is the first in an ongoing WPR series about NATO members’ contributions to and relationships with the alliance. In February, a battalion of 1,000 NATO soldiers arrived in Lithuania, the first of a series of deployments in Eastern Europe that come as a response to the threat posed by Russia. According to Reuters, the battalion is led by Germany and also includes soldiers from Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and Luxembourg. In an email interview, Agnia Grigas, nonresident senior fellow with the Atlantic Council and the author of books including “Beyond Crimea: The New Russian Empire,” discusses Lithuania’s […]

Republican posters opposing Brexit, West Belfast, Northern Ireland, Feb. 28, 2017 (AP photo by Peter Morrison).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s senior editor, Frederick Deknatel, and associate editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, discuss Donald Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes in Syria in response to this week’s chemical weapons attack. For the Report, Andrew Whitworth and Matthias Matthijs talk with Peter Dörrie about whether, with the Brexit process formally underway, England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can stay united. You can support our free podcast through patron pledges at Patreon. To find out about the benefits you can get by pledging as little as $1 per month, click through to WPR’s Trend Lines Patreon page. Listen: Download: […]

Workers from state hospitals scuffle with the police as they try to break a blockade outside Greece's Finance Ministry, Athens, March 15, 2017 (AP photo by Yorgos Karahalis).

Editor’s note: This article is part of an ongoing WPR series about workers’ rights in various countries around the world. Throughout Greece’s economic crisis, workers’ rights have been a sticking point in bailout negotiations, with creditors pushing for reforms that increase flexibility in the labor market. In an email interview, Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos, an associate professor of political science at the University of Athens, discusses how the crisis has affected workers’ rights, what further reforms might be on the way and the extent to which the actions of organized labor have been helpful or harmful. WPR: What has been the […]

Anti-Brexit campaigners carry flags as they march past Big Ben at Britain's parliament, London, March 25, 2017 (AP photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth).

After clearing all the legal and political obstacles with surprising ease, British Prime Minister Theresa May filed the papers for the United Kingdom’s divorce from the European Union in Brussels on March 29. In political terms, there is no way back for the U.K., now that it has pulled the trigger on Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, formalizing its departure from the bloc. But the U.K. finds itself only at the end of the beginning of the long and arduous road toward Brexit. And while the focus for the next two years will be on the British-European relationship […]

Former Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, the leader of the center-right GERB party, during a press conference at the party's headquarters, Sofia, Bulgaria, March 26, 2017 (AP photo by Vadim Ghirda).

Bulgaria may have had three parliamentary elections in four years, but there is little sense of change in the air. After the latest vote on March 26, the next government seems set to be another unstable coalition patching together various egos, business interests and veneers of political philosophies. While EU wannabes Serbia and Macedonia continue to attract criticism and scrutiny for weighing Western and Russian interests against each other, member state Bulgaria will continue its own balancing act. Perhaps the biggest change after last month’s election is that tentatively reformist parties are now shut out of parliament, while the mainstream […]