African and European leaders gather for a group photo at an EU-Africa summit, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire, Nov. 29, 2017 (AP photo by Geert Vanden Wijngaert).

Last April, the International Organization for Migration released a report documenting “shocking events on North African migrant routes.” Interviews with West Africans trying to reach Europe revealed that migrants were being kidnapped, beaten, raped and “sold as slaves” in public squares and garages in Libya. A spokesman for the agency went so far as to describe Libya as a “torture archipelago.” The findings generated a fair amount of news coverage, but before long they were folded into the broader story about the dangers of trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea—a story that has been on the world’s radar for several […]

French President Emmanuel Macron, center right, and Burkina Faso’s president, Roch Marc Christian Kabore, center left, wave during a visit to a school in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Nov. 28 , 2017 (AP photo by Ahmed Yempabou Ouoba).

After a first six months spent focused on matters domestic and European, French President Emmanuel Macron has begun to travel farther afield. He is in West Africa this week, having arrived yesterday in Burkina Faso and continuing on to Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. Earlier this month he traveled to the Persian Gulf for a planned visit to the United Arab Emirates, making an unplanned stopover in Saudi Arabia on his way back to Paris. In West Africa, Macron will try, as all new French presidents must, to reset a relationship burdened by the historical legacy of colonial exploitation and postcolonial […]

Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, center, during the party’s annual conference, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Nov. 25, 2017 (Rex Features via AP Images).

BELFAST, Northern Ireland—The deadlocked political situation in Northern Ireland shows no sign of ending, at least this side of Christmas. The region’s two main parties—the conservative Democratic Unionist Party, or DUP, and left-wing, nationalist Sinn Fein—still cannot reach an agreement to restore a devolved power-sharing government, which was brought down by a domestic scandal in January. The crisis has been deepened considerably by the prospects of a British exit from the European Union that calls into question the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 that ended three decades of violence between nationalists and unionists. That deal, which has […]

French President Emmanuel Macron greets German Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to a joint Franco-German cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, July 12, 2017 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

Negotiations to form a coalition government in Germany broke down this week, leaving Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the country, in a state of suspended animation two months after an inconclusive general election. The possible ways forward include Merkel continuing as chancellor at the head of a minority government, or new elections. Opinion polls, however, suggest that a fresh round of voting would do nothing to significantly alter the electoral outcome or resolve the current impasse, opening what could be an extended period of political uncertainty in a country long known for its stability. Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union suffered a drop […]

Women who lost family members at Srebrenica react as they watch a TV broadcast of the sentencing of Radovan Karadzic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Tuzla, Bosnia, March 24, 2016 (AP photo by Amel Emric).

BELGRADE, Serbia—The first war crimes tribunal to be established since the military court in Nuremberg after World War II will close its doors at the end of the year, and with it, a chapter of international criminal justice will end. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was established by the United Nations in May 1993 while the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina were raging. It would adjudicate the worst crimes seen in Europe in half a century. The jurisprudence set since then has paved the way for other countries to adjudicate similar crimes, and for the […]

A supporter of PASOK attends a rally in central Athens' Syntagma Square, Greece, May 4, 2012 (AP photo by Thanassis Stavrakis).

On Nov. 19, Greek primary voters elected Fofi Gennimata to head a new alliance of the fractured center-left that was once united by the dominant PASOK party. Using an open primary system, four parties allowed all Greek citizens to choose from a slate of candidates competing for the authority to decide what the new unified party would look like. In an email interview, Dimitri A. Sotiropoulos, an associate professor of political science at the University of Athens, describes what gave rise to the alliance of center-left parties, how it will contend with the radical left Syriza party that leads the […]

Russian Deputy U.N. Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov raises his hand to vote against a resolution condemning Syria’s use of chemical weapons, U.N. headquarters, New York, April 12, 2017 (AP photo by Bebeto Matthews).

It is Cold War time at the United Nations again. Last week, Russia caused diplomatic uproar by vetoing not one, but two Security Council resolutions extending a U.N. investigation into the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Moscow is angry with the investigators for accusing the Syrian regime of using sarin gas and chlorine bombs. Russia has now used its veto 11 times to block resolutions over the Syrian war since 2011, four of them this year. Every veto sparks a ritualistic bout of outrage in the Security Council. All sides seemed especially tetchy last week. Nikki Haley, the U.S. […]

Katrin Jakobsdottir, leader of Iceland's Left-Green Movement, speaks to a member of the media after casting her ballot during the general election, Reykjavik, Oct. 28, 2017 (AP photo by Brynjar Gunnarsson).

On Nov. 2, Iceland’s president, Gudni Johannesson, asked the leader of the Left-Green Movement, Katrin Jakobsdottir, to form a government, even though the party came in second to the incumbent Independence Party in parliamentary elections late last month. After a first attempt at forming a coalition government failed, Jakobsdottir has now entered into talks with the centrist Progressive Party and the conservative Independence Party, which led the previous coalition government. In an email interview, Olafur Th. Hardarson, a professor of political science specializing in Icelandic elections at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, discusses the election results, the coalition talks […]

Nationalists burn flares during a march to mark Poland’s Independence Day, Warsaw, Nov. 11, 2017 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski). The march suggests Poland is at risk of becoming the European capital of xenophobia.

An annual march on Poland’s Independence Day has become a magnet for ultranationalists from across Europe. In 2017, the march drew 60,000 neo-fascists into the streets. If a major European country becomes a hub of far-right radicalism and xenophobia, the ramifications for Europe and the West would be damaging. On Nov. 11, the anniversary of the end of World War I, Poland celebrates its national Independence Day. This year, the most popular of the many events held that day took on a shocking tone, capturing the world’s attention and raising a sense of alarm. While most of the observances unfolded […]

EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier, left, and Irish minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charles Flanagan point to the Irish border crossing near Castleblayney, Ireland, May 12, 2017 (AP photoby Peter Morrison).

While talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union over the terms of Brexit are ongoing, the question of how to sever Northern Ireland from the EU has emerged as a major point of contention. If talks fail, the U.K. will likely exit the EU without a smooth transitional framework in place. That would raise several border issues in Ireland and Northern Ireland and could even threaten the Good Friday peace agreement that ended 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland in the late 1990s. In an email interview, Frank Barry, a professor of international business and economic development […]

Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while speaking at the plenary session of the annual meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club, Sochi, Russia, Oct. 19, 2017 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

When World War II ended in 1945, the United States hoped that wartime cooperation with the Soviet Union would continue. The dream of then-President Franklin Roosevelt was for an enduring partnership of the victorious great powers acting together to prevent future world wars. But this was not to be. Whether ideological differences between the Soviet Union and the United States doomed postwar cooperation from the start, or the idea was deliberately sabotaged by Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin, Washington and Moscow were soon locked in the Cold War. The United States—new to great power statecraft and global leadership—did not know initially […]

A Polish farm worker harvests white cabbage at a field in Meerbusch, Germany, Sept. 17, 2008 (AP photo by Frank Augstein).

Editor’s note: This article is the first in an ongoing WPR series about workers’ rights in various countries around the world. On Oct. 23, leaders of European Union member states agreed to revise the legal statute regulating the bloc’s system of “posted workers,” which are employees sent by their companies on temporary assignment from one member state to another. As populist sentiment within the EU has risen, reforming the posted workers system has increasingly become a hot-button issue, as countries seek to protect their workers from what many consider to be unfair competition. In an email interview, Matthias Busse, an […]

Prime Minister Robert Fico, chairman of the Smer-Social Democracy party, addresses the media after Slovakia's general elections, Bratislava, March 6, 2016 (AP photo by Petr David Josek).

BRATISLAVA—The landslide electoral victory of a party founded by a brash billionaire in the Czech Republic last month seemed like just the latest sign of Central European politics becoming the domain of oligarchs. In nearby Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose illiberalism has rattled Europe for several years, has surrounded himself with friendly tycoons, doling out contracts to coddle government-friendly big business and consolidate his own political power. But for all the attention on Hungary and now the Czech Republic, where many fear what Andrej Babis will do if he is able to form a government and take power, the […]

Andrej Babis, the Czech billionaire and leader of the ANO, adjusts his tie after meeting with Czech President Milos Zeman, Lany, Czech Republic, Oct. 23, 2017 (AP photo by Petr David Josek).

PRAGUE—Mainstream political parties in Central Europe have struggled in a series of recent elections to overcome their self-described anti-establishment rivals. In the Czech Republic’s legislative election on Oct. 20 and 21, the challenge proved too much, but that doesn’t mean the country is about to ditch democracy. Taking full advantage of an electorate that has grown cynical since the fall of communism 28 years ago, billionaire Andrej Babis drove his populist ANO party to an emphatic victory. Taking 30 percent of the vote, Babis’ party scored close to three times the support of its nearest rival. It was little surprise. […]