Russian President Vladimir Putin reviews an honor guard during an official welcome ceremony in Belgrade, Serbia, Jan. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Darko Vojinovic).

Greece’s parliament held a historic vote last Friday that not only ended a three-decade-old dispute with its neighbor, but handed Russia a bruising defeat. The decision, formally recognizing the newly renamed nation of North Macedonia, sealed a deal reached between Greek and Macedonian leaders last year and removed the main obstacle that has prevented the former Yugoslav republic from joining the European Union and NATO. The resolution of the naming quarrel is a setback to Russia, which had deployed its now-familiar geopolitical tools to try and block it. Yet the dispute is just one of many sources of tension in […]

A protester burns a flare during a taxi strike, Barcelona, Spain, June 29, 2017 (AP photo by Manu Fernandez).

BARCELONA—Four years ago, several of Spain’s biggest cities all rejected traditional political parties in their municipal elections. Instead, they elected new civic platforms made up of a mix of activists, academics and lawyers with little experience in government. This was the birth of “municipalism,” an emergent left-wing movement that operates at the level of city government, but with the ambition of driving systemic change. Municipalism has since gone global, but Spain, and specifically Barcelona, remains its heart. The next municipal elections in May will further shape its future. Even now, municipalism is difficult to define. Whether in power or not, […]

Anti-Brexit campaigners’ placards outside the Houses of Parliament, London, Jan. 28, 2019 (Photo by Kirsty O’Connor for EMPPL PA Wire via AP Images).

British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a humiliating defeat earlier this month when Parliament voted by an overwhelming margin to reject the Brexit deal she had negotiated with the European Union. Yet there doesn’t appear to be a Plan B. Many are now betting that May will request a delay for Britain to leave the EU beyond the deadline of March 29, which May triggered in March 2017 by invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and beginning the exit process. But the odds of a no-deal breakup also went up this month, despite fears that that outcome could lead […]

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini, right, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a news conference following a meeting in Milan, Italy, Aug. 28, 2018 (AP photo by Luca Bruno).

European leaders gathered twice last year to try and develop an EU-wide approach to the still-divisive issues of migration and the integration of refugees, and both times they failed to reach any consensus, yet again. Building on public anxieties around migration, far-right populist parties succeeded in sowing more discord across the continent, with many centrist and liberal politicians having difficulty formulating a response. The effectiveness of these anti-migrant and even nativist campaigns was evident with the controversy over the adoption of the United Nations’ Global Compact on Migration last month in Morocco. The compact initially enjoyed support from all U.N. […]

Iran’s vice president and head of its Atomic Energy Organization, Ali Akbar Salehi, at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Nov. 26, 2018 (AP photo by Francisco Seco).

Relations between Iran and the European Union seemed to enjoy something of a honeymoon just after President Donald Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the 2015 agreement limiting Tehran’s nuclear program. But it is becoming increasingly evident that any warm feelings engendered by a joint commitment to preserve the Iran deal and stand against Trump have cooled significantly. Europe and Iran are now growing farther apart amid accusations that the Islamic Republic is engaging in behavior that Europe cannot countenance. The nuclear deal itself could ultimately collapse in the acrimony. Last May, when Trump announced the […]

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during a visit to Hastings in East Sussex, United Kingdom, Jan. 17, 2019 (Photo by Gareth Fuller for Press Association via AP Images).

One of the more peculiar aspects of contemporary British politics is that the Labour Party, whose membership is overwhelmingly against Brexit, is led by Jeremy Corbyn, a lifelong euroskeptic who has been steadfast in his commitment to Britain leaving the European Union. Even more peculiarly, this doesn’t seem to have dented his popularity at all. Labour members still idolize him, brandishing slogans to “love Corbyn, hate Brexit,” even though he has promised that Brexit would still go ahead under a Labour government. There are those who believe that Corbyn supports Brexit out of ideological reasons—namely an opposition to EU rules […]

Yellow Vest protesters clash with French riot police near the Hotel des Invalides in Paris, Dec. 1, 2018 (Sipa photo via AP Images). Some see Michel Houellebecq as having foreseen France's Yellow Vest movement.

French author Michel Houellebecq, whose latest novel “Serotonin” was released earlier this month to widespread acclaim, has acquired the reputation of being something of a prophet. This is mainly because his previous effort, “Submission,” which envisioned an Islamicized France circa 2022, was released on the day of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015. Another of his novels, “Platform,” which culminated with an Islamist terrorist attack on a tourist resort, was published a week before Sept. 11, 2001. “Serotonin” has similarly been described by some as having foreseen France’s current Yellow Vest movement because it includes a passage describing a […]

A protester holds a sign mocking Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during an anti-government march in central Budapest, Hungary, Dec. 21, 2018 (AP photo by Marko Drobnjakovic).

Protests sparked by a new law that allows employers to demand 400 hours of overtime from workers each year, which critics have dubbed the “slave law,” have put Hungary’s disparate opposition parties side by side on the streets and in parliament. They need to expand this cooperation if they’re going to mount a serious challenge to Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s corrupt, authoritarian government. Passed in December, the “slave law” would essentially move Hungarian workers to a six-day work week, with pay postponed. The measure is Orban’s way of softening the effects of a severe labor shortage for multinational corporations, with […]

President Donald Trump delivers remarks about American missile defense doctrine at the Pentagon, Jan. 17, 2019 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

In this week’s Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s editor-in-chief, Judah Grunstein, and managing editor, Frederick Deknatel, discuss Prime Minister Theresa May’s latest Brexit defeat and the broader implications for the U.K. and European Union as the deadline for Brexit approaches. For the Report, Stewart Patrick talks with WPR’s senior editor, Robbie Corey-Boulet, about President Donald Trump’s foreign policy record after two years in office and the impact of his presidency on the liberal world order. If you like what you hear on Trend Lines and what you’ve read on WPR, you can sign up for our free newsletter to get our […]

University and school students wave Albanian flags as they protest in Tirana, Dec. 11, 2018 (AP photo by Hektor Pustina).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about education policy in various countries around the world. Beginning in early December, student demonstrators have brought Albania’s public universities to a standstill with protests against the implementation of a law on higher education reforms. Although the government quickly rescinded the extra fees that initially triggered the protests, the students refused to back down, and their demands have since broadened. In an email interview with WPR, Esmeralda Shehaj, associate professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Tirana, and Armando Memushi, lecturer in the Department of Economics at […]

British Prime Minister Theresa May listens to U.S. President Donald Trump during the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Nov. 30, 2018 (AP photo by Natacha Pisarenko).

Today would seem to offer a generous news cycle for a weekly columnist in search of a topic to write about. The New York Times and The Washington Post are back to trading bombshells about Donald Trump, with recent reports that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation against Trump in the early months of his presidency because top officials feared he might be compromised or controlled by the Kremlin, and that Trump has gone to great lengths to hide the details of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin from his own administration. Those were soon followed by revelations that […]

People gather in front of a memorial at the Ovcara farm to pay their respects to victims of a massacre that took place in 1991, Vukovar, Croatia, Nov. 8, 2014 (AP photo by Amel Emric).

Fifteen years ago this past weekend, I lost a friend and mentor in a car crash in Croatia. Steve Degeneve was one of the first people to teach me about how conflicts, and conflict management, play out in real life. He was an idealist and a passionate, sometimes almost obsessive, believer in promoting human rights and the rule of law. He died at the age of 37 on Jan. 12, 2004. I often wonder what he would say about a world in which his ideals are increasingly under threat. I met Steve roughly a year before his death in Vukovar, […]

A man reads a news report on his mobile phone, Dhaka, Bangladesh, Dec. 20, 2018 (AP photo).

The government in the Democratic Republic of Congo cut internet and text message services across the country two days in a row last week, as tensions rose ahead of the release of official results from last month’s presidential election. It was just the latest move to restrict internet access by a state with a poor democratic track record, as more countries appear to take their digital cues from the likes of China and Russia. Last year, Thailand proposed a cybersecurity law that would give the government “sweeping powers” to surveil the internet, censor content and even seize computers “without judicial […]

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a joint press conference at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, July 19, 2018 (AP photo by Debbie Hill).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised eyebrows last month when he met in Jerusalem with Matteo Salvini, Italy’s firebrand interior minister and deputy prime minister who is known for his extreme anti-immigrant views. Prominent Jews, both in Israel and in the diaspora, criticized the trip, which came on the heels of visits to Israel by other far-right populists like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. In an email interview with WPR, Shimon Stein, a former Israeli ambassador to Germany who is now a senior fellow at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies, explains why […]

A participant speaking at a conference on cybersecurity at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany, May 4, 2017 (Photo by Ralf Hirschberger for dpa via AP Images).

Criminals on the dark web are compelling law enforcement agencies in the United States and Europe to alter the way they conduct investigations on the internet, opening up new possibilities for international police collaboration against cybercrime but also, critics warn, expanding the long arm of the law without a clear understanding of the impact. Since 2013, the proliferation of decentralized cryptocurrencies and online black markets has created countless new avenues for easy criminality. From the confines of a living room in China, a drug dealer using an anonymous browser can sell opioids to a user in the United States that […]

Then-Federal President of Switzerland Doris Leuthard, right, talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Bern, Switzerland, Nov. 23, 2017 (AP photo by Peter Klaunzer).

The Swiss government last month balked at approving a new draft treaty it had negotiated with the European Union over the past four years, arguing that the deal required public consultation. The decision casts uncertainty on Switzerland’s relationship with the 28-member bloc, which is currently governed by a hodgepodge of over 100 separate agreements. The Swiss government now has until June to endorse the new treaty, but steep domestic opposition makes that difficult, if not impossible, says Clive Church, emeritus professor of European studies at the University of Kent in England. In an email interview with WPR, he discusses the […]

Cranes at the Port of Gulfport are silhouetted by the setting sun in Gulfport, Mississippi, Dec. 2, 2018 (AP photo by Charlie Riedel).

After a more-bark-than-bite approach to trade during his first year in office, President Donald Trump took on the world in 2018 and shows no sign of letting up. In Europe, British Prime Minister Theresa May has so far failed to convince Parliament to accept the Brexit deal she negotiated with Brussels. And under the radar, the World Trade Organization is facing paralysis if there is no compromise on how to reform its system of settling disputes. These are among the ongoing challenges that are likely to make 2019 another unsettling year for global trade. Even before the calendar turned to […]

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