The “Wall of Welcome” in front of European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Sept. 14, 2015 (Photo by Wiktor Dabkowski for dpa via AP Images).

In 2015, more than 1 million people, mostly from Syria but also Eritrea, Sudan and other countries wracked by conflict and economic turmoil, found their way to Europe in search of asylum, where they struggled to rebuild their lives, often in the face of xenophobia and exclusion. Those were the lucky ones. Thousands of other refugees and migrants died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, a tragic waste of human life that was symbolized in a photograph of the lifeless body of a four-year-old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi, which washed up on the shore of a beach […]

People wear masks as they walk over Millennium Bridge near St Paul’s Cathedral, in London, March 22, 2020 (AP photo by Kirsty Wigglesworth).

Editor’s Note: WPR has made this article, as well as a selection of others from our COVID-19 coverage that we consider to be in the public interest, freely available. You can find all of our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here. If you would like to help support our work, please consider taking advantage of our subscription offer here. Bruce Mann is one of the most experienced emergency planners in the world. As the former director of the British Cabinet Office’s Civil Contingencies Secretariat, he was in charge of Britain’s planning for and response to emergencies and disasters. He coordinated […]

Streets and sidewalks are mostly empty near the New York Stock Exchange, March 16, 2020 (AP photo by Craig Ruttle).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein and Freddy Deknatel talk about the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and the responses so far by governments and central banks in the U.S. and Europe. They also discuss the difficult balance policymakers must strike between containing the spread of the pandemic and mitigating the economic impact of the public health measures needed to do so. 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 uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your […]

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, right, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Nov. 10, 2019 (AP photo by Heng Sinith).

Almost a year-and-a-half after threatening to sanction Cambodia over Prime Minister Hun Sen’s clampdown on human rights, and a year after beginning the formal process for doing so, the European Union finally made good on its word. Underwhelmed by the Cambodian government’s meager attempts to allow political dissent and media freedoms, the bloc announced in February that it would suspend tariff-free access for more than $1 billion worth of exports from the Southeast Asian nation, starting in August. While the immediate impacts of the new barriers to trade will be limited, they could eventually result in an economic contraction of […]

A pump jack operates in an oil field in the Permian Basin in Texas, June 11, 2019 (Photo by Jacob Ford for Odessa American via AP Images).

Saudi Arabia’s decision to launch a price war in oil markets earlier this month could not have been more poorly timed, coming amid plummeting global demand for oil due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Saudi announcement sunk oil prices to an 18-year low, near $20 per barrel, after five years at more than double that price, putting further downward pressure on already troubled financial markets. Saudi Arabia had gambled that by flooding the market and pushing down prices, it could punish Russia for refusing to cut its output, while recouping market share that had been ceded to U.S. shale oil […]

Traders at the New York Stock Exchange watch President Donald Trump’s televised White House news conference, March 18, 2020 (AP photo by Mark Lennihan).

Editor’s Note: You can find all of our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here. If you would like to help support our work, please consider taking advantage of our subscription offer here. In 1873, Walter Bagehot, a prominent businessman in British high society and a journalist who served for 16 years as editor-in-chief of The Economist, wrote a treatise on banking and finance in which he left his most enduring mark on the world. In “Lombard Street: A Description of the Money Market,” he laid out a playbook for policymakers facing an unfolding economic and financial crisis. When up against […]

A collection of Instagram posts, which Facebook, its owner, removed from the site in October 2019 after concluding that they originated from Russia and had links to the Internet Research Agency, (AP photo by Jon Elswick).

One of the enduring mysteries in the U.S. federal court case against Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch charged for his alleged involvement in the Kremlin-orchestrated campaign to interfere in America’s 2016 presidential elections, is Prigozhin’s decision to respond to the charges at all. Since Russian law prohibits the extradition of its citizens when they are accused of crimes committed abroad, Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg restaurateur close to President Vladimir Putin, had little reason to fear the long arm of U.S. law. Indeed, given his Kremlin ties, Prigozhin would have been well within his rights to believe that his friends in […]

A lone person crosses Piazza del Popolo in Rome, March 19, 2020 (AP photo by Andrew Medichini).

Editor’s Note: WPR has made this article, as well as a selection of others from our COVID-19 coverage that we consider to be in the public interest, freely available. You can find all of our coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here. If you would like to help support our work, please consider taking advantage of our subscription offer here. PISA, Italy—In Pisa, we are entering our 11th day of full lockdown, following a couple of weeks during which normal life, and the economy, was progressively shut down. While China and some other Asian countries are loosening restrictions on movement, most […]

A sign urging commuters to avoid gatherings, reduce crowding and to wash hands in the Brooklyn borough of New York, March 19, 2020 (AP photo by Wong Maye-E).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein and Freddy Deknatel talk about the transformation of daily life in countries facing lockdowns to battle the COVID-19 pandemic. They also discuss the longer-term political and societal impacts the pandemic is likely to have in Western democracies. 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 uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free preview article every day of the week, plus three more complimentary articles in our […]

Migrants stand outside their makeshift tents on the perimeter of the overcrowded Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, Greece, Jan. 28, 2020 (AP photo by Aggelos Barai).

In mid-February, the United Nations issued a statement calling for the immediate evacuation of the Moria refugee camp, on the Greek island of Lesbos. Initially designed to hold fewer than 3,000 people, the camp’s population had increased from 5,000 last July to roughly 20,000. With ships bringing new arrivals every day, medical experts feared a looming public health crisis. Malnutrition was widespread, hygiene impossible to maintain and health care workers completely overwhelmed, leading many residents to die of treatable conditions. A regional government official called Moria “a powder keg ready to explode,” and a volunteer doctor told The Guardian that […]

Albin Kurti, the newly elected prime minister of Kosovo, waves after a new government was elected, in Pristina, Kosovo, Feb. 3, 2020 (AP photo by Visar Kryeziu).

“The citizens of Kosovo voted massively for change,” said Albin Kurti, the country’s newly installed prime minister. “Kosovo is ready to turn a new page.” He may be right, but will they and their neighbors throughout the Balkans actually see that transformation, if their leaders can’t put the 1990s and the troubled years since behind them? In exclusive comments to WPR, Kurti said that countries in the Balkans “are still suffering from the past while struggling to build the future.” A few years ago, Kurti was leading his fellow lawmakers in setting off tear gas amid a protest in Kosovo’s […]

A large crowd wearing masks commutes through Shinagawa Station in Tokyo, Japan, Mar. 3, 2020 (AP photo by Jae C. Hong).

Editor’s note: The following article is one of 30 that we’ve selected from our archives to celebrate World Politics Review’s 15th anniversary. You can find the full collection here. In just a few months, the tightly connected systems of a globalized world have transformed the novel coronavirus from a handful of cases in China to a global pandemic. But we have yet to see an international response that matches the scale of the threat. The contrast with the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent economic crash is stark. Then, governments vastly upgraded the G-20 from a somewhat obscure forum of finance ministers […]

A masked couple walks on the empty Trocadero next to the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, March 17, 2020 (AP photo by Francois Mori).

Europe is now the epicenter of the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the World Health Organization. The continent has more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, outside China. In response to the outbreak, European Union leaders held an emergency summit via video conference this week, agreeing to temporarily close all external borders to non-essential travel. COVID-19 is clearly the most urgent of the many issues facing EU leaders, but it is not the only one. The Brexit process with the U.K., a migration crisis on Greece’s border with Turkey, and an inability to come to […]

Slovakia’s incoming prime minister, Igor Matovic, arrives for an interview a day after the general election, in Bratislava, Slovakia, March 1, 2020 (AP photo by Petr David Josek).

After a surprise victory in Slovakia’s parliamentary elections late last month, the enigmatic Ordinary People and Independent Personalities party, known as OLANO, will lead a diverse majority coalition in the legislature. President Zuzana Caputova is scheduled to swear in the new government on March 21. Many Slovaks have welcomed the change after the nationalist and populist Smer party governed the small eastern European country for most of the past 14 years, with increasingly authoritarian tendencies. OLANO has pledged to clean up the “Mafia state” that allegedly flourished under Smer, following an election that was overshadowed by mass protests over the […]

Women protest outside the Justice Ministry after five men accused of gang raping an unconscious 14-year-old three years ago were convicted of sexual abuse instead of assault or rape, in Madrid, Spain, Nov. 4, 2019 (AP photo by Paul White).

MADRID—After a series of gut-wrenching incidents of rape sparked a massive public outcry in Spain in recent years, the country’s new leftist coalition government has quickly focused on overhauling its sexual assault laws. It has public opinion on its side, as several high-profile trials, including the conviction last summer of five men calling themselves the “Wolf Pack” who gang-raped an 18-year-old woman during the annual bull-running festival in Pamplona in 2016, have galvanized support for tackling this issue. According to the Madrid-based Sociological Research Center, 93 percent of Spaniards find sexual assault to be a worrying problem and 71 percent […]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy addresses lawmakers during a parliamentary session in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 4, 2020 (Sputnik photo via AP Images).

In the most sweeping reshuffle of his government since he took office last May, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fired his Cabinet and appointed a new prime minister earlier this month. The announcement comes at a tricky time, as the government is considering several reform measures that are seen as important to winning much-needed investor confidence. In an email interview with WPR, Steven Pifer, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, discusses the factors behind Zelensky’s move and why the new Cabinet will need to work hard to prove it can bring about real […]

People watch a TV showing a live broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, March 12, 2020 (AP photo by Ahn Young-joon).

In this week’s editors’ discussion on Trend Lines, WPR’s Judah Grunstein and Freddy Deknatel talk about the latest developments in the COVID-19 pandemic, including President Donald Trump’s surprise decision to close the U.S. border to European travelers. They also discuss government responses to the crisis, the competing narratives that are emerging, and questions of solidarity and resilience—both within countries and among them. 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 uncompromising analysis delivered straight to your inbox. The newsletter offers a free […]

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