Iceland’s prime minister, Katrin Jakobsdottir, speaks to the media after voting at a polling station in Reykjavik, Iceland, Sept. 25, 2021 (AP photo by Arni Torfason).

Iceland almost made history at the end of September, when it looked like the country had elected Europe’s first majority-female parliament, with women holding 33 of 63 seats. After a recount, however, the share of seats held by women declined to 30. Still, in a world where the average share of female lawmakers is 25.5 percent, even this degree of parity is an achievement. It might seem especially satisfactory because it was done without any mandatory quotas requiring a certain level of women’s representation in parliament. But three of Iceland’s five largest parties had adopted voluntary gender quotas, which appears to have […]

EU leaders pose for a group photo at an EU summit in Brussels, Oct. 21, 2021 (AP photo by Olivier Matthys).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Europe Decoder, which includes a look at the week’s top stories from and about Europe. Subscribe to receive it by email every Thursday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your inbox. European leaders are preparing for two big global summits taking place in Europe in the coming days: the G-20 Summit in Rome, Italy, and the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland. As the European Union strives to step up as a global power, this is […]

Detail from the Catalan Atlas, a medieval map produced in the 1370s, depicting Mansa Musa of the Mali Empire (Bibliotheque Nationale de France, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons).

No regular reader of my columns at World Politics Review can be surprised by now that I believe the future of Africa is one of the most important as well as one of the most neglected questions facing humankind. Africa is so routinely marginalized from the concerns of global affairs that even among otherwise well-informed people, most are unaware that it is the continent where almost all the action is taking place in terms of worldwide demographic growth. So it bears repeating here what I have written before: Africa’s population, which at the outset of my own career was about […]

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann during a press briefing at the OECD Ministerial Council meeting, Oct. 6, 2021, Paris (AP photo by Patrick Semansky).

A new agreement negotiated under the auspices of the G-20 and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development aims to crack down on tax havens by subjecting the world’s largest and most profitable multinational corporations to a minimum corporate tax rate of 15 percent. The deal has been agreed by 136 countries and jurisdictions, collectively representing more than 90 percent of the global economy. The OECD is hoping it will become effective by 2023. Many economists and commentators argue that such a deal is long overdue, given the ability of many gigantic corporations to avoid paying taxes on all or […]

Demonstrators protest against a rally of right-wing extremists in Dortmund, in Germany’s western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Oct. 9, 2021 (DPA photo by Roland Weihrauch via AP).

BERLIN—No European country does more than Germany to confront right-wing extremism—namely xenophobic, anti-democratic movements that perpetrate or extoll violence. Since the end of World War II, against the backdrop of the Nazi regime’s crimes, the country has battled far-right extremism in a vast array of ways: using the security apparatus, democracy promotion, educational campaigns and even bans on extremist parties and organizations, among other measures.  One might even say that Germans are specialists in the field—although in Europe, the phenomenon of a violent far right is not unique to Germany. Yet even though Berlin bends over backward to address the […]

French Defense Minister Florence Parly, center left, speaks with German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, center right, during a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Oct. 21, 2021 (AP photo by Virginia Mayo).

The NATO defense ministers who met yesterday and today in Brussels had a long list of issues to discuss, from the alliance’s role in confronting a rising China to its plans for countering a resurgent Russia. But NATO is also confronting more fundamental questions about its identity that have taken on greater resonance in recent months. Prominent among those questions is what Europe can and should do for itself to provide for its security and defense. The idea of European strategic autonomy, or reduced dependence on the United States for security, is currently associated with French President Emmanuel Macron, one of its most […]

A grave digger wears a protective suit during a burial for a person who died of COVID-19, at a cemetery in Omsk, Russia, Oct. 7, 2021 (AP photo).

In the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, Russian officials seemed to delight in pointing to the country’s relatively low COVID-19 death toll and highlighting what they portrayed as a disastrous response by the West. Russia developed the first coronavirus vaccine, and it reopened its economy before many others. Now, however, as global deaths due to COVID-19 reach their lowest levels in a year, the trend is going in the opposite direction in Russia. In fact, the pandemic response has all but gone off the rails, with a record number of deaths, hospitals straining to keep up and, astonishingly, less than one […]

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, Oct. 21, 2021 (pool photo by Olivier Hoslet via AP).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Europe Decoder, which includes a look at the week’s top stories from and about Europe. Subscribe to receive it by email every Thursday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your inbox. European Union leaders have converged on Brussels today for their quarterly European Council summit. Featuring prominently on the agenda are Europe’s soaring energy prices (more on that below) and a resurgent migration crisis. But the issue that is certain to dominate conversations in Brussels, despite the best efforts of European Council President Charles […]

People passing a graffiti mural showing composer Ludwig van Beethoven on a street in Bonn, Germany, Feb. 19, 2020 (AP photo by Martin Meissner).

Editor’s note: This is Emily Taylor’s final weekly column. We’d like to thank her for her engaging and compelling coverage of tech issues over the past seven months, and we’re thrilled that she will continue to be a regular WPR contributor. The world premiere of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 10, or Beethoven X, which was completed by artificial intelligence, came and went earlier this month with barely a ripple. At a technical level, the achievement is extraordinary, and the music that resulted from it is not bad. It even sounds a bit Beethovenish. Yet it left this listener rather cold. […]

A monument to Ukrainian poet and writer Taras Shevchenko is silhouetted against an apartment building with a sign for Russia’s natural gas giant Gazprom, in Moscow, Russia, March 4, 2014 (AP photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko).

Four years ago, at a Track II dialogue between German and American diplomats and analysts, a German colleague of mine explained his firm belief that his country—and, by extension, Europe as a whole—could use geoeconomic tools to regulate and blunt Russia’s geopolitical ambitions. Europe’s need for natural gas, he said, was balanced by Russia’s need to sell. A European strategy of energy diversification would therefore give the West leverage over Moscow, which would not want to risk its access to European markets by making bold political plays. The plan was for European governments to encourage gas utilities to shift from […]

Participants attend the New Africa-France Summit 2021, Montpellier, France, Oct. 8, 2021 (AP photo by Daniel Cole).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Africa Watch, which includes a look at the week’s top stories and best reads from and about the African continent. Subscribe to receive it by email every Friday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. For the first time since the inaugural event in 1973, the Franco-Africa Summit—rebranded as the New Africa-France Summit, or as some referred to it on Twitter and other social media platforms, #AfricaFranceRemix—did not feature a single African head of state or government, or ministerial delegation. Instead, the […]

Followers of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr celebrate after the announcement of the results of parliamentary elections, Baghdad, Iraq, Oct. 11, 2021 (AP photo by Khalid Mohammed).

On Sunday, for the fifth time since the U.S. invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003, Iraqis voted in elections. Initial results suggest that the big winner was nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political formation once again emerged with the most seats in parliament. Parties aligned with pro-Iranian militias were the big losers, seeing their vote totals plummet. But with turnout at a record low 41 percent of registered voters, the election is being seen as an expression of Iraqis’ disillusionment with the state of the country’s electoral politics. The elections were the culmination of a political process triggered by […]

Former Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, from left to right, in Prague, Czech Republic, Jan. 16, 2020 (AP photo by Petr David Josek).

For those who have worried about the illiberal, populist drift in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, events of the past few days have brought some rare good news. Recent political tremors have shaken several governments in the European region that led the populist wave now gaining ground across much of the world.  Despite the series of setbacks, there’s still a chance—in every instance—that when the current convulsions stop, the populist right could remain in place. But it does seem that the region is now in play. What’s remarkable is that these developments have occurred almost simultaneously. It could […]

Then-Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz speaks during a press conference, Belgrade, Serbia, Sept. 4, 2021 (AP file photo by Darko Vojinovic).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only weekly newsletter, Europe Decoder, which includes a look at the week’s top stories from and about Europe. Subscribe to receive it by email every Thursday. If you’re already a subscriber, adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your inbox. The sudden and unexpected resignation of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz is causing shock waves across Europe, where the continent’s center-right was already reeling from the impending departure from the political stage of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The ripple effects of Kurz’s ouster over a corruption scandal are still reverberating, complicating the already difficult calculations […]

Closed fuel pumps at a gasoline station in London, Sept. 28, 2021 (AP photo by Frank Augstein).

Two weeks ago, an altercation broke out at a gas station in London and quickly escalated. One of the men involved drew a knife. The other rammed him with his car. As the driver tried to retreat, the first man kicked at his side mirror, leaving it hanging limply as the car reversed back into the street.  Fights in a major city like London are not unusual, but the cause of this one was: The two men were arguing over access to gasoline that was suddenly in short supply in many parts of the country. And it was by no means the […]

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern holds up a card showing a new alert system for COVID-19, in Wellington, New Zealand, March 21, 2020 (AP photo by Nick Perry).

COVID-19 has walloped the world’s women. As the virus spread, women—who are overrepresented in hard-hit industries like food service, hospitality, education and, crucially, health care—found themselves vulnerable, unemployed and without a social safety net, and often neglected by government crisis responses. Closures of businesses and schools, necessitated by social distancing, have pushed millions of women from the global workforce: Worldwide, women lost 64 million jobs—$800 billion in earnings—in 2020. At the same time, women’s retreat to the home widened gendered inequities in household labor, as women shouldered ever-greater child care responsibilities and more domestic chores. More time at home also […]

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks via video conference during a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing on antitrust on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 29, 2020 (AP photo by Graeme Jennings).

Editor’s Note: This is the web version of our subscriber-only Weekly Wrap-Up newsletter, which gives a rundown of the week’s top stories on WPR. Subscribe to receive it by email every Saturday. If you’re already a subscriber,  adjust your newsletter settings to receive it directly to your email inbox. This week, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook data scientist, went public as the whistleblower behind the leaked cache of internal company documents known as the “Facebook Files.” Initially published in The Wall Street Journal, the documents allegedly prove that the company’s internal research had demonstrated the negative effects of Facebook and Instagram on […]

Showing 1 - 17 of 221 2 Last