Putin becomes the ‘perfect enemy” for the West

Putin, after having won last Sunday’s presidential election in Russia with a landslide of 76.7% is now turning to the West for détente. According to Reuters, he said “had no desire for an arms race and would do everything he could to resolve differences with other countries”. Only a few days ahead of election Sunday […]

Brexit negotiations: Can May’s Britain bounce back?

It was last Monday when the EU and UK announced a transition agreement till the end of 2020 providing thus the opportunity for a smoother Brexit. However, there are still unsolved issues that need intensive discussions such as the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. The business world saw this accord positively as they will […]

A strong European Union is a united European Union

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Ms Michaella Alexandrou, a 20-year-old medical student at the University of Athens, Greece. She is currently serving as Local Officer on Human Rights and Peace (LORP). Ms Alexandrou is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA). The opinion expressed in this piece belongs to […]

Commission’s action plan: financial world mandatory links to environmental targets

It was last Thursday when the European Commission revealed its action plan on sustainable finance to deal with climate change. This action plan aims at mobilizing the financial world in order to achieve sustainable growth; something that the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative has been doing for 26 years already. The huge financial gap towards […]

What we take for granted: The EU is not perfect

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by Mr Daniel Memarpour, a European medical student, based in Spain, who is a trainer at the IFMSA. Mr Memarpour is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Association (IFMSA). The opinion expressed in this piece belongs to the writer and does not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view […]

Italian elections: a long political limbo is ahead

The outcome of the Italian general elections of last Sunday was disappointing leaving the country and the European Union in shock. The win of the two anti-establishment parties together with the fact that no single party managed to get the mandate of an overall majority leaves the country in a political uncertainty where a coalition […]

EU budget: Will Germany alone manage Britain’s gap?

The EU budget will be the main topic of the EU summit which will be held in Brussels on Friday. The leaders of the 27 member states have to deal with the annual gap that UK will leave after Brexit occurs ensuring that the priorities set for the Union will be adequately funded. According to […]

Brexit negotiations: back to square one, tougher words, no good faith

This past week, the EU and UK  Brexit negotiators’ solemn exchanges became for the first time, really aggressive and plain. Since the beginning of September 2017, during the Michel Barnier – David Davis meetings there had being difficult moments. Nevertheless, the two chief negotiators never questioned the good faith of the other side; not any […]

Germany may have a stable and more cooperative government

The center right and center left German mainstream political parties agreed yesterday evening to form a new grand coalition government. It will be the third time since 2005 the two Christian parties and the socialists jointly govern their country. The socialists will control the Finance, Foreign and Labor ministries, with Martin Schulz, the Social Democratic […]

Will Western Balkans respond positively to EU initiatives?

The European Commission announced yesterday its strategy regarding the perspective of EU enlargement with the Western Balkans within the next decade.  Six initiatives will be the guidelines of the EU which must be fulfilled in order to be able for these countries to complete the necessary steps for their accession process. The EU seems to […]

A Trumpist squad shook Davos and the world

Towards the end of last week, in Davos, a money devaluation war broke out. In the ‘magic’ Alpine mountains American Trumpist dignitaries did what was expected of them: they told the world they don’t give a damn about it…Trump himself, however, appeared a bit less Trumpist than his folk. Overall though, a US administration squad […]

What will Germany look like after the next election?

Last Thursday this newspaper came out with a lead story about European countries having problems producing viable governments. The article was entitled “Minority governments ‘à la mode’ in Europe but can they last long?” It seems conformist Germany answers this question in the negative. According to an opinion poll published this week and reported by […]

How a possible EU budget deficit affects the migration crisis

The migration crisis has been long plaguing Europe but the year passed revealed that the situation is getting better and better with arrivals and deaths to be decreased to a great extent. According to IOM, the UN Migration Agency, 171.635 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea during 2017 compared to the 363.504 arrivals in […]

Hungary and Ireland build front to say no to EU tax harmonisation plan

Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, at a 2015 event in Brussels, Berlaymont. (Copyright: European Union , 2015; Source: EC - Audiovisual Service; Photo: Lieven Creemers)

After last week, any effort from the European Union to harmonize corporate tax rules across the bloc will have to deal with a new opposition front. Last Thursday, Prime Ministers from Hungary and Ireland met separately in Budapest and expressed a firm rejection to any plan from Brussels to finetune regional tax regulations, saying that […]

Erdogan’s Turkey in dire straits for flip flop policies in the Middle East

Last week a US federal court convicted Mehmet Hakan Atilla, an executive of Turkey’s state-owned Halkbank. This is a major financial institution of this country, controlled directly by the government. Attila found guilty on five accounts, for evading the American sanctions imposed on Iran. Most of those punitive measures were lifted in April 2015, in […]

Europe’s far-right launches attacks on neighboring nations

This newspaper had predicted that Europe’s extreme right wing, almost fascist political parties, unable to deliver their phoney promises after reaching government posts, will try to play the aggressive chauvinism card. Old Continet’s’s nations have paid dearly in the past millennia for jingoism and chauvinist violence. However, after many decades of peace in Europe and […]

Migration crisis update: lack of solidarity not only among EU leaders but also EU officials

It was two days ago, on the anniversary of the International migration day, when the United Nations urged everyone to contribute to make migration safer in the world. The EU leaders gathered on December 14-15 in Brussels to discuss among others how to tackle refugee crisis. The key point which created disagreements was the letter from the […]

EU leaders open “Phase Two” of Brexit talks and warn Theresa May of tougher times

Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May at last week’s EU Council. Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte

Last week, the European Union and the United Kingdom made substantial progress on their Brexit agenda, opening the most crucial part of their divorce conversations. As the latest EU Summit wrapped up in Brussels on Friday, European Union leaders agreed Brexit talks have made enough progress to move negotiations to phase two. Also, the UK […]

VW diesel scandal and climate change: can increased independent car checks lead to cleaner mobility?

It was last Thursday when the European Parliament together with the Council and the Commission agreed to enhance the car testing system by providing extra checks to the cars that are or will be placed in the market based on the proposal of the European Commission made on January 2016. Despite the fact that this […]

Hazy ‘breakthrough’ saves PM May, leaves Ireland in limbo: Brexit

With only a couple of hours sleep in the very early hours of last Friday, the British PM Theresa May boarded a RAF aircraft and landed in Brussels before dawn. Weary as she was, she rushed to Berlaymont building, the EU Commission headquarters. There she met Jean-Claude Juncker the President of the European Commission and […]

Trump: Hostile to Europe, voids Tillerson’s “ironclad” ally pledge

At the end of last week, Rex Tillerson, the US State Department Secretary was intentionally undermined by President Donald Trump. This surprise move from the White House came only hours after the former gave an “’ironclad’ promise of U.S. support to its oldest allies in Europe”. To undercut this pledge, the White House leaked information […]

Energy Union: EU’s effort towards a cleaner climate with integrated energy market

The European Commission published its third annual energy report last Friday showing the progress that has been made so far since the last report in February of this year. Many policies’ amendments have been proposed for the next decade towards a greener environment and a more harmonised EU gas market. The majority of the EU […]

Britain offers more money for an orderly Brexit but the Irish question resurges

If last Friday’s Reuters report from Brussels is correct and Theresa May and Donald Tusk agreed to solve the Brexit dead-end in ten days, then the wild Brexiteers must have retreated  and the orderly exit side has won the first round. Tusk, the President of the European Council said in a tweet that he told […]

Climate change update: will the UN member states regain momentum despite the little progress at COP23?

The 23rd conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP23) concluded last Saturday in Bonn but little progress was achieved and everyone is now awaiting next year’s negotiations in Poland where a rule book for the Paris agreement has to be finalised. All member states should reconsider their emission cuts upwards via […]

Destabilizing Lebanon after burning Syria; plotting putsch at home: King and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia

Last week the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman, son of King Salman placed the Prime Minister of Lebanon, Saad Al-Hariri under house arrest in Riyadh and forced him to resign his premiership. The Sunni Lebanese premier has a double citizenship, Lebanese and Saudi Arabian. His family has extended business interests and wealth […]

Brexit: UK business fear of a no-deal scenario preparing for the worst

The Confederation of British Industry annual conference which took place last Monday in London was a chance for Prime Minister Theresa May to ask for more patience from the business world. Something though that seems to have been lost as negotiations show no significant progress and time presses both sides. A survey by the Chartered […]

Catalonia secessionist leader takes Flemish ‘cover’; Spain risks more jingoist violence

The Catalonia crisis and the aftermaths after its diffusion can offer valuable lessons for the nature of jingoist politics and the motives, goals and the character of its main actors, on both sides of the fence. The Catalan secessionists led by Carles Puigdemont proved experts in setting the fire, but were incapable of making anything […]

Climate change: Will COP23 be able to accelerate the implementation of the Paris agreement?

The next UN climate summit (COP23) will take place in Bonn, Germany from 6 till 17 November with everyone to await its outcome and whether it will be beneficial for the global warming adding to the Paris agreement. It is a crucial year for the climate as the US has declared to leave the Paris […]

Czech Babis, Austrian Kurz and others threaten Europe with nationalist populism

Andrej Babis, a media magnate and second wealthier Czech leading his anti-immigration, nationalist and populist ANO party, won last Sunday’s election, with around 30% of the vote. He is to become the next Prime Minister of the Czech Republic. Babis did that on an anti-systemic Trump-like ticket. He was recently implicated in a tax fraud […]

EU Trust Fund for Africa: Can it be beneficial for Italy and tackle the migration crisis in the Mediterranean?

It was last week when the EU leaders met in Brussels to discuss how to support Italy with managing the refugees’ crisis in the central Mediterranean. The increase of the financial aid in the Trust Fund for Africa is believed to be one of the main ways to deal with this long-lasting issue. However, this […]