Insights

TMT icon

Russia’s internet legislation: an existential compliance question for foreign platforms

TMT

Alexander Smotrov
|

This is the second part in Global Counsel’s series on the Russian parliamentary elections this September. Each part discusses how government policy and decision-making is being impacted by the election build-up and what this means for businesses and companies whose operations are linked to Russia. Sign up here to hear more about our future events, podcasts and blogs on…

Read more
General Politics

Navigating Russian and Chinese “vaccine diplomacy” in the CEE and Western Balkans

General Politics

Alexander Smotrov
|

The covid-19 vaccine rollout in Central and Eastern Europe, including the Western Balkans, has not been immune to politicisation. Vaccination is seen as a powerful tool to accelerate post-covid economic recovery alongside stimulus packages, but with Russia and China getting involved, some compare it to the debate on national security concerns about critical infrastructure…

Read more
TMT icon

Bye, .BY: how Belarus could lose its lucrative IT industry

TMT

Alexander Smotrov
|

The nationwide protests and industrial strikes that followed the controversial presidential elections in Belarus continue. The outcome of this unprecedented expression of public dissatisfaction with President Alexander Lukashenko and his grip on the country is, however, not yet clear. Lukashenko may still cling on to power – at least for the time-being - relying on his…

Read more
General Politics

Values and transparency

General Politics

Alexander Smotrov
|

The new Commission faces a complex European political landscape. Eurosceptic parties from many member states will put pressure on their governments after performing strongly in May’s European Parliament election, even if they are struggling to translate this into power in the parliament itself. Tensions have increased between eastern and western member states on migration…

Read more
General Politics

The geopolitical Commission? Politics and policy in the 2019-2024 EU policy cycle

General Politics

Tom White
|

The political guidelines for the 2019-2024 European Commission, and its priorities for the first 100 days, are wide-ranging and open to different interpretations. This is in contrast with its predecessor which (at the outset) could set as its over-riding priority the restoration of economic growth in Europe.

Read more
General Politics

Will elections in Europe and Ukraine change EU-Russia relations? With Nicu Popescu

General Politics

Alexander Smotrov
|

RUSSIA & CIS: Following a lunch event, Practice Lead for Russia, CIS and CEE, Alexander Smotrov and Nicu Popescu, Director of the Wider Europe Programme at the European Council on Foreign Relations, discuss recent elections in Europe and Ukraine, and their potential impacts on EU-Russia relations.

Read more
General Politics

Crimea: lost but not found

General Politics

Stephen Adams
|

Five years after the annexation of Crimea, GC Senior Director Stephen Adams and Practice Lead Alexander Smotrov look at how this event has impacted President Putin’s approval ratings, Russian economy, Crimean population and Ukrainian politics.

Read more
General Politics

Crimea: lost but not found

General Politics

Alexander Smotrov
|

Last week marked the fifth anniversary of the Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine (referred to as “accession” in Russia itself). President Putin descended on to Crimean soil to mark the date by opening new power stations while Moscow staged a three-day street festival to remember the Crimean “homecoming”. However, the public mood both in Crimea and in Moscow is…

Read more
General Politics

The real challenge of Romania's first EU presidency

General Politics

Alexander Smotrov
|

Romania’s presidency of the EU Council - formally launching this week - has already received a dose of high-profile scepticism both in Brussels and Bucharest. Politicians ranging from president Juncker to president Iohannis expressed doubts about Romania’s preparedness for its first ever stint at the helm of the EU, 12 years after its accession. In fairness, it will not…

Read more
General Politics

For Brussels, Macedonia by any name must be European

General Politics

Alexander Smotrov
|

The long-anticipated constitutional referendum in Macedonia on Sunday has been watched carefully both in Brussels and in Moscow. The seemingly convoluted question in ballot papers – "Do you support EU and NATO membership by accepting the agreement between Macedonia and Greece?" – in fact provided an unequivocal direction for 1.8 million voters in the Balkan nation. The…

Read more
General Politics

Bridging the Council divides: east and west

General Politics

Alexander Smotrov
|

This is an excerpt from Global Counsel's latest publication Europe in the Global Economy, which can be downloaded in full here. 

Read more
General Politics

Europe in the Global Economy

General Politics

Tom White
|

A distinctive feature of President Juncker’s “political” European Commission was a single set of collective top-down priorities, rather than a stitching together of the agendas of individual commissioners. In 2014, this meant a focus on economic reforms to restore growth lost during the 2008 financial crisis: a digital single market, a…

Read more
General Politics

Is Poland’s government reshuffle an olive branch to Brussels?

General Politics

Alexander Smotrov
|

Just under a month following his first attendance before the European Council, Poland’s new Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, has piqued Brussels’ interest in his young premiership with a major cabinet reshuffle. The move targets the most hard-line, nationalist ministers with portfolios core to the EU’s agenda: defence, foreign affairs, digital and the environment. The…

Read more
General Policy icon

Vladimir the fourth goes forth

General Policy

Alexander Smotrov
|

Vladimir Putin’s announcement to run for his fourth, and probably final, presidential term is no surprise. Thus far, all the polls indicate he will romp home on 18 March next year. Indeed, polling day has been moved to mark the anniversary of the Russian annexation of Crimea to reinforce the significance of Putin’s proudest achievement in his third term in office.

Read more
General Politics

Will ANO say ‘Yes’ to Euroscepticism and ‘No’ to Brussels?

General Politics

Alexander Smotrov
|

The parliamentary elections in Czech Republic last weekend produced an unsettling but not unexpected result. The moderate populist ANO party won nearly 30% of the vote, but fell far short of a majority in the parliament. Other anti-establishment parties – the Freedom and Direct Democracy party (SPD) and the Pirates Party – have significantly strengthened their positions…

Read more
General Policy icon

Does the migration stick for Visegrad countries require a carrot as well?

General Policy

Alexander Smotrov
|

Migration has drawn the most serious division line between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ EU member states in a decade. This week’s European Commission infringement decision against Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic for their refusal to pledge to accept refugees is just another strong indication of that.

Read more
General Policy icon

European policy and the future of the EU

General Policy

Stephen Adams
|

Ten years of serial crises and rising voter scepticism about mainstream political parties have definitively buried the managerialist consensus that dominated EU policymaking in the early 2000s. The financial crisis, strained public finances and large-scale immigration flows have exposed the delicate balance between technical problem solving, solidarity of national…

Read more
General Policy icon

A Brexit pill for Romania

General Policy

Alexander Smotrov
|

When you mention EU states competing to win a prestigious and powerful European regulatory agency from Britain after Brexit, most people would probably think of the European Banking Authority. But the European Medicines Agency (EMA) is also up for grabs, and the most intriguing bidder is Bucharest.

Read more