Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category


El proyecto de reforma financiera emprendido por la Unión Europea tras el estallido de la crisis en 2008, ha venido experimentando diferentes avances. El más significativo hasta la fecha se produjo en 2012, cuando los gobiernos nacionales de los 28 estados miembros decidieron reunirse para formular un marco común de regulación y supervisión bancaria: la Unión Bancaria. Sin embargo, la comisión Juncker ha decidido ir más allá y embarcarse en un nuevo proyecto, que puede calificarse cuanto menos de ambicioso: formar una Unión de Mercados de Capitales en la Unión Europea. La intención de este proyecto es crear un mercado de capitales europeo fuerte y estable, que proporcione financiación al sistema complementariamente al sector bancario.

En Febrero de este año la Comisión decidió publicar un libro verde explicando la idea, con la intención de que los diferentes interesados pudieran transmitir sus objeciones y sugerencias. Hace poco más de un mes que expiró el plazo para expresar opiniones y actualmente dicho organismo está trabajando en la elaboración de un plan de acción que será presentado en septiembre. Jonathan Hill, el comisario europeo de Estabilidad Financiera, Servicios Financieros y Mercados de Capitales de la Unión, ha recalcado en numerosas ocasiones la importancia y los beneficios de este proyecto, que deberá estar completado para 2019.


Los beneficios de la creación de una unión de mercados de capitales para los 28 estados miembros están claros. Las empresas tendrán mayor acceso a numerosas vías de financiación y no serán tan dependientes del crédito bancario, que tanto se ha restringido tras la crisis, para financiarse. Además, el desarrollo de un mercado de capitales común y sólido aumentará la atracción de inversores extranjeros y promoverá una mayor estabilidad financiera. Por lo tanto, la puesta en práctica de este proyecto contribuirá al crecimiento de la Unión Europea y a su estabilidad. Read more…

Publicado el 28 de julio de 2015 en

Carmen Múgica, Master en Relaciones Internacionales en la IE Escuela de Relaciones Internacionales y colaboradora de la Fundación Alternativas.


Ukraine is Russia’s identity test

Written on July 20, 2015 by Waya Quiviger in Culture & Society, Europe, Foreign Policy, Op Ed

Ukraine, which has long existed in the shadow of Russia, is sometimes compared to Ireland, which had a similar relationship with England, except scaled down to reflect their relative size.

Both Ireland and Ukraine were for many centuries colonized by their larger, more powerful neighbors. The Irish and the Ukrainians provided the manpower for various wars as well as for settling new colonial territories. The Irish diaspora numbers around 70 million people across the English-speaking world, while Ukrainians live in every part of Russia, from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad, having been either given land to move on their own initiative or transported there under guard during Stalin’s terror.

At different times, England and Russia engineered massive famines in Ireland and Ukraine, respectively, from which those countries are yet to recover demographically, physically and psychologically. In the 20th century, as European empires crumbled, Ireland and Ukraine finally won their freedom. Even the dates of their independence are symmetrical: the Irish declared it in 1919, while Ukraine, along with most other ex-Soviet republics, became a sovereign country with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

And now, since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, both former colonial powers are holding on to a piece of territory which belongs to their former subjects.

And yet, one thing is very different. Unlike the Russians, who still claim that Ukrainians are not a nation, the Brits never actually tried to deny a separate ethnic and cultural identity to the Irish – or, for that matter, to the Scots or the Welsh, even though they all speak English and to a casual visitor not attuned to various accents in English, telling them all apart is next to impossible.

The English are highly individualistic. They all but invented individualism, becoming, in effect, a nation of strangers. Modern English is the only European languages not to use a familiar form: lovers, schoolmates and even parents addressing their young kids use the formal you, whereas the personal pronoun I is always capitalized. Britain has a deeply ingrained tradition of eccentricity, in which individuals are allowed to act as they see fit, without conforming to the prevailing notions of “normal” behavior. Even on the crowded London tube, passengers manage to carve out a private space.

Russia, by way of contrast, has always been collectivist. The individual has never meant a thing; he or she is completely insignificant in relation to the state. Those who assert their difference from the crowd, or proclaimed their individuality typically risked expulsion from the community. Why this is the case has been extensively studied and there are plenty of explanations based on history, culture, geography, etc. Be that as it may, collectivism is evident in everyday life – you always see Russians stand on top of each other when they cue up, even if there is plenty of room on the sidewalk – as well as in major historical events, such as Russia’s embrace of communism. On the other hand, eighty years of communist rule, when being a cog in the great machinery of state was proclaimed a huge virtue, reinforced the nation’s natural collectivist tendencies.

To an individualist, the question of identity is pretty straightforward: it is always I. A collective “we” is trickier. You first have to define who else is included into this universe – and, equally important, who is not.

Historically, it has always been difficult for the Russians to define themselves, and the experience of “communist internationalism” made it next to impossible. Early Bolsheviks wanted the collective “we” to be all the workers of the world, then, when world revolution failed to materialize, it became the “Soviet people”, officially consisting of a “fraternal family of Soviet nationalities”. In reality, this collective identity was rife with ethnic enmities and prejudice.

When the Soviet Union fell apart, the Russian Federation attempted to create a new national identity. A new term appeared – rossiyanin – meaning a citizen of the Russian Federation, as opposed to russky, which denotes more narrowly an ethnic Russian. Creating a collective WE of the rossiyanins has not so far been especially successful, and the search for Russian self-identification is ongoing. Read more…

Posted on July 19th in

Alexei Bayer is a New York-based economist and writer. HIs new detective novel, “Latchkey Murders”, set in Moscow in the early 1960s, is coming out in English in early July.


 What Are the Geostrategic Implications of a Grexit?

At the the moment, it is unclear how Greece will ultimately fare in the current duel of wills with the Troika over its technical default, the upcoming referendum, and the possibility of a continuation of the long-running bailout drama. The two sides are locked in acrimonious finger-pointing, Greek banks are shuttered for the week, and the logical but ever elusive diplomatic and economic solution — a reasonable negotiation between the parties — seems further away than ever. As a proud Greek-American, I am saddened by the situation.

Meanwhile, the July 5 referendum is judged too close to call at the moment, and most Greeks will likely be confused about the implications and uncertain how to vote. Macroeconomic theory appears to have been the first casualty of the process, and the doomsday economic scenarios — a crashed Greek economy, a battered if not broken euro, and a deeply shaken European project — are looming large on the horizon.

But in the midst of all of the appropriate Sturm und Drang of the Greek financial and economic crisis, it is worth considering the geostrategic implications of the “Grexit” — which have been largely ignored.

Let’s face it: A Greece that goes crashing out of the eurozone will be an angry, disaffected, and battered nation — but one that will continue to hold membership in the European Union and NATO, both consensus-driven organizations. (“Consensus-driven” means that without unanimous consent among all members, the organization cannot take decisions or execute effective operational actions.) Many times in NATO councils as the supreme allied commander I watched the agonizing process of building consensus, one compromise at a time. In both the EU and NATO, an uncooperative Greece in the future could time and time again put the organizations “in irons,” which is to say becalmed and not moving effectively forward.

This could manifest itself very quickly in, for example, decisions about sanctions against Russia (from which Greece is avidly courting support and funding, logically enough). It could easily affect day-to-day governance in the European Union over issues from negotiating the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to agricultural subsidies to what should be done about refugee flows across the Mediterranean. Greece could become a troublesome and obstructionist actor in complex negotiations involving the EU, such as the Iranian nuclear treaty efforts.

 Read more…

James Stavridis is a retired four-star U.S. Navy admiral and NATO supreme allied commander who serves today as the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He recently gave a well attended seminar at the IE School of International Relations.


Published on 1 July, 2015 in


By Deniz Torcu, MIR 2014/2015 Current Student

The image that has started to go viral in social media amongst Greek users is simple, yet strong enough to explain the stand of the majority. It says a clear “NO”, however the rejection is composed of the sentence “YES TO THE EURO”.

My recent trip to Athens was a clear depiction of how devastated the country really is. The once busy neighbourhoods filled with restaurants, cafés and shops are now being replaced by two yellow signs that mark the desperation of the people: “for rent” and “for sale”, appearing side by side.

Yes, Greece owes billions of dollars. Yes, Greece cannot pay her debt to the IMF and has to redeem billions of bonds held by the ECB or run the risk of going into default.

These are the dry, non-human facts that we read in the news every day.

However, what we don’t get to read as much is the following: after the measures taken by the Greek governments over the past 5 years, the situation only got worse where the real GDP fell as much as 27%, unemployment rates broke a new record, pensions were cut by 48%, unofficial and non-registered labour started to make up as much as 34% of the entire labour force, and public debt kept growing finally reaching a level of nearly 180% of the GDP.

Do those developments seem as a healthy way to bring back an economy? Maybe to Angela Merkel and the German creditors who hold a majority of Greece’s debt, but definitely not to the Greek people.

Go to Greece, speak to ordinary people on the streets, the cafés, taxis, etc. You will hear stories like that of the taxi driver Antoni, who, despite having two degrees in hospital management, has to work in a rented taxi because the highest salary that he can get practicing his own profession doesn’t even reach 500 euros per month; he is thinking of migrating to Canada with his wife, even though he doesn’t want to leave Greece.

You will encounter the taverna owner Dimitri, who is concerned about the anti-Syriza propaganda that has been going strong from the creditors, pointing out to the fact that two extreme right-wing parties are already backing the government. There are fears that if Syriza is not given a proper chance to try to make things right, the fascist Golden Dawn would gain even more power.

Read more…

Published on 1 July, 2015 in

Deniz Torcu has a degree in Economics and previously worked for the Spanish governmental organization Instituto Cervantes and the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO. She currently studies International Relations at IE School of International Relations in Madrid as the Turkish scholar for 2014-2015.


Spain&EUEl próximo lunes 25 de mayo, tendrá lugar el seminario “Diálogo sobre 30 años de España en la UE” en el aula E-001 (C/ María de Molina 4) de 14h30 a 16h00, después de un bufé frío que se servirá de 14h00 a 14h30.

Este seminario, organizado por el Centro de Estudios Europeos/IE, es el primero del programa “España: ¿Un actor clave en las instituciones europeas? 30 años de pertenencia a la Unión Europea” patrocinado por el programa “Hablamos de Europa” del Ministerio de Asunto Exteriores que se impartirá desde mayo hasta septiembre de 2015.

Los dos ponentes son Charles Powell, Director del Real Instituto Elcano y José Ignacio Torreblanca, Director de la oficina de Madrid del ECFR, quienes establecerán un balance de la posición de España en la Unión Europea desde una perspectiva histórica y a la luz de la situación actual.

Se ruega confirmación a

Charles Powell, Licenciado en Historia y Literatura y Doctor en Historia por la Universidad de Oxford, es actualmente director del Real Instituto Elcano.  Entre sus numerosas publicaciones sobre temas internacionales destacan: ‘El amigo americano. España y EEUU de la dictadura a la democracia’ (Galaxia Gutenberg, 2011); ‘España en Europa, Europa en España’, en Emilio Lamo de Espinosa (coord.), ‘Europa después de Europa’ (Academia Europea de Ciencias y Artes, 2010); y ‘Las democracias occidentales frente al terrorismo global’, coeditado con Fernando Reinares (Editorial Ariel, 2008).

José Ignacio Torreblanca es profesor de Ciencia Política en la UNED, director de la oficina en Madrid del European Council on Foreign Relations y columnista de EL PAIS desde junio de 2008. Sus áreas de especialización son los asuntos internos de la UE, principalmente el auge del populismo y el euroescepticismo, las reformas institucionales y la política de ampliación y de vecindad. Sus últimos libros en español son Asaltar los cielos (2015), ¿Quién gobierna en Europa?: reconstruir la democracia, recuperar a la ciudadanía (2014) y La fragmentación del poder europeo (2011).

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