What's New

NATO, Trump, and the Return of the Burden-Sharing Debate
As North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) leaders prepare for a summit meeting in Brussels on May 24-25, they face heightened uncertainty about the future of the Alliance. U.S. President Donald Trump, like his predecessors, has voiced support for NATO while emphasizing the need for a more equitable defense spending burden within the Alliance. Unlike his predecessors, Trump has suggested that the U.S. may not aid NATO allies when attacked if they do not meet the Alliance’s non-binding pledge to spend at least 2% of GDP on defense. (Read More)

Streit Council Advisory Board Member Brendan Simms on the Post-Brexit European Order
The challenges facing the United Kingdom over the next two years are numerous and increasing by the day. All of these issues are hugely important and they are closely interconnected. At root, however, they are a question of order, not so much of the “rules-based” global international community, significant though that is, but of the European order around which the world system was originally constructed and that remains – for the UK, at least – the primary pivot. (Read More)

The European Union in 2017: Fragmentation or Integration?

As the European Union (EU) approaches the 60th anniversary of the Treaties of Rome, its leaders and institutions face a rising tide of political risk. Long-held and growing doubts about the EU’s ability to reduce unemployment, stem migration, and counter terrorism have set the stage for electoral gains by euroskeptic parties in the Netherlands, France, Germany, and – if an early election is called – in Italy. These risks are compounded by Russia’s support for euroskeptic parties; the uncertain fate of the EU-Turkey refugee deal; Brexit negotiations; and an increasingly likely economic downturn. What can be done to strengthen the Union? (Read More)

Streit Council Advisory Board Member Brendan Simms co-authors a new book: Donald Trump: The Making of a World View
On November 8, 2016, Donald Trump won the American presidential election, to the joy of some and the shock of many across the globe. Now that Trump is Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful country on Earth, Americans and non-Americans alike have been left wondering what that means for the world. It has been widely claimed that Trump's foreign policy views are impulsive, inconsistent and that they were improvised on the campaign trail. Drawing on interviews from as far back as 1980, historians Brendan Simms and Charlie Laderman show that this assumption is dangerously false in this new book. (Read More)

New Book edition by Streit Council Advisory Board Member Stanley R. Sloan
The latest edition of Stanley R. Sloan's book on transatlantic security relations - Defense of the West: NATO, the European Union and the Transatlantic Bargain (Manchester University Press, 2016) - surveys the history of NATO, analyzes interactions between contemporary internal and external threats facing the Alliance, and offers a net assessment of its future. Click here for his summary of the book, and here for peer reviews.

Transatlantic Relations and Global Governance News

EU countries compete to host London-based agencies after Brexit
22 June 2017 – The Guardian
European leaders are expected to compete over the future location of EU agencies previously based in London, which will be the first test of the EU’s post-Brexit unity. The bloc is insisting that the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority find new homes elsewhere in the EU after the UK leaves. These agencies are both prestigious and boost visitor traffic for hotels and local business, thus setting the stage for an EU member states’ battle for securing the agencies.
(Read More)

EU leaders to weigh terrorism, defense ties, migration
22 June 2017 – Associated Press
Ahead of a very controversial European conference, European leaders are making statements in solidarity with Brussels as the EU starts divorce talks with the UK. European Council President Donald Tusk wrote that he believed that the EU should be the solution, not the problem to Europe’s problems, and French President Emmanuel Macron said that Europe a la carte is a fantasy.
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Report: Western Balkans route not closed, just diverted via Bulgaria
22 June 2017 - Euractiv
When the EU made its deal with Turkey to house migrants, the Balkan route did not close as commonly thought. A new report suggests that 10,000 migrants are stranded in Serbia and Bulgaria. Given the recent development of the Central European Defense Cooperation, whose main focus is to force migrants to apply for asylum outside of the EU bloc, tackling this issue is once again a top priority for European leaders.(Read More)

Brexit: Pro-leave Twitter bots played “strategic role” in EU referendum result, says Oxford University study
22 June 2017 – The Independent
According to a new study from Oxford University, both bots and trolls worked to spread propaganda and manipulate social media users’ political views prior to the EU referendum last June. The report states that bots “played a small but strategic role” in shaping Twitter conversations during the lead up to the UK’s EU referendum. The study also states that the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election was also affected in this way.
(Read More)

European court: Police can’t circumvent Schengen with “random” checks
21 June 2017 – Deutsche Welle
On Wednesday, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the German federal police are no longer allowed to use baseless identification checks near borders as a way to circumvent Schengen rules concerning free travel. The ECJ ruled that random police checks cannot be used as border control measures in the Schengen area if it creates a system similar to that of the controls before the Schengen Agreement was signed. However, the court did state that Germany’s federal police could continue to demand identification for those within 30 kilometers of international borders if deemed “proportional” and done to prevent illegal entry into the country.
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Former DHS chief warns Russians will continue to target U.S. elections
21 June 2017 – NBC News
After being questioned by a panel of House members, a former U.S. Department of Homeland Security chief said that the hacks of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) were Putin’s doing. With more evidence coming in from 21 states that their elections were tampered with, this official said he was saddened to hear that news of this only came to the forefront after the DNC was hacked.
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Small EU states meet amid search to fill post-Brexit void
21 June 2017 – EU Observer
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is hosting officials from small and mid-sized EU countries ahead of the summit in Brussels on Thursday. The impeding exit of Britain from the bloc has left the remaining members searching for new alliances. The meeting on Wednesday was attended by representatives from nine countries, each part of regional groups within the bloc (Nordic, Baltic, and Benelux). This mini-summit is nothing new, but could demonstrate a possible shift in alliances due to Brexit.
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Brexit dominates May’s program as manifesto pledges ditched
21 June 2017 – Bloomberg
During her speech on Wednesday, Queen Elizabeth II outlined the legislative program the House of Commons will follow during its two-year term. Brexit will dominate the program with the government planning eight new laws to ease the UK’s exit from the EU. The bills will encompass topics from immigration to fisheries, which are presented to ensure that the government is aiming to secure the best possible deal from the Brexit process. This program underlines Prime Minister May’s fragility after the outcome of the general election seeing as she must stick to measures that she can win support for across party lines.
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Ukraine's Poroshenko says will sign defense deals with USA soon
21 June 2017 - Reuters
On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko told the news agency Interfax Ukraine that the U.S. and Ukraine will soon sign a number of agreements boosting defense cooperation. These agreements will “includ[e] an agreement on defense procurement and an agreement on military-technical cooperation.” Poroshenko also said that U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Vice President Mike Pence told him that key members of Trumpʼs administration will visit Kiev in the next two to three months.
(Read More)

Explosive TATP used in Brussels Central Station attack, initial exam shows
21 June 2017 – CNN
Belgian authorities identified the individual behind yesterday’s attack on the rail station Gare Centraal in the heart of Brussels. The only person injured in the attack was the attacker who was shot. Gendarmerie on patrol gave accounts of the attacker saying phrases linked to jihad. The official statement said that there was reason to believe that the attacker was connected to Daesh, or ISIL, and had explosives at his residence.
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New EU laws make UK’s complex Brexit ever more difficult
20 June 2017 – Financial Times
In the year since the Brexit referendum, the EU has introduced 700 new laws which have been instituted in Britain. This demonstrates the scale and complexity of the Brexit process. On average, 60 EU regulations and directives have been added to the British statute book every month since the referendum, which adds to the approximate 19,000 EU regulations, directives, and other rules that are already a part of British law.
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Trump meets Ukraine's president, U.S. adds to Russia sanctions
20 June 2017 – U.S. News and World Report
U.S. President Donald Trump sat down with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in the oval office on Tuesday and expressed support for a peaceful resolution to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, but said nothing about Russiaʼs role. Trump said “a lot of progress has been made” between the U.S. and Ukraine and that the pair had “very, very good discussions.” In a statement issued after Trump's meeting, the White House said the two also discussed President Poroshenkoʼs reform agenda and anti-corruption efforts.
(Read More)

The EU strengthens action in support of security of Mali and Sahel
20 June 2017 - Eurasia Review
The European Council adopted a decision on Tuesday to support the regionalization of EU Common Security and Defense Policy (CSDP) missions in the Sahel region, namely EUCAP Sahel Mali, EUCAP Sahel Niger, and EUTM Mali. The objectives of reinforcing a regional approach in the EU work in the region is to support cross-border cooperation in the Sahel and regional cooperation structures, and to enhance the national capacities of the G5 Sahel countries.
(Read More)

French ministers quit before Macron's “clean” reshuffle
20 June 2017 – AFP
One of French President Macron’s campaign promises was to clean up politics in his country but his Minister of Defense quit due to a scandal in her small party. Even though she was appointed less than a month ago, she felt that if she did not step down, she would not be helping any of Macron’s initiatives. All of this comes on the heels of a parliamentary election, and just before Macron reshuffles his cabinet.
(Read More)

Britain starts Brexit negotiations with EU; discusses orderly exit
19 June 2017 – Chicago Tribune
On Monday, formal Brexit talks began in Brussels with both sides stating that they will focus first on an orderly withdrawal, EU and UK citizens’ residency rights, the Northern Ireland border, and Britain’s exit bill. After the first day of negotiations, both EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his British counterpart David Davis highlighted the quick progress that they expected from the upcoming talks as well as the existence of major challenges to meet the March 2019 deadline. It appeared that the negotiations will mostly follow the EU’s conditions and future relations will only be dealt with after the divorce is settled.
(Read More)

The Latest: 6 Central Europe nations vow unity on migration
19 June 2017 – Associated Press
Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia have agreed to form a grouping called the Central European Defense Cooperation as a model for the rest of the EU. Details remain sparse, but the countries share the goal of limiting limit refugee flows into the region.
(Read More)

EU steps up global counter-terrorism drive
19 June 2017 – EU Observer
EU delegations in the Middle East, North Africa, the Western Balkans, Turkey, the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, and the Gulf will be receiving new counterterrorism staff to enhance EU efforts in this area. EU leaders are expected to discuss counterterrorism as a priority issue at a summit on Thursday and Friday.
(Read More)

EU extends sanctions against Russia over Crimea for a year
19 June 2017 – Associated Press
European attempts to stifle Russian plans in the Crimea include sanctions that have just been extended by one year. The sanctions ban the import of all products from Crimea and Sevestopol, halt all cruise stops and purchases of land, investment, telecoms, and energy. It is based on a refusal to formally recognize Russian claims to Crimea.
(Read More)

Russia warns U.S. its fighter jets are now potential target in Syria
19 June 2017 - The Guardian
In response to U.S. planes shooting down a Syrian air force jet on Sunday, Moscow announced on Monday that it would treat any plane from the U.S.-led coalition flying west of the Euphrates river as a potential target. The U.S. claims its planes were defending U.S.-backed forces seeking to capture the Islamic State capital of Raqqa in northeast Syria. The Russian foreign ministry said it responded to the attack by suspending its communications channel with U.S. forces - the channel was implemented 8 months ago and has served to prevent collisions and dangerous incidents in Syrian airspace.
(Read More)

Brexit talks kick Off in Brussels as May urged to soften stance
18 June 2017 - Bloomberg
On Monday, the formal Brexit negotiations started despite confusion over what the British government’s priorities are for its exit. EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier stated that the first round of talks must “tackle the uncertainties posed by Brexit.” The outcome from the UK’s general election has placed Prime Minister Theresa May’s position in doubt. However, the UK government is eager to win back sovereignty without harming its economy, while the EU’s main priority is to maintain regional stability and avoid rewarding Britain’s decision to leave as it might encourage other member states to follow suit.
(Read More)

Putin: New sanctions will “complicate” Russia-U.S. ties
17 June 2017 - Politico
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Saturday that new U.S. sanctions on Russia will damage ties between the two countries. The sanctions were passed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday in response to alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. The sanctions target Russian individuals accused of corruption as well as key sectors of the Russian economy. Putin said that the sanctions “will of course complicate the Russian-American relationship,” but that it is too early to speak about a possible response.
(Read More)

France says U.S. must work with Europe, G7 over Russia sanctions
16 June 2017 – Reuters
On Friday, France’s foreign ministry argued that the U.S. should coordinate with countries in Europe and its G7 partners before implementing new sanctions on Russia. This statement comes a day after the U.S. Senate approved new measures against Moscow that could impact EU firms.
(Read More)

Spaniards most likely to want their own EU referendum, poll shows
16 June 2017 – The Local Spain
A new survey shows that while the majority of Spaniards are not likely to follow the UK out of the EU, the country is the most likely to push for a referendum on EU membership compared to other member states. When asked if Spain should leave the bloc, only 13% of Spaniards were in favor; however, when asked if the country should have a referendum on membership, 65% responded “yes.”
(Read More)

Post-mortem of Britain’s electoral upset
16 June 2017 - The Economist
Post-election statistics reveal that the failure of Prime Minister Theresa May’s snap elections owed in large part to high voter turnout, demographics, and concerns about Brexit. Last week’s elections were able to generate substantial interest among younger voters, especially those between the ages of 18 and 24 - most of whom voted for Labour. Moreover, 14% more voters between those ages participated than in 2015, and nearly 70% of the total electorate voted in what was the highest voter turnout since 1997.
(Read More)

Europeans like the EU more since Brexit. Even the British
15 June 2017 – Time
According to a new poll by Pew Research Center, euroskepticism is on the decline in the EU almost a year after Britain voted to exit the bloc. The survey released by Pew on Thursday found that nine out of ten EU member states polled have a positive view of Brussels-based institutions. This poll includes citizens of the UK, where 54% view the EU favorably, which is around 10 points higher than it was in a similar poll from last year. In total, 63% of those surveyed have a favorable view of the EU.
(Read More)

Pay up, make nice if you want “soft Brexit,” EU to tell May
15 June 2017 – Reuters
EU negotiators insist that British Prime Minister Theresa May should agree to pay Britain’s exit bill and discontinue threats to leave without a deal if she would like to discuss a “softer Brexit” in negotiations. However, many EU leaders believe that speculating on whether there will be a “soft” or “hard” Brexit is premature since the Union will not discuss exit terms until the terms of the divorce are settled.
(Read More)

U.S. sanctions on Russia threaten European energy firms-Germany, Austria
15 June 2017 – The New York Times
On Thursday, both Germany and Austria criticized the U.S. Senate for approving new sanctions against Russia, saying that these measures could put European companies involved in Russian energy projects at risk for fines for breaching U.S. law. The Senate’s vote put into law sanctions that were previously imposed by presidential executive order. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern stated that the sanctions would help secure U.S. energy jobs and threaten Russian gas deliveries to Europe, which the region depends on.
(Read More)

Lawmakers warn: some NATO allies still using Russian equipment
15 June 2017 - Washington Examiner
House Republican lawmaker Rep. Paul Cook  said on Thursday that some members of the NATO alliance are still dependent on Russia for military equipment for their air and ground forces, which makes it harder for the U.S. to count on them as allies. He said that the use of “Soviet-style” equipment is a complicating factor for U.S. policy as it leaves the eastern European NATO allies vulnerable to Russian aggression, in addition to complicating their efforts to fulfill Trumpʼs demand that they increase military spending. Cook went on to urge the Trump Administration to sell eastern European allies American military equipment that can replace the Russian weapons systems.
(Read More)

What we know about the congressional baseball shooting
15 June 2017 – ABC News
The shooter of Congressman Steve Scalise has been identified as James Hodgkinson, 66. Though his motives remain unclear, he posted several anti-Republican sentiments on social media. He was a one-time volunteer for former Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Scalise underwent his third major surgery Thursday morning since the attack.
(Read More)

Senate overwhelmingly votes to curtail Trump’s power to ease Russia sanctions
14 June 2017 – The Washington Post
The U.S. Senate voted to 97 to 2 to expand sanctions on Russia and to allow Congress to block efforts by President Donald Trump to unilaterally ease any sanctions on the country. The move follows statements by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that sanctions could limit U.S. flexibility in managing U.S.-Russia relations.
(Read More)

Perks will stop if UK ends up staying in EU, says Guy Verhofstadt
14 June 2017 – The Guardian
Guy Verhofstadt, the European Parliament’s Brexit coordinator, stated that the UK is free to change its mind about exiting the EU - but the country would have to give up its current special perks, including the budget rebate. He stated that if the UK chooses to stay in the EU, it would be “a new Europe, a Europe without rebates, without complexity, with real powers and with unity.” Other special perks afforded to Britain include a permanent opt-out from joining the euro and the ability to selectively follow justice and home affairs policies.
(Read More)

Hungary defies EU, passes tough anti-foreign NGO law
14 June 2017 - Daily Sabah
Amid increasing tension between the EU and Hungary, the Hungarian parliament passed new legislation targeting non-governmental organizations which receive foreign funding. The new law would require all NGOs receiving 24,000 euros in foreign funding annually to register as a foreign-supported program or risk closure for noncompliance. The law also requires all NGOs to disclose all foreign investors providing over $1,800. The bill is the latest in a long line of challenges from the Viktor Orban government against what it perceives as EU encroachment on national sovereignty.
(Read More)

Tillerson warns against steps that cut off talks with Russia
13 June 2017 – Associated Press
When asked about a potentially new round of sanctions against Russia, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that such a step would close off critical lines of communication that help ease tensions between the U.S. and Russia. If the Trump Administration does not to back the new sanctions package, it could raise further suspicion about ties between its officials and Russia.
(Read More)

Senators aim to make it harder for Trump Administration to ease Russia sanctions
13 June 2017 – NPR
Earlier today, a group of bipartisan senators added an amendment to the Iran Sanctions bill, which would derail any plans the Trump Administration has to reduce sanctions on Russia. It requires that Congress review proposed changes to the sanctions before Trump can do anything. It also adds on new sanctions for actions in Syria, cyberwarfare, and other malicious acts by the Russian government.
(Read More)

Brussels takes on (most of the) Visegrad Group over refugees
12 June 2017 – Politico
Later this week, the European Commission is expected to launch infringement proceedings against Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic over the countries’ refusal to join the EU’s refugee relocation scheme. In 2015, EU member states agreed to relocate about 160,000 refugees throughout the bloc, which remains a legally binding decision. However, Poland and Hungary have not taken in a single refugee and openly oppose the mandatory nature of the scheme. The Czech Republic took in only 12 last year and none this year, while the government announced it will withdraw from the scheme due to security concerns. Slovakia, the fourth member of the Visegrad Group of Central European countries, will not be sanctioned.
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Germany begins border controls in lead-up to G20 summit
12 June 2017 – ABC News
Ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg next month, Germany is imposing border controls. The Interior Minister says the checks will be conducted in a “flexible” manner along Germany’s land, air and sea borders. Under the rules of the Schengen agreement, border controls may be conducted if security concerns warrant it. The German ministry stated that the border measures are designed to prevent people planning violence from entering the country.
(Read More)

Macedonia renews push to join NATO under provisional name
12 June 2017 – Politico
Macedonia's new government is making a new effort to join NATO under a provisional name in an attempt to resolve objections by Greece that have prevented the country from joining the alliance. Macedonia’s foreign minister stated that Macedonia, officially known as the Republic of Macedonia, will seek membership under the UN-recognized name FYROM (the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), and then restart discussions with Greece over the name. Greek objections stem from concerns that the name represents a territorial claim over a Greek province also called Macedonia.
(Read More)

Anti-Putin protests: Russian police arrest hundreds as thousands rally against Kremlin corruption
12 June 2017 – The Independent
Russian authorities have arrested hundreds of protestors and President Vladimir Putin’s main adversary, Alexei Navalny. Navalny is leading the push against Putin, saying that there is massive corruption in the government. Police were given orders to block and suppress these protests as much as possible, but thousands of people still turned out.
(Read More)

U.S. opts out of G7 pledge stating Paris climate accord is “irreversible”
12 June 2017 - The Guardian
Following a two-day meeting in Italy, G7 environment ministers published a final memorandum reaffirming their commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement, referring to it as an “irreversible” mechanism for the reduction greenhouse gas emissions. While the United States formally pulled out of the Paris Agreement, the U.S. added a footnote to the official G7 document confirming that it would “continue to engage with key international partners in a manner that is consistent with [its] domestic priorities, preserving both a strong economy and a healthy environment.” 
(Read More)

Russian activist Alexei Navalny detained as tens of thousands rally across Russia
12 June 2017 – Washington Post
Alexei Nalvany, a vocal opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been detained for directing protesters to a non-approved area. State news focused on the fairs and celebrations for Russia Day, and Putin’s annual conversation with the citizenry, rather than the massive anti-corruption protests taking place across the country.
(Read More)

U.S., G7 partners remain at odds on climate at environment meeting
12 June 2017 – Reuters
G7 environmental ministers stated on Sunday that the wide differences over climate change between the U.S. and its fellow members are likely to remain. The ministers and officials are meeting in Bologna on Sunday and Monday to discuss climate change, sustainable development, and ocean conservation, and other issues. According to Italian Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti, the positions on the Paris agreement are far apart and likely to stay that way.
(Read More)

Nicola Sturgeon calls for May to pause Brexit negotiations
12 June 2017 – The Guardian
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon urged British Prime Minister Theresa May to pause the upcoming Brexit talks in order to build a new cross-party, “four-nation” consensus for the UK’s approach. Sturgeon argued that the election result had left the UK government unstable and weak.
(Read More)

Chance of smooth Brexit fades after British election chaos
11 June 2017 – Reuters
In the wake of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s election setback, many UK citizens are questioning the leader’s insistence on beginning Brexit negotiations next week and believe that she should actively seek a deal to remain in the EU’s Single Market. But the EU27 have hardened their collective position since last year’s Brexit referendum, narrowing the UK’s options for avoiding a “hard Brexit.” Following the general election’s hung parliament outcome and the lack of substantial majority for May, the outcome of the Brexit talks remain uncertain.
(Read More)

Juncker: Competition between the EU and NATO is not an option
11 June 2017 – New Europe
The EU is moving to strengthen and coordinate the bloc’s common defense mechanisms, as evidenced by the European Commission’s announcement of three scenarios for deepening EU cooperation in that sector. This move is viewed as a necessity in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s recent visit to NATO’s headquarters in Brussels. Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the Commission, presented his ideas for deeper coordination at the Prague conference on defense and insisted that more EU defense cooperation can be executed without competing with NATO.
(Read More)

Germany, France drafting details of defense fund: German minister
11 June 2017 – Reuters
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen has said in an interview that Germany and France have made progress in drafting specific proposals for an EU defense fund ahead of a bilateral defense meeting next month. Stating that "Europeans must take more responsibility for our own security," von der Leyen said joint efforts could include work on drones, military transports, and stabilization efforts abroad, with Germany and France as the "motor" of a European defense union.
(Read More)

Ukraine hails visa-free travel to European Union
11 June 2017 – BBC
In a symbolic door opening ceremony, Ukrainian President Poroshenko declared the fall of the paper wall between Europe and the Ukraine. Though they have not achieved completely free movement of goods and services, this is a first step in the process of aligning with the EU.
(Read More)

Trump says U.S. is committed to mutual support of NATO allies
10 June 2017 - ABC News
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday that he is “committing the United States to Article 5” of NATO – the alliance’s collective defense commitment. He went on to say: “Certainly we are there to protect, and that’s one of the reasons that I want people to make sure we have a very, very strong force by paying the kind of money necessary to have that force. But yes, absolutely, I’d be committed to Article 5.” European countries and others previously expressed concern when Trump did not mention Article 5 in a speech at NATO headquarters.
(Read More)

UK election: May faces bleak future, tough Brexit process ahead
9 June 2017 – CNBC
Analysts believe that the stage has been set for difficult Brexit negotiations in the wake of Britain’s general election results that point to an erosion of Prime Minister Theresa May’s political leadership. No party gained a clear majority in the election, leaving the UK with a hung parliament. This result has seeded many doubts about May’s political future, with strategists deeming the election an “exercise that backfired on her.”
(Read More)

Slovak leader says wants to take part in deeper EU integration
8 June 2017 – Voice of America
On Wednesday, Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico announced that the country wants to be part of the EU “integration machine” following a push from Germany, France, and Spain for deeper cooperation. This statement greatly contrasts with the euroskeptic stance of other eastern European nations. Fico insisted that more cooperation and integration with stronger EU members would help a smaller country like Slovakia attain higher living standards. He attempted to distance himself from the governments of neighboring Hungary and Poland, which have been critical of EU integration.
(Read More)

Catalonia poised to call referendum on split from Spain
8 June 2017 – Reuters
On Friday, Catalonia’s regional government will call a referendum on independence from Spain. This will renew confrontation with Madrid, which argues that such a vote is unconstitutional. Leaders in the region will set a date for the vote and it is likely to take place after the summer. Previous secessionist challenges from Catalonia were blocked by the conservative Spanish government. Under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, Madrid has the ability to directly intervene in the management of Catalonia’s government, allowing the country to force the region to drop the vote.
(Read More)

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