About: The Brief

Europe's East 24-05-2022

The Brief – Demoralising is ugly, not delivering is worse

Why do some European leaders keep saying that it may take decades before Ukraine can join the EU? Out of a pure sense of self-preservation.
Enlargement 23-05-2022

The Brief – Russia’s hub in the heart of Europe

The European Union has gone to great lengths to sanction Russia over its military aggression against Ukraine and the war crimes committed there. Some of the sanctions are very painful for EU countries, as many of them depend on Russian...
Politics 20-05-2022

The Brief – Borrell gets his hearing for the defence

When the EU’s chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, concluded the bloc’s first defence policy review, more than 18 months ago, he warned that “European defence suffers from fragmentation, duplication and insufficient operational engagement.”
Europe's East 19-05-2022

The Brief – The fall of Azov

The surrender of the Azov battalion in Mariupol is a milestone in Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. In terms of what will follow, there are two options.
Global Europe 18-05-2022

The Brief – ‘Neutral’ Europe dwindles

Almost 80 years after the end of World War Two, Europe's club of 'neutral' or non-aligned countries appears doomed to shrink due to Russia's war in Ukraine.
Politics 17-05-2022

The Brief – The new German triumvirate

The traditional “big tent parties” in Germany are the conservative CDU/CSU and the old lady SPD. For the longest time, the German political system was bipolar, with the liberal FDP often playing kingmaker with less than 10% of the votes.
Global Europe 16-05-2022

The Brief – Is Putin a CIA asset?

According to Russian propaganda, Gorbachev and Yeltsin were CIA agents tasked with destroying the USSR. This narrative, although debunked by the EU’s foreign affairs service, still holds in parts of Russian society; the last President of the USSR and the first...
Politics 13-05-2022

The Brief – Treaty change

The public remarks made by a group of EU leaders, including Ursula von der Leyen, Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz, hinting at "the need to reform" the bloc have suddenly given life to the idea of a new EU treaty that would have been very unlikely just a few months ago.
Enlargement 12-05-2022

The Brief – The cost of not solving the Bulgarian veto

Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine is reshaping how the EU conducts its enlargement policy. That will put additional pressure on Bulgaria to lift its veto on neighbouring North Macedonia's EU accession negotiations.
Global Europe 11-05-2022

The Brief – Don’t count on Mercron II

For all the talk about the so-called Franco-German axis, Russia's war on Ukraine has hardly seen German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron emerge as a 'power couple'. At best, they are an uneven tandem.
Politics 10-05-2022

The Brief – Why Eurovision matters

This year it will be remarkably tough to keep politics separate from the running of the world’s most-followed singing contest – and that is also why EURACTIV is stepping in with dedicated coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC).
Europe's East 09-05-2022

The Brief – Why Putin cannot win

Vladimir Putin’s 9 May speech was highly anticipated. The general expectation was that he would double down on his war effort in Ukraine and sternly warn the West against further interference in what Russia considers its backyard.
Politics 06-05-2022

The Brief – An unfinished revolution

Few would deny that the European Parliament elections are, essentially, a set of 27 national elections. After more than forty years of direct Parliament elections, much as EU federalists might like the reality to be otherwise, there is no European political space.
Global Europe 05-05-2022

The Brief – What will Putin celebrate on 9 May?

For those who don’t know Russia well, we should start by saying that in that country, 9 May is elevated to a sort of religious extravaganza, like  Easter and Christmas wrapped into one.
Europe's East 04-05-2022

The Brief – Life after Putin

The war in Ukraine will end at some point, but the way Europe diplomatically deals with Russia will never be the same again.
Politics 03-05-2022

The Brief – A turtle’s turnaround

Observing Germany’s policies towards Ukraine and Russia is like trying to watch grass grow. Staring at it with the naked eye, no movement is to be seen, but if you look away and come back later, a lot has happened - it just took place painstakingly slowly.
Europe's East 02-05-2022

The Brief – Is the EU at war with Putin?

Helping Ukraine against the aggressor is a duty for all Europeans but there is a fine line between assisting Kyiv and waging war by proxy against Vladimir Putin, who has a nuclear button.
Elections 29-04-2022

The Brief – Time to unite the French left

Concerns about the fragmentation of the French left may look worrying, but it's nothing new. The signs have been there for quite some time.  
Global Europe 28-04-2022

The Brief – The worst job in the world

We all thought the job of the UN secretary-general was the ultimate achievement for a senior diplomat with a flawless reputation and outstanding international career. But the body language of Antonio Guterres during his meeting with Vladimir Putin suggests otherwise - that he, in fact, may have the worst job in the world.
Politics 27-04-2022

The Brief – En Marche, in reverse

Between a high rate of abstention and a vote "against the far-right", is Emmanuel Macron really "the worst elected president of the Fifth Republic", as his far-left opponent Jean-Luc Mélenchon quipped on election night? 
Politics 26-04-2022

The Brief – Why Berlin’s leadership is in decline

The war in Ukraine is painfully exposing the decline of German leadership in Europe. Once referred to as the European ‘hegemon’ during the euro crisis, Berlin is now showing hesitance and indecisiveness instead of leading Europe through what could be described as the crisis of the century.
Europe's East 25-04-2022

The Brief – Getting ready for a long war

On 24 February, Russia invaded Ukraine. The next day, EU leaders gathered for an extraordinary summit. At that time, they thought the war would only last a few days... This seems like ancient history now.
Elections 22-04-2022

The Brief – (Don’t) look up

On 21 April 2002, I was 18 years old and my friends and I were about to vote for the very first time. And not just in any election, we were going to vote in the presidential election.

The Brief – A brief guide to nuclear anxiety

Those who read this text have survived COVID and COVID anxiety. The pandemic is no longer such a threat but there is a new malady on the horizon: nuclear anxiety.