GZERO Media logo

Crunch Time in Europe

Crunch Time in Europe

Late last week, Germany’s two largest parties reached a preliminary agreement to form a new government, presenting a possible breakthrough in the country’s worst political crisis in decades. While the agreement between Chancellor Merkel’s CDU and the center-left SPD still faces serious hurdles, a successful deal would end an unusual period of uncertainty in German politics and create new momentum behind French-led efforts to further integrate Europe.


Two key questions to consider:

  • Would a new Grand Coalition be good for Germany? The country’s two largest parties — the SPD and CDU — have held the reins of power in a so-called “Grand Coalition” for 8 of the past 12 years. Bringing the center-right and center-left together provides stability and consensus, but can they deliver on an ambitious agenda that will reverse the historic electoral gains of the country’s far-right and renew faith in the value of the European project? A majority of Germans (55%) are skeptical.
  • What would another Grand Coalition mean for Europe? French President Emmanuel Macron has put forth a set of bold proposals to deepen European economic and financial integration by creating an EU finance minister and a joint budget for the eurozone, the bloc of 19 countries that use the euro as their currency. Macron can only succeed if he has a stable and willing partner in Berlin. While momentum has shifteddecidedly in his favor, time is of the essence–elections for the European parliament are slated for early 2019, and voters will want to see progress.

In 2017, the European Union dodged several existential crises that risked undermining the bloc’s future–from the influx of millions of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa to the historic performance of the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in France.

The Merkel-Macron axis represents a unique opportunity to push back against populist, anti-establishment parties and to demonstrate that the European Union can benefit all of its members. Progress depends on what happens next in its least expected source of instability–Germany.

Khant Thaw Htoo is a young engineer who works in Eni's Sakura Tower office in the heart of Yangon. As an HSE engineer, he monitors the safety and environmental impact of onshore and offshore operations. He also looks out for his parents' well-being, in keeping with Myanmar's traditions.

Learn more about Khant in the final episode of the Faces of Eni series, which focuses on Eni's employees around the world.

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a remarkable series of executive orders. Boom! The US rejoins the Paris Climate Accord. Bang! The United States rejoins the World Health Organization. Pow! No more ban on immigration from many Muslim-majority countries. Biden's press secretary reminded reporters later in the day that all these orders merely begin complex processes that take time, but the impact is still dramatic.

If you lead a country allied with the US, or you're simply hoping for some specific commitment or clear and credible statement of purpose from the US government, you might feel a little dizzy today. The sight of an American president (Barack Obama) signing his name, of the next president (Donald Trump) erasing that name from the same legislation/bill, and then the following president (Biden) signing it back into law again will raise deep concerns over the long-term reliability of the world's still-most-powerful nation.

More Show less

Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no doubt that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

"There needs to be a dramatic and deep reduction in the amount of debt on the poorest countries. That's clear." As the world's poorest nations struggle to recover from a devastating pandemic, World Bank President David Malpass argues that freeing them of much of their debt will be key. His conversation with Ian Bremmer is part of the latest episode of GZERO World.

Listen: Renowned tech journalist Kara Swisher has no qualms about saying that social media companies bear responsibility for the January 6th pro-Trump riots at the Capitol and will likely be complicit in the civil unrest that may continue well into Biden's presidency. It's no surprise, she argues, that the online rage that platforms like Facebook and Twitter intentionally foment translated into real-life violence. But if Silicon Valley's current role in our national discourse is untenable, how can the US government rein it in? That, it turns out, is a bit more complicated. Swisher joins Ian Bremmer on our podcast.

The GZERO World Podcast with Ian Bremmer. Listen now.

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal