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What We're Watching: "Illiberals" veto EU budget, Bangladesh's all-female cop unit, Armenian PM in trouble

EU budget in peril: The European Union now faces an unexpected budget crisis after Hungary and Poland vetoed the bloc's 1.8 trillion euro ($2.14 trillion) spending proposal that will help steer the bloc's pandemic recovery, and fund the Union through 2027. Budapest and Warsaw balked after the EU included a provision that made disbursement of funds contingent on respecting EU rule-of-law norms — including on issues like judicial independence and human rights — which both countries vehemently oppose. The twin veto came as a surprise for many in Brussels, which had recently compromised on this issue by agreeing to only cut funding if the rule-of-law threat directly affects how EU money is spent, and if a simple majority of member states approve. Those terms were seen as narrow enough for Budapest and Warsaw to accept, but the EU's two "illiberal" states are playing hardball. We're watching to see how long Hungary and Poland — which often flout EU democratic norms — are willing to hold the EU budget hostage, or if the bloc will cave to their demands in order to release 750 billion euros in coronavirus relief funds that other member states are desperate to get their hands on.

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Armenia-Azerbaijan cease fire holds; Europe's immense relief about US election

Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden, shares his perspective on Europe In 60 Seconds:

What's the nature of the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace deal and will it last?

First, it's not really a peace. It's a cease fire that is guaranteed by Russian forces. And those Russian forces are going to be there for additionally five years and then perhaps an additional five years. The question is, will there be a real peace agreement during that particular time period? That remains to be seen. But no one is going to attack the Russian forces. As such, it has ceased the fighting. That's good.

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Trump's choices depend on money & leverage; COVID vaccine news is a big deal

Ian Bremmer shares his perspective on global politics on this week's World In (More Than) 60 Seconds:

Number one, Trump will not concede the election. What happens now?

Well, it's very different from impeachment. When impeachment happened, all the Republicans opposed it. Mitt Romney get one conviction, but otherwise, it was party line. And the social media, Fox news, OANN, all these guys, everyone said "innocent." This is a different story. Here's one where Trump isn't conceding, but actually, the Republicans are all over the map. We've got several Republican senators already that have called to congratulate Biden on his win. I know four have done so as of this morning.

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Most world leaders hope for Biden victory; Amy Coney Barrett sworn in

Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

One week before the US election. What do other world leaders want to happen?

Well, I mean, let's face it. Outside the United States, most of the world's leaders would prefer to see the back of Trump. An America first policy was not exactly made for non-Americans. That was not the intended demographic audience. Trump doesn't really care. In fact, to a degree, it's kind of a selling point that a lot of foreign leaders don't want Trump. It's showing that Trump is strong in negotiations and indeed is doing better for the American people.

That's largely BS, but occasionally it's true. I mean, his willingness to use American power to force the Mexican government to actually tighten up on Mexico's Southern border and stop immigration from coming through. AMLO would have much rather that not have happened, but the fact that it did was an America first policy, that rebounded to the benefits of the United States. And there are other examples of that. But generally speaking, it would be better for the US long-term, and for the world, if we had more harmonious, smoother relations with other countries around the world, certainly pretty much all the Europeans would much rather see Trump lose. The United Kingdom is the significant exception given the nature of Brexit, and the fact that Trump has been in favor of that, like being called Mr. Brexit by five or six Brits or however many did.

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Armenia-Azerbaijan ceasefire may not hold but direct war is unlikely

Ian Bremmer shares his insights on this week's World In (More Than) 60 Seconds:

Let's go. Number one. What are the chances the Armenia-Azerbaijan ceasefire holds?

Well, I mean, in this environment, a hold is virtually zero. There's very little restraint on the ground. Local, military leaders, especially in the autonomous region of Karabakh, aren't necessarily listening to everything that the Armenian government has to say. One shot, one drone leads to more. And, there is no process by which the Armenians and the Azeri leadership can say that, "They're winning, yet." And so, that makes it hard. But the fact that the Russians are engaging, we had trilateral talks with the Armenians and the Azeris, the Russians matter the most here. They're the ones that have ensured, some level of frozen instability between the two. There's been significant behind the scene's engagement in Moscow with diplomats, from both sides. And, I think the Russians have made very clear to the Turks at this point, that the Turks are not going to get a leadership seat in the Minsk group, broader negotiations. And, that the Russians would not tolerate a broader expansion of the war that threatened Armenian territorial integrity itself, as opposed to Nagorno-Karabakh. If they were to do that, the Russians would come in and defend Armenia. So, a lot of people are dying, certainly in the high hundreds, at this point. We've got nearly a hundred thousand additional people displaced. This is a horrible thing to see happen, but it's not the tipping point of war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

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