Beyond the Greek Impasse

By George Friedman The Greek situation — having perhaps outlived the term "crisis," now that it has taken so long to unfold — appears to have finally reached its terminal point. This is, of course, an illusion: It has been at its terminal point for a long time. The terminal point is the juncture where neither … Continue reading Beyond the Greek Impasse

Job not finished for UK economy, OECD says

The United Kingdom’s economy is projected to expand this year and next, but challenges remain to boost productivity and make future growth more inclusive, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Survey. The Survey, presented in London by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and UK Chancellor George Osborne, says that annual growth in the UK rose 2.6% … Continue reading Job not finished for UK economy, OECD says

Germany Emerges

By George Friedman German Chancellor Angela Merkel, accompanied by French President Francois Hollande, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Feb. 6. Then she met with U.S. President Barack Obama on Feb. 9. The primary subject was Ukraine, but the first issue discussed at the news conference following the meeting with Obama was Greece. Greece … Continue reading Germany Emerges

The New Drivers of Europe’s Geopolitics

By George Friedman For the past two weeks, I have focused on the growing fragmentation of Europe. Two weeks ago, the murders in Paris prompted me to write about the fault line between Europe and the Islamic world. Last week, I wrote about the nationalism that is rising in individual European countries after the European Central … Continue reading The New Drivers of Europe’s Geopolitics

George Friedman’s Top Five Events in 2014

By George Friedman 'Tis the season to make lists, and a list shall be made. We tend to see each year as extraordinary, and in some senses, each year is. But in a broader sense, 2014 was merely another year in a long chain of human triumph and misery. Wars have been waged, marvelous things … Continue reading George Friedman’s Top Five Events in 2014

Viewing Russia from the inside

By George Friedman Last week I flew into Moscow, arriving at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 8. It gets dark in Moscow around that time, and the sun doesn't rise until about 10 a.m. at this time of the year — the so-called Black Days versus White Nights. For anyone used to life closer to the … Continue reading Viewing Russia from the inside

What the Fall of the Wall Did Not Change

By George Friedman Twenty-five years ago, a crowd filled with an uneasy mixture of joy and rage tore down the Berlin Wall. There was joy for the end of Germany's partition and the end of tyranny. There was rage against generations of fear. One fear was of communist oppression. The other fear was of the threat … Continue reading What the Fall of the Wall Did Not Change

The Similarities Between Germany and China

By George Friedman I returned last weekend from a monthlong trip to both East Asia and Europe. I discovered three things: First, the Europeans were obsessed with Germany and concerned about Russia. Second, the Asians were obsessed with China and concerned about Japan. Third, visiting seven countries from the Pacific to the Atlantic in 29 … Continue reading The Similarities Between Germany and China

Germany Fights on Two Fronts to Preserve Eurozone

By Adriano Bosoni and Mark Fleming-Williams The European Court of Justice announced Sept. 22 that hearings in the case against the European Central Bank's (ECB) bond-buying scheme known as Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT) will begin Oct. 14. Though the process is likely to be lengthy, with a judgment not due until mid-2015, the ruling will … Continue reading Germany Fights on Two Fronts to Preserve Eurozone

The Origins and Implications of the Scottish Referendum

By George Friedman The idea of Scottish independence has moved from the implausible to the very possible. Whether or not it actually happens, the idea that the union of England and Scotland, which has existed for more than 300 years, could be dissolved has enormous implications in its own right, and significant implications for Europe and … Continue reading The Origins and Implications of the Scottish Referendum

Spain on the road to recovery, says OECD

Spain is emerging from a protracted recession, marked by a return to moderate growth and rising international competitiveness. Decisive banking and fiscal reforms, coupled with supportive monetary policy from the European Central Bank, have reduced financial tensions and improved public finance. But to ensure that the recovery is sustained and unemployment returns to much lower … Continue reading Spain on the road to recovery, says OECD

Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy

By George Friedman The United States is, at the moment, off balance. It faces challenges in the Syria-Iraq theater as well as challenges in Ukraine. It does not have a clear response to either. It does not know what success in either theater would look like, what resources it is prepared to devote to either, nor whether the … Continue reading Ukraine, Iraq and a Black Sea Strategy

Europe’s Malaise: The New Normal?

By George FriedmanRussia and Ukraine continue to confront each other along their border. Iraq has splintered, leading to unabated internal warfare. And the situation in Gaza remains dire. These events should be enough to constitute the sum total of our global crises, but they're not. On top of everything, the German economy contracted by 0.2 percent … Continue reading Europe’s Malaise: The New Normal?

Borderlands: Hungary Maneuvers

By George Friedman I am writing this from Budapest, the city in which I was born. I went to the United States so young that all my memories of Hungary were acquired later in life or through my family, whose memories bridged both world wars and the Cold War, all with their attendant horrors. My … Continue reading Borderlands: Hungary Maneuvers

The U.S. Opts for Ineffective Sanctions on Russia

By George Friedman The United States announced new sanctions on seven Russian government officials April 28. A long-used tactic, sanctions can yield unpredictable effects or have no effect at all, depending upon how they are crafted. It is commonly assumed that sanctions are applied when a target country's actions are deemed unacceptable. The sanctioning nation … Continue reading The U.S. Opts for Ineffective Sanctions on Russia

EU maintained trade surplus with Brazil in 2013

EU28 exports to Brazil in 2012 amounted to 39.7 billion euro and imports to 37.4 bn. The EU28 registered a continuous deficit in trade in goods with Brazil up to 2011, with a peak in 2007, turning to a surplus of 2.3 bn in 2012. The first nine months of 2013 confirm the most recent … Continue reading EU maintained trade surplus with Brazil in 2013

New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

By George Friedman The struggle for some of the most strategic territory in the world took an interesting twist this week. Last week we discussed what appeared to be a significant shift in German national strategy in which Berlin seemed to declare a new doctrine of increased assertiveness in the world -- a shift that followed intense German interest in … Continue reading New Dimensions of U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Russia

OECD admits to forecasting errors during 2008-09 crisis

Extreme volatility during the global financial crisis complicated economic forecasting, leading to large errors that underline the need for better modelling methods and new approaches for making and presenting projections, according to an OECD report. OECD forecasts during and after the financial crisis: a post-mortem says that the Organisation’s economic projections under-predicted the depth of the collapse … Continue reading OECD admits to forecasting errors during 2008-09 crisis

A More Assertive German Foreign Policy

By George Friedman and Marc Lanthemann The Ukrainian crisis is important in itself, but the behavior it has elicited from Germany is perhaps more important. Berlin directly challenged Ukraine's elected president for refusing to tighten relations with the European Union and for mistreating Ukrainians who protested his decision. In challenging President Viktor Yanukovich, Berlin also … Continue reading A More Assertive German Foreign Policy

Perspectives on the Ukrainian Protests

By George Friedman A few months ago, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich was expected to sign some agreements that could eventually integrate Ukraine with the European Union economically. Ultimately, Yanukovich refused to sign the agreements, a decision thousands of his countrymen immediately protested. The demonstrations later evolved, as they often do. Protesters started calling for political … Continue reading Perspectives on the Ukrainian Protests

World Bank warns of emerging markets risks

The world economy is projected to strengthen this year, with growth picking up in developing countries and high-income economies appearing to be finally turning the corner five years after the global financial crisis, says the World Bank’s newly-released Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report. The firming of growth in developing countries is being bolstered by an … Continue reading World Bank warns of emerging markets risks

Three reasons why deflation won’t take hold in the Eurozone

Inflation used to be the main focus for European central bankers’ interest rate policy as prices rose forever upward. Now their main fear as we begin 2014 is the reverse scenario - the risk of deflation. It is potentially a huge problem, as falling prices mean that consumers do not buy goods because they expect them … Continue reading Three reasons why deflation won’t take hold in the Eurozone

Rediscovering the Americas: The World’s 15 Best Countries for Business in 2014

The US, Germany, Poland and Mexico are among next year’s Best Countries for Business. Rotterdam Week in cooperation with Atlantico Business Development (an international consultancy based in Rotterdam) has selected the best 15 markets of 2014/15 for your direct investment or for exporting your products. This is the first edition of a series of articles … Continue reading Rediscovering the Americas: The World’s 15 Best Countries for Business in 2014

Ukraine: On the Edge of Empires

By George Friedman The name "Ukraine" literally translates as "on the edge." It is a country on the edge of other countries, sometimes part of one, sometimes part of another and more frequently divided. In the 17th and 18th centuries, it was divided between Russia, Poland and the Ottoman Empire. In the 19th century, it … Continue reading Ukraine: On the Edge of Empires

Equities set to rise further in 2014

Equities are set to rise further in 2014 after the world returns to normality, with higher global growth and the end of easy money in the US. These are the key predictions of Robeco’s Chief Economist Léon Cornelissen in his outlook for markets next year. Stocks are Robeco’s preferred asset class for 2014, although returns … Continue reading Equities set to rise further in 2014

Will a cabinet reshuffle save the Polish government?

By Remi Adekoya Prime Minister Donald Tusk has seen his popularity tank in recent months. The party he leads, Civic Platform (PO), is hardly in better shape. The latest TNS Polska poll showed the ruling party trailing its biggest rival opposition Law and Justice by 9 percentage points. Recent weeks have seen financial scandals come … Continue reading Will a cabinet reshuffle save the Polish government?

Global economy still recovering at moderate pace but more risks ahead

The global economy is expected to continue expanding at a moderate pace over the coming two years, but policymakers must ensure that instability in financial markets and underlying fragility in some major economies are not allowed to derail growth, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Outlook. Growth in the United States is projected at a … Continue reading Global economy still recovering at moderate pace but more risks ahead

ECB improves climate for equities

The surprise but welcome rate cut by the European Central Bank (ECB) has improved the climate for equities, says Robeco’s portfolio manager for Global Allocations. The rally in share prices driven by extra liquidity from monetary easing throughout this year is likely to continue, Lukas Daalder believes.  As a result, Robeco Asset Allocation has increased … Continue reading ECB improves climate for equities

EU citizens pay 20 times too much for traffic noise reduction

Until 2017, European governments will be spending  125 billion euros for noise barriers, quieter roads and measures related to the negative effects of traffic noise, including damage to health. However, by simply making cars quieter, the total cost to the taxpayer could be reduced by a factor of twenty. All the more remarkable, then, that … Continue reading EU citizens pay 20 times too much for traffic noise reduction

Details of the EU-Canada trade deal

Canada and the European Union last Friday reached a political agreement on the key elements of a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) after months of intense negotiations between EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht and Canadian trade Minister Ed Fast. It will be the first free trade agreement between the European Union and a G8 … Continue reading Details of the EU-Canada trade deal

Top 100 EU regulations cost the UK economy £27.4 billion a year

EU leaders will meet in Brussels this week to discuss ways to improve growth and competitiveness across Europe. Ahead of this meeting, Open Europe has published a list of the 100 most costly EU regulations to the UK economy. Using data from the UK Government’s impact assessments of these rules, Open Europe estimates that the top … Continue reading Top 100 EU regulations cost the UK economy £27.4 billion a year

Japan, C Europe show fastest employment growth

The OECD area employment rate – defined as the share of people of working-age who are employed – was 65.1% in the second quarter of 2013, 0.1 percentage point higher than in the previous quarter. This was still 1.4 percentage points below the level recorded in the second quarter of 2008, the quarter preceding the … Continue reading Japan, C Europe show fastest employment growth

Emerging Europe and Central Asia on the rebound

Economic growth in the Emerging Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region suffered during the global financial and Eurozone crises but has started to rebound, with projected modest growth rates of 2.2. percent in 2013 and 3.1 percent in 2014, World Bank officials said at a press briefing during the 2013 World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings. However, … Continue reading Emerging Europe and Central Asia on the rebound

Economic Sentiment rises further in both the euro area and the EU

In September the Economic Sentiment Indicator (ESI) increased by 1.6 points in the euro area (to 96.9) and 2.4 points in the EU (to 100.6). The sharp increase in the EU brought the indicator above its long-term average for the first time since July 2011. The Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) … Continue reading Economic Sentiment rises further in both the euro area and the EU

Russia: Structural Challenges to Growth Become Binding

Slowdown in consumption, stalled investment demand, and a continuing weak external environment led to the downward revision of the World Bank’s May growth projection for Russia from 2.3 percent to 1.8 percent in 2013. Despite the observed slowdown, the Russian economy is projected to accelerate to 3.1 percent growth in 2014, says the World Bank’s … Continue reading Russia: Structural Challenges to Growth Become Binding

The U.S.-European Relationship, Then and Now

By George Friedman I am writing this from Greece, having spent the past week in Europe and having moved among various capitals. Most discussions I've had in my travels concern U.S. President Barack Obama's failure to move decisively against Syria and how Russian President Vladimir Putin outmatched him. Of course, the Syrian intervention had many … Continue reading The U.S.-European Relationship, Then and Now

Is Angela Merkel’s victory a pyrrhic one?

By Arnout Nuijt Yes, Federal Chancellor Mrs Angela Merkel’s CDU-CSU alliance won an astounding victory in Germany’s federal elections on Sunday September 22nd and that is exactly her problem now. Her party failed to win an absolute majority in the Bundestag by a narrow margin. Much worse, her preferred coalition partner, the liberal FDP, was … Continue reading Is Angela Merkel’s victory a pyrrhic one?

German voters say next German chancellor should back efforts to devolve EU powers to member states

Open Europe and Open Europe Berlin have published the second part of a poll looking at German voters’ views on Europe ahead of the country’s elections on 22 September. The poll, conducted by YouGov Deutschland, shows that there’s considerable support in Germany for slimming down the EU. Of 13 national and European institutions tested, Germans … Continue reading German voters say next German chancellor should back efforts to devolve EU powers to member states

Why the German elections are unlikely to fundamentally alter eurozone policy

Open Europe has published an in-depth analysis of the German federal elections, to be held on 22 September, as the second part of its three part series covering German sentiment on Europe. Open Europe predicts possible coalition outcomes for the new government, and provide a detailed investigation of German party positions on key aspects of … Continue reading Why the German elections are unlikely to fundamentally alter eurozone policy

What should we do with the Benelux?

By Arnout Nuijt On the last day of the previous year an interesting bit of news floated around in the Low Countries, but it may have been lost in the loud bangs of the New Year’s Eve celebrations. According to Luc Willems, deputy secretary-general of the Benelux Union, the Benelux would like to see a … Continue reading What should we do with the Benelux?