46


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Partidul Liberal din Germania * Freie Demokratische Partei
Parlamentare – Germania: 06.03.1983, 25.01.1987, 02.12.1990, 16.10.1994, 27.00.1998, 22.09.2002, 18.09.2005, 27.09.2009
Parlamentare – Republica Democrata Germania: 18.03.1990
Regionale – Renania de Nordwestfalia: 12.05.1985, 13.05.1990, 14.05.1995, 14.05.2000, 22.05.2005, 09.05.2010, 13.05.2012
Locale – Köln: 30.09.1984, 01.10.1989, 16.10.1994, 12.09.1999, 03.09.2000, 26.09.2004, 30.09.2009
Europarlamentare – Germania: 17.06.1984, 18.06.1989, 12.06.1994, 13.06.1999, 13.06.2004, 07.06.2009
Consiliul Consultativ al Migrantilor din Köln: 07.02.2010
Partidul National Liberal * Nationalliberale Partei
Parlamentare – Romania – Colegiul 43: 20.05.1990, 27.09.1992, 03.11.1996, 26.11.2000, 28.11.2004, 30.11.2008
Prezidentiale – Romania – Colegiul 43: 20.05.1990, 27.09./11.10.1992, 03.11./17.11.1996, 26.11./10.12.2000, 28.11./12.12.2004, 22.12./06.12.2009
Europarlamentare – Romania – Colegiul 43: 25.11.2007, 07.06.2009
Referenduri prezidentiale – Colegiul 43: 19.05.2007, 29.07.2012

Stratfor.com: „Russia’s Plan to Disrupt U.S.-European Relations”

Sursa informationala: Stratfor.com
Autor: Lauren Goodrich

Tensions between the United States and Russia have risen in the past month over several long-standing problems, including ballistic missile defense (BMD) and supply lines into Afghanistan. Moscow and Washington also appear to be nearing another crisis involving Russian accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The crises come as Washington struggles over its many commitments in the world and over whether to focus on present events in Afghanistan or future events in Central Europe. Russia has exploited the U.S. dilemma, using its leverage in both arenas. However, if Moscow takes its aggressive moves too far, it could spark a backlash from the United States and Central Europe.

The Persisting Disagreement over BMD

The U.S. BMD scheme for Europe has long been a source of U.S.-Russian tensions. Washington argues that its European BMD program aims to counter threats emerging from the Middle East, namely Iran, but its missile defense installations in Romania and Poland are not slated to become operational until 2015 and 2018, respectively, by which time Russia believes the United States will have resolved its issues with Iran. Moscow thus sees U.S. missile defense strategy as more about the United States seeking to contain Russia than about Iran. Moscow does not fear that the United States is seeking to neutralize or erode Russia’s nuclear deterrent, however; the issue is the establishment of a physical U.S. military footprint in those two states — which in turn means a U.S. commitment there. Romania and Poland border the former Soviet Union, a region where Russia is regaining influence.

Russia previously pressured key states in the Bush-era BMD scheme, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, to reconsider acceding to such plans. This assertiveness peaked with its 2008 invasion of Georgia, which both proved that Moscow was willing to take military action and exposed the limits of U.S. security guarantees in the region. The Russian move in Georgia gave the Central Europeans much to think about, prompting some attempts to appease the Kremlin. Still, these states did not abandon all faith in the United States as a strategic counter to Russia.

Russia has since shifted its BMD strategy. Instead of categorically opposing the plan, Moscow proposed a cooperative, integrated scheme. The Kremlin reasoned that if Iran and other non-Russian threats were the real reason for expanding missile defense, then Russian involvement — which would strengthen the West’s defenses — would be welcomed. Russia’s BMD capabilities span the Eurasian continent, though their practical utility to and compatibility with U.S. systems is questionable. This plan was seen as a way to take a more conciliatory approach with the same end goal: blocking the placement of U.S. troops in Eastern Europe.

The United States and most of NATO refused Russia’s proposals, however, leaving the door open for the Kremlin to introduce a new defense strategy, which Russian President Dmitri Medvedev outlined Nov. 23. Medvedev emphasized that Russia had exercised the “political will” to open a fundamentally new chapter in relations with the United States and NATO, only to have the United States spurn the offer. U.S. resistance to Russian inclusion in the BMD system forced Moscow to make other arrangements to counter U.S. plans in Central Europe — precisely the outcome it had hoped for.

Medvedev also said that if the United States continues to refuse BMD cooperation with Russia, Moscow would carry out plans for the deployment of the Iskander mobile short-range ballistic missiles and the activation of an early-warning radar system in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea that borders NATO members Poland and Lithuania. He said Russia also would consider the deployment of other Iskander systems, particularly along his country’s western and southern borders, and would hasten to fit its ballistic missiles with advanced maneuverable re-entry vehicles and penetration aids, a process that has long been under way. The prospect of Russian strategic weapons targeting BMD facilities was also raised. Medvedev added that more measures could be implemented to “neutralize the European component of the U.S. missile defense system,” concluding that all these steps could be avoided in favor of a new era of partnership between the United States and Russia if Washington so desired.

The U.S. Dilemma

The United States was expected to respond to Russia’s renewed strategy during the Dec. 8 meeting between NATO and Russian foreign ministers in Brussels. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton avoided doing so, however, reiterating that the BMD scheme was about Iran, not Russia. Clinton’s move highlights the dangerous U.S. position with regard to Russia. Washington has no intention of abandoning its commitment to Central Europe in the face of a resurging Russia, but commitments elsewhere in the world may prevent the United States from resisting Russia in the short term.

At present, Washington is struggling to halt the deterioration of relations with Pakistan, which have reached a new low after a U.S. helicopter strike on the Afghan-Pakistani border killed some two dozen Pakistani servicemen. After the strike, the Pakistanis forbade the shipment of fuel and supplies for the NATO-led war effort in Afghanistan across the Pakistani border, leaving the United States and its allies wholly dependent on the Northern Distribution Network, at least temporarily. Moscow used this as an opportunity to remind Washington that it could cut this alternative route, leaving NATO and the United States in a catastrophic position in Afghanistan — a move tied directly to Russia’s negotiations over missile defense.

While Russia has used previous threats against U.S. interests, such as increased support for Iran, as leverage in its BMD negotiations, its present threat marks a new dynamic. Washington called Moscow’s bluff on its threatened support for Iran, knowing Russia also did not want a strong Iran. But it cannot so easily dismiss the specter of interrupted supplies into Afghanistan, as this puts more than 130,000 U.S. and allied troops in a vulnerable position. Consequently, the United States must work to mitigate the BMD situation.

American Olive Branch or New Crisis?

In recent months, the United States has cultivated one potential olive branch to defuse short-term tensions. Previously, there was little the United States could offer Russia short of abandoning U.S. strategy in Central Europe. When tensions escalated in 2009 and 2010, the United States offered to facilitate large economic deals with Russia that included modernization and investment in strategic sectors, mainly information technology, space and energy. Since Russia had just launched its sister programs of modernization and privatization, it jumped on the proposal, reducing tensions and eventually joining U.S. initiatives such as sanctions against Iran. Now, the United States is extending another carrot: WTO membership.

Russia has sought WTO membership for 18 years. Even though it has the 10th largest economy in the world, it has failed to win accession to the 153-member body. Though the country’s extreme economic policies have given members plenty of reason to exclude Russia, the main barriers of late have been political. For its part, Moscow cares little about the actual economic benefits of WTO membership. The benefits it seeks are political, as being excluded from the WTO made it look like an economically backward country (though its exclusion has given it a convenient excuse to rail against the United States and Georgia).

As Russia sorted through its economic disputes with most WTO members, Georgia alone continued to block its bid because of the Russian occupation of the disputed Georgian territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. In recent months, Georgia has dropped its opposition under U.S. pressure — pressure that originated from Washington’s need for something to offer the Russians. With all obstacles cleared, the WTO should approve Russia’s candidacy Dec. 15-16, apparently giving the United States the olive branch it sought.

Unfortunately for the United States, however, once Russia is voted in, each member-state must “recognize” Russia as a member. No WTO members, not even Georgia, have indicated that they intend to deny Russia recognition. But there is one country that cannot legally recognize Russian membership: the United States.

The United States still has a Soviet-era provision in federal law called the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which bars trade relations with certain countries guilty of human rights violations (namely, the Soviet Union). The measure continued to apply to Russia after the Soviet collapse, though every U.S. president has waived its provisions by decree since 1992. Only Congress can overturn it, however, and until it does so, the United States cannot recognize Russia as a WTO member.

The White House has called for the provision’s immediate repeal, but with Congress and the White House divided over so many issues, it seems unlikely the issue will be resolved swiftly — if at all — under the current Congress and presidency. This gives Russia another opportunity to increase U.S.-Russian tensions. Indeed, Moscow could noisily decry the insult of the United States making Russian WTO accession possible only to derail it.

Balancing Crisis and Strategy

Just how many crises in U.S.-Russian relations does Moscow want, and what is its goal? Moscow’s strategy involves using these crises with the United States to create uncertainty in Central Europe and to make the Europeans uncomfortable over perceptions that the United States has forced Russia to act the way it is acting. Thus, it is not a break between Russia and the United States that Moscow seeks but a break between Europe and the United States.

Indications are emerging that the Central Europeans are in fact growing nervous, particularly following Medvedev’s new defense strategy announcement. With the United States not responding to the renewed Russian aggression, many Europeans may be forgiven for wondering if the United States is planning to trade its relationship with Central Europe in the short term to ensure the supply lines via Russia into Afghanistan remain open. It is not that the Central Europeans want a warmer relationship with Russia, only that they may feel a need to hedge their relationship with the United States. This was seen this past week with Poland announcing it would be open to discussions with Russia over missile defense (albeit within the paradigm of separate BMD systems), and with the Czech Republic, a previous American missile defense partner, signing multibillion-dollar economic deals with Russia.

But with more opportunities arising for Russia to escalate tensions with the United States, Moscow must avoid triggering a massive crisis and rupture in relations. Should Russia go too far in its bid to create an uncomfortable situation for the Europeans, it could cause a strong European backlash against Russia and a unilateral unification with the United States on regional security issues. And it is in Russia’s interest to refrain from actually disrupting the Northern Distribution Network; Moscow is seeking to avoid both complications in the Afghan theater that could hurt Russian interests (one of which is keeping the United States tied down in Afghanistan) and a strong U.S. response in a number of other areas. Moscow must execute its strategy with precision to keep the United States caught between many commitments and Europe off balance — a complex balancing act for the Kremlin.

Stratfor.com: „The Divided States of Europe”

Text+analiza+grafica+sursa informationala: Stratfor.com

Autor: Marco Papic

Europe continues to be engulfed by economic crisis.  The global focus returns to Athens on June 28 as Greek parliamentarians debate austerity measures imposed on them by eurozone partners. If the Greeks vote down these measures, Athens will not receive its second bailout, which could create an even worse crisis in Europe and the world.

It is important to understand that the crisis is not fundamentally about Greece or even about the indebtedness of the entire currency bloc. After all, Greece represents only 2.5 percent of the eurozone’s gross domestic product (GDP), and the bloc’s fiscal numbers are not that bad when looked at in the aggregate. Its overall deficit and debt figures are in a better shape than those of the United States — the U.S. budget deficit stood at 10.6 percent of GDP in 2010, compared to 6.4 percent for the European Union — yet the focus continues to be on Europe.

That is because the real crisis is the more fundamental question of how the European continent is to be ruled in the 21st century. Europe has emerged from its subservience during the Cold War, when it was the geopolitical chessboard for the Soviet Union and the United States. It won its independence by default as the superpowers retreated: Russia withdrawing to its Soviet sphere of influence and the United States switching its focus to the Middle East after 9/11. Since the 1990s, Europe has dabbled with institutional reform but has left the fundamental question of political integration off the table, even as it integrated economically. This is ultimately the source of the current sovereign debt crisis, the lack of political oversight over economic integration gone wrong.

The eurozone’s economic crisis brought this question of Europe’s political fate into focus, but it is a recurring issue. Roughly every 100 years, Europe confronts this dilemma. The Continent suffers from overpopulation — of nations, not people. Europe has the largest concentration of independent nation-states per square foot than any other continent. While Africa is larger and has more countries, no continent has as many rich and relatively powerful countries as Europe does. This is because, geographically, the Continent is riddled with features that prevent the formation of a single political entity. Mountain ranges, peninsulas and islands limit the ability of large powers to dominate or conquer the smaller ones. No single river forms a unifying river valley that can dominate the rest of the Continent. The Danube comes close, but it drains into the practically landlocked Black Sea, the only exit from which is another practically landlocked sea, the Mediterranean. This limits Europe’s ability to produce an independent entity capable of global power projection.

However, Europe does have plenty of rivers, convenient transportation routes and well-sheltered harbors. This allows for capital generation at a number of points on the Continent, such as Vienna, Paris, London, Frankfurt, Rotterdam, Milan, Turin and Hamburg. Thus, while large armies have trouble physically pushing through the Continent and subverting various nations under one rule, ideas, capital, goods and services do not. This makes Europe rich (the Continent has at least the equivalent GDP of the United States, and it could be larger depending how one calculates it).

What makes Europe rich, however, also makes it fragmented. The current political and security architectures of Europe — the EU and NATO — were encouraged by the United States in order to unify the Continent so that it could present a somewhat united front against the Soviet Union. They did not grow organically out of the Continent. This is a problem because Moscow is no longer a threat for all European countries, Germany and France see Russia as a business partner and European states are facing their first true challenge to Continental governance, with fragmentation and suspicion returning in full force. Closer unification and the creation of some sort of United States of Europe seems like the obvious solution to the problems posed by the eurozone sovereign debt crisis — although the eurozone’s problems are many and not easily solved just by integration, and Europe’s geography and history favor fragmentation.

Confederation of Europe

The European Union is a confederation of states that outsources day-to-day management of many policy spheres to a bureaucratic arm (the European Commission) and monetary policy to the European Central Bank. The important policy issues, such as defense, foreign policy and taxation, remain the sole prerogatives of the states. The states still meet in various formats to deal with these problems. Solutions to the Greek, Irish and Portuguese fiscal problems are agreed upon by all eurozone states on an ad hoc basis, as is participation in the Libyan military campaign within the context of the European Union. Every important decision requires that the states meet and reach a mutually acceptable solution, often producing non-optimal outcomes that are products of compromise.

The best analogy for the contemporary European Union is found not in European history but in American history. This is the period between the successful Revolutionary War in 1783 and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1788. Within that five-year period, the United States was governed by a set of laws drawn up in the Articles of the Confederation. The country had no executive, no government, no real army and no foreign policy. States retained their own armies and many had minor coastal navies. They conducted foreign and trade policy independent of the wishes of the Continental Congress, a supranational body that had less power than even the European Parliament of today (this despite Article VI of the Articles of Confederation, which stipulated that states would not be able to conduct independent foreign policy without the consent of Congress). Congress was supposed to raise funds from the states to fund such things as a Continental Army, pay benefits to the veterans of the Revolutionary War and pay back loans that European powers gave Americans during the war against the British. States, however, refused to give Congress money, and there was nothing anybody could do about it. Congress was forced to print money, causing the Confederation’s currency to become worthless.

With such a loose confederation set-up, the costs of the Revolutionary War were ultimately unbearable for the fledgling nation. The reality of the international system, which pitted the new nation against aggressive European powers looking to subvert America’s independence, soon engulfed the ideals of states’ independence and limited government. Social, economic and security burdens proved too great for individual states to contain and a powerless Congress to address.

Nothing brought this reality home more than a rebellion in Western Massachusetts led by Daniel Shays in 1787. Shays’ Rebellion was, at its heart, an economic crisis. Burdened by European lenders calling for repayment of America’s war debt, the states’ economies collapsed and with them the livelihoods of many rural farmers, many of whom were veterans of the Revolutionary War who had been promised benefits. Austerity measures — often in the form of land confiscation — were imposed on the rural poor to pay off the European creditors. Shays’ Rebellion was put down without the help of the Continental Congress essentially by a local Massachusetts militia acting without any real federal oversight. The rebellion was defeated, but America’s impotence was apparent for all to see, both foreign and domestic.

An economic crisis, domestic insecurity and constant fear of a British counterattack — Britain had not demobilized forts it held on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes — impressed upon the independent-minded states that a “more perfect union” was necessary. Thus the United States of America, as we know it today, was formed. States gave up their rights to conduct foreign policy, to set trade policies independent of each other and to withhold funds from the federal government. The United States set up an executive branch with powers to wage war and conduct foreign policy, as well as a legislature that could no longer be ignored. In 1794, the government’s response to the so-called Whiskey Rebellion in western Pennsylvania showed the strength of the federal arrangement, in stark contrast to the Continental Congress’ handling of Shays’ Rebellion. Washington dispatched an army of more than 10,000 men to suppress a few hundred distillers refusing to pay a new whiskey tax to fund the national debt, thereby sending a clear message of the new government’s overwhelming fiscal, political and military power.

When examining the evolution of the American Confederation into the United States of America, one can find many parallels with the European Union, among others a weak center, independent states, economic crisis and over-indebtedness. The most substantial difference between the United States in the late 18th century and Europe in the 21st century is the level of external threat. In 1787, Shays’ Rebellion impressed upon many Americans — particularly George Washington, who was irked by the crisis — just how weak the country was. If a band of farmers could threaten one of the strongest states in the union, what would the British forces still garrisoned on American soil and in Quebec to the north be able to do? States could independently muddle through the economic crisis, but they could not prevent a British counterattack or protect their merchant fleet against Barbary pirates. America could not survive another such mishap and such a wanton display of military and political impotence.

To America’s advantage, the states all shared similar geography as well as similar culture and language. Although they had different economic policies and interests, all of them ultimately depended upon seaborne Atlantic trade. The threat that such trade would be choked off by a superior naval force — or even by North African pirates — was a clear and present danger. The threat of British counterattack from the north may not have been an existential threat to the southern states, but they realized that if New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were lost, the South might preserve some nominal independence but would quickly revert to de facto colonial status.

In Europe, there is no such clarity of what constitutes a threat. Even though there is a general sense — at least among the governing elites — that Europeans share economic interests, it is very clear that their security interests are not complementary. There is no agreed-upon perception of an external threat. For Central European states that only recently became European Union and NATO members, Russia still poses a threat. They have asked NATO (and even the European Union) to refocus on the European continent and for the alliance to reassure them of its commitment to their security. In return, they have seen France selling advanced helicopter carriers to Russia and Germany building an advanced military training center in Russia.

The Regionalization of Europe

The eurozone crisis — which is engulfing EU member states using the euro but is symbolically important for the entire European Union — is therefore a crisis of trust. Do the current political and security arrangements in Europe — the European Union and NATO — capture the right mix of nation-state interests? Do the member states of those organizations truly feel that they share the same fundamental fate? Are they willing, as the American colonies were at the end of the 18th century, to give up their independence in order to create a common front against political, economic and security concerns? And if the answer to these questions is no, then what are the alternative arrangements that do capture complementary nation-state interests?

On the security front, we already have our answer: the regionalization of European security organizations. NATO has ceased to effectively respond to the national security interests of European states. Germany and France have pursued an accommodationist attitude toward Russia, to the chagrin of the Baltic States and Central Europe. As a response, these Central European states have begun to arrange alternatives. The four Central European states that make up the regional Visegrad Group — Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary — have used the forum as the mold in which to create a Central European battle group. Baltic States, threatened by Russia’s general resurgence, have looked to expand military and security cooperation with the Nordic countries, with Lithuania set to join the Nordic Battlegroup, of which Estonia is already a member. France and the United Kingdom have decided to enhance cooperation with an expansive military agreement at the end of 2010, and London has also expressed an interest in becoming close to the developing Baltic-Nordic cooperative military ventures.

Regionalization is currently most evident in security matters, but it is only a matter of time before it begins to manifest itself in political and economic matters as well. For example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been forthcoming about wanting Poland and the Czech Republic to speed up their efforts to enter the eurozone. Recently, both indicated that they had cooled on the idea of eurozone entry. The decision, of course, has a lot to do with the euro being in a state of crisis, but we cannot underestimate the underlying sense in Warsaw that Berlin is not committed to Poland’s security. Central Europeans may not currently be in the eurozone (save for Estonia, Slovenia and Slovakia), but the future of the eurozone is intertwined in its appeal to the rest of Europe as both an economic and political bloc. All EU member states are contractually obligated to enter the eurozone (save for Denmark and the United Kingdom, which negotiated opt-outs). From Germany’s perspective, membership of the Czech Republic and Poland is more important than that of peripheral Europe. Germany’s trade with Poland and the Czech Republic alone is greater than its trade with Spain, Greece, Ireland and Portugal combined.

The security regionalization of Europe is not a good sign for the future of the eurozone. A monetary union cannot be grafted onto security disunion, especially if the solution to the eurozone crisis becomes more integration. Warsaw is not going to give Berlin veto power over its budget spending if the two are not in agreement over what constitutes a security threat. This argument may seem simple, and it is cogent precisely because it is. Taxation is one of the most basic forms of state sovereignty, and one does not share it with countries that do not share one’s political, economic and security fate.

This goes for any country, not just Poland. If the solution to the eurozone crisis is greater integration, then the interests of the integrating states have to be closely aligned on more than just economic matters. The U.S. example from the late 18th century is particularly instructive, as one could make a cogent argument that American states had more divergent economic interests than European states do today, and yet their security concerns brought them together. In fact, the moment the external threat diminished in the mid-19th century due to Europe’s exhaustion from the Napoleonic Wars, American unity was shaken by the Civil War. America’s economic and cultural bifurcation, which existed even during the Revolutionary War, erupted in conflagration the moment the external threat was removed.

The bottom line is that Europeans have to agree on more than just a 3 percent budget-deficit threshold as the foundation for closer integration. Control over budgets goes to the very heart of sovereignty, and European nations will not give up that control unless they know their security and political interests will be taken seriously by their neighbors.

Europe’s Spheres of Influence

We therefore see Europe evolving into a set of regionalized groupings. These organizations may have different ideas about security and economic matters, one country may even belong to more than one grouping, but for the most part membership will largely be based on location on the Continent. This will not happen overnight. Germany, France and other core economies have a vested interest in preserving the eurozone in its current form for the short-term — perhaps as long as another decade — since the economic contagion from Greece is an existential concern for the moment. In the long-term, however, regional organizations of like-minded blocs is the path that seems to be evolving in Europe, especially if Germany decides that its relationship with core eurozone countries and Central Europe is more important than its relationship with the periphery.

We can separate the blocs into four main fledgling groupings, which are not mutually exclusive, as a sort of model to depict the evolving relationships among countries in Europe:

  1. The German sphere of influence (Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Switzerland, Slovenia, Slovakia and Finland): These core eurozone economies are not disadvantaged by Germany’s competitiveness, or they depend on German trade for economic benefit, and they are not inherently threatened by Germany’s evolving relationship with Russia. Due to its isolation from the rest of Europe and proximity to Russia, Finland is not thrilled about Russia’s resurgence, but occasionally it prefers Germany’s careful accommodative approach to the aggressive approach of neighboring Sweden or Poland. Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia are the most concerned about the Russia-Germany relationship, but not to the extent that Poland and the Baltic states are, and they may decide to remain in the German sphere of influence for economic reasons.
  2. The Nordic regional bloc (Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia): These mostly non-eurozone states generally see Russia’s resurgence in a negative light. The Baltic states are seen as part of the Nordic sphere of influence (especially Sweden’s), which leads toward problems with Russia. Germany is an important trade partner, but it is also seen as overbearing and as a competitor. Finland straddles this group and the German sphere of influence, depending on the issue.
  3. Visegrad-plus (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria). At the moment, the Visegrad Four belong to different spheres of influence. The Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary do not feel as exposed to Russia’s resurgence as Poland or Romania do. But they also are not completely satisfied with Germany’s attitude toward Russia. Poland is not strong enough to lead this group economically the way Sweden dominates the Nordic bloc. Other than security cooperation, the Visegrad countries have little to offer each other at the moment. Poland intends to change that by lobbying for more funding for new EU member states in the next six months of its EU presidency. That still does not constitute economic leadership.
  4. Mediterranean Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta): These are Europe’s peripheral states. Their security concerns are unique due to their exposure to illegal immigration via routes through Turkey and North Africa. Geographically, these countries are isolated from the main trade routes and lack the capital-generating centers of northern Europe, save for Italy’s Po River Valley (which in many ways does not belong to this group but could be thought of as a separate entity that could be seen as part of the German sphere of influence). These economies therefore face similar problems of over-indebtedness and lack of competitiveness. The question is, who would lead?

And then there are France and the United Kingdom. These countries do not really belong to any bloc. This is London’s traditional posture with regard to continental Europe, although it has recently begun to establish a relationship with the Nordic-Baltic group. France, meanwhile, could be considered part of the German sphere of influence. Paris is attempting to hold onto its leadership role in the eurozone and is revamping its labor-market rules and social benefits to sustain its connection to the German-dominated currency bloc, a painful process. However, France traditionally is also a Mediterranean country and has considered Central European alliances in order to surround Germany. It also recently entered into a new bilateral military relationship with the United Kingdom, in part as a hedge against its close relationship with Germany. If France decides to exit its partnership with Germany, it could quickly gain control of its normal sphere of influence in the Mediterranean, probably with enthusiastic backing from a host of other powers such as the United States and the United Kingdom. In fact, its discussion of a Mediterranean Union was a political hedge, an insurance policy, for exactly such a future.

The Price of Regional Hegemony

The alternative to the regionalization of Europe is clear German leadership that underwrites — economically and politically — greater European integration. If Berlin can overcome the anti-euro populism that is feeding on bailout fatigue in the eurozone core, it could continue to support the periphery and prove its commitment to the eurozone and the European Union. Germany is also trying to show Central Europe that its relationship with Russia is a net positive by using its negotiations with Moscow over Moldova as an example of German political clout.

Central Europeans, however, are already putting Germany’s leadership and commitment to the test. Poland assumes the EU presidency July 1 and has made the union’s commitment to increase funding for new EU member states, as well as EU defense cooperation, its main initiatives. Both policies are a test for Germany and an offer for it to reverse the ongoing security regionalization. If Berlin says no to new money for the newer EU member states — at stake is the union’s cohesion-policy funding, which in the 2007-2013 budget period totaled 177 billion euros — and no to EU-wide security/defense arrangements, then Warsaw, Prague and other Central European capitals have their answer. The question is whether Germany is serious about being a leader of Europe and paying the price to be the hegemon of a united Europe, which would not only mean funding bailouts but also standing up to Russia. If it places its relationship with Russia over its alliance with Central Europe, then it will be difficult for Central Europeans to follow Berlin. This will mean that the regionalization of Europe’s security architecture — via the Visegrad Group and Nordic-Baltic battle groups — makes sense. It will also mean that Central Europeans will have to find new ways to draw the United States into the region for security.

Common security perception is about states understanding that they share the same fate. American states understood this at the end of the 18th century, which is why they gave up their independence, setting the United States on the path toward superpower status. Europeans — at least at present — do not see their situation (or the world) in the same light. Bailouts are enacted not because Greeks share the same fate as Germans but because German bankers share the same fate as German taxpayers. This is a sign that integration has progressed to a point where economic fate is shared, but this is an inadequate baseline on which to build a common political union.

Bailing out Greece is seen as an affront to the German taxpayer, even though that same German taxpayer has benefited disproportionally from the eurozone’s creation. The German government understands the benefits of preserving the eurozone — which is why it continues bailing out the peripheral countries — but there has been no national debate in Germany to explain this logic to the populace. Germany is still waiting to have an open conversation with itself about its role and its future, and especially what price it is willing to pay for regional hegemony and remaining relevant in a world fast becoming dominated by powers capable of harnessing the resources of entire continents.

Without a coherent understanding in Europe that its states all share the same fate, the Greek crisis has little chance of being Europe’s Shays’ Rebellion, triggering deeper unification. Instead of a United States of Europe, its fate will be ongoing regionalization.

Geopolitica: Stratfor.com – „The Next Decade”

Text + clipuri + analiza + sursa informationala: Stratfor.com

STRATFOR CEO George Friedman, author of the new book „The Next Decade,” examines the role of the American president in preserving the republic while managing an empire.

Observing the ever-closer ties between Germany and Russia, STRATFOR founder George Friedman, author of the new book „The Next Decade,” discusses the likely impact on Poland – and the rest of Europe

STRATFOR founder George Friedman challenges the widely accepted view of China’s continuing economic growth and increasing influence on the world stage.

STRATFOR founder Dr. George Friedman says the Middle East will preoccupy the United States in the next decade, and Iran will be the center of that preoccupation.

Romania analizata de George Friedman (Stratfor.com)

In school, many of us learned the poem Invictus. It concludes with the line, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” This is a line that a Victorian gentleman might bequeath to an American businessman. It is not a line that resonates in Romania. Nothing in their history tells Romanians that they rule their fate or dominate their soul. Everything in their history is a lesson in how fate masters them or how their very soul is a captive of history. As a nation, Romanians have modest hopes and expectations tempered by their past.

This sensibility is not alien to me. My parents survived the Nazi death camps, returned to Hungary to try to rebuild their lives and then found themselves fleeing the communists. When they arrived in America, their wishes were extraordinarily modest, as I look back on it. They wanted to be safe, to get up in the morning, to go to work, to get paid — to live. They were never under the impression that they were the masters of their fate.

The problem that Romania has is that the world cares about it. More precisely, empires collide where Romania is. The last iteration was the Cold War. Today, at the moment, things seem easier, or at least less desperate, than before. Still, as I discussed in Borderlands, the great powers are sorting themselves out again and therefore Romania is becoming more important to others. It is not clear to me that the Romanians fully appreciate the shift in the geopolitical winds. They think they can hide in Europe, and perhaps they can. But I suspect that history is reaching for Romania again.

Geopolitics and Self-Mutilation

Begin with geography. The Carpathian Mountains define Romania, but in an odd way. Rather than serving as the border of the country, protecting it, the Carpathians are an arc that divides the country into three parts. To the south of the mountains is the Wallachian Plain, the heart of contemporary Romania, where its capital, Bucharest, and its old oil center, Ploesti, are located. In the east of the Carpathians is the Moldavian Plain. To the northwest of the Carpathians is Transylvania, more rugged, hilly country.

And this is the geopolitical tragedy of Romania. Romania is one nation divided by its geography. None of the three parts is easy to defend. Transylvania came under Hungarian rule in the 11th century, and Hungary came under Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian rule. Wallachia came under Ottoman rule, and Moldavia came under Ottoman and Russian rule. About the only time before the late 19th century that Romania was united was when it was completely conquered. And the only time it was completely conquered was when some empire wanted to secure the Carpathians to defend itself.

Some of us experience geopolitics as an opportunity. Most of humanity experiences it as a catastrophe. Romania has been a nation for a long time, but rarely has it been a united nation-state. After becoming a nation-state in the late 19th century, it had a precarious existence, balanced between Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Russia, with Germany a more distant but powerful reality. Romania spent the inter-war years trying to find its balance between monarchy, authoritarianism and fascism, and it never quite found it. It sought safety in an alliance with Hitler and found itself on the front lines in the German invasion of Russia. To understand Romania as an ally one must bear this in mind: When the Soviets began their great counterattack at Stalingrad, they launched it over Romanian (and Hungarian) troops. Romanians maneuvered themselves into the position of fighting and dying for the Germans, and then got their revenge on the Germans by being slaughtered by the Soviets.

All of this led to Romania’s occupation by the Soviets, toward whom the Romanians developed a unique strategy. The Hungarians rose up against the Soviets and were crushed, and the Czechoslovaks tried to create a liberal communist regime that was still loyal to the Soviets and were crushed. The Romanians actually achieved a degree of autonomy from the Soviets in foreign affairs. The way the Romanians got the Soviets to tolerate this was by building a regime more rigid and oppressive than even that of the Soviet Union at the time. The Soviets knew NATO wasn’t going to invade, let alone invade through Romania. So long as the Romanian regime kept the people in line, the Russians could tolerate their maneuvers. Romania retained its national identity and an independent foreign policy but at a stunning price in personal freedom and economic well-being.

Contemporary Romania cannot be understood without understanding Nicolae Ceausescu. He called himself the “Genius of the Carpathians.” He may well have been, but if so, the Carpathian definition of genius is idiosyncratic. The Romanian communist government was built around communists who had remained in Romania during World War II, in prison or in hiding. This was unique among the Soviet Union’s Eastern European satellites. Stalin didn’t trust communists who stayed home and resisted. He preferred communists who had fled to Moscow in the 1930s and had proved themselves loyal to Stalin by their betrayal of others. He sent Moscow communists to rule the rest of the newly occupied countries that buffered Russia from the West. Not so in Romania, where native communists ruled. After the death of the founder of communist Romania, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, another Romanian communist who stayed in Romania ultimately took over: Ceausescu. This was a peculiarity of Romanian communism that made it more like Josip Broz Tito’s Yugoslavia in foreign policy, and more like a bad dream in domestic policy.

Ceausescu decided to pay off the national debt. His reason seemed to flow from his foreign policy — he didn’t want Romania to be trapped by any country because of its debt — and he repaid it by selling to other countries nearly everything that was produced in Romania. This left Romania in staggering poverty; electricity and heat were occasional things, and even food was scarce in a country that had a lot of it. The Securitate, a domestic secret police whose efficiency and brutality were impressive, suppressed unrest. Nothing in Romania worked as well as the Securitate.

Herta Muller is a Romanian author who writes in German (she is part of Romania’s ethnic German community) and who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2009. One of her books, The Appointment, takes place in Romania under the communists. It gives an extraordinary sense of a place ruled by the Securitate. It is about a woman who is living her life, working at her job and dealing with an alcoholic husband while constantly preparing for and living in dread of appointments with the secret police. As in Kafka, what they are looking for and what she is hiding are unclear. But the danger is unrelenting and permeates her entire consciousness. When one reads this book, as I did in preparing for this trip, one understands the way in which the Securitate tore apart a citizen’s soul — and remembers that it was not a distant relic of the 1930s but was still in place and sustaining the Romanian regime in 1989.

It was as if the price that Romania had to pay for autonomy was to punch itself in the face continually. Even the fall of communism took a Romanian path. There was no Velvet Revolution here but a bloody one, where the Securitate resisted the anti-communist rising under circumstances and details that are still hotly debated and unclear. In the end, the Ceausescus (Nicolae’s wife Elena was also a piece of work, requiring a psychological genius to unravel) were executed and the Securitate blended into civil society as part of the organized-crime network that was mistaken for liberalization in the former Soviet empire by Western academics and reporters at the time.

Romania emerged from the previous 70 years of ongoing catastrophe by dreaming of simple things and having no illusions that these things were easy to come by or things Romanians could control. As with much of Eastern Europe but perhaps with a greater intensity, Romanians believed their redemption lay with the West’s multilateral organizations. If they were permitted to join NATO and especially the European Union, their national security needs would be taken care of along with their economic needs. Romanians yearned to become European simply because being Romanian was too dangerous.

The Redemption of Being European

In thinking of Romania, the phrase “institutionalized prisoner” comes to mind. In the United States it is said that if someone stays in prison long enough, he becomes “institutionalized,” someone who can no longer imagine functioning outside a world where someone else always tells him what to do. For Romania, national sovereignty has always been experienced as the process of accommodating itself to more powerful nations and empires. So after 1991, Romania searched for the “someone else” to which it could subordinate itself. More to the point, Romania imbued these entities with extraordinary redemptive powers. Once in NATO and the European Union, all would be well.

And until recently, all has been well, or well in terms of the modest needs of a historical victim. The problem Romania has is that these sanctuaries are in many ways illusions. It looks to NATO for defense, but NATO is a hollowed-out entity. There is a new and ambitious NATO strategy, which sets a global agenda for the organization. Long discussed, it is an exercise in meaninglessness. Countries like Germany have no military with which to fulfill the strategy, assuming that any agreement to act could be reached. NATO is a consensual organization, and a single member can block any mission. The divergent interests of an expanded NATO guarantee that someone will block everything. NATO is an illusion that comforts the Romanians, but only if they don’t look carefully. The Romanians seem to prefer the comforting illusion.

As for the European Union, there is a deep structural tension in the system. The main European economic power is Germany. It is also the world’s second-largest exporter. Its economy is built around exporting. For a country like Romania, economic development requires that it take advantage of its wage advantage. Lower wages allow developing countries to develop their economy through exports. But Europe is dominated by an export superpower. Unlike the postwar world, where the United States absorbed the imports of Germany and Japan without needing to compete with them, Germany remains an exporting country exporting into Romania and leaving precious little room for Romania to develop its economy.

At this stage of its development, Romania should be running a trade surplus, particularly with Germany, but it is not. In 2007, it exported about $40 billion worth of goods and imported about $70 billion. In 2009, it exported the same $40 billion but cut imports to only $54 billion (still a negative). Forty percent of its trade is with Germany, France and Italy, its major EU partners. But it is Germany where the major problem is. And this problem is compounded by the fact that a good part of Romania’s exports to Germany are from German-owned firms operating in Romania.

During the period of relative prosperity in Europe from 1991 to 2008, the structural reality of the EU was hidden under a rising tide. In 2008 the tide went out, revealing the structural reality. It is not clear when the tide of prosperity will come rolling back in. In the meantime, while the German economy is growing again, Romania’s is not. Because it exists in a system where the main engine is an exporter, and the exporter dominates the process of setting rules, it is difficult to see how Romania can take advantage of its greatest asset — a skilled workforce prepared to work for lower wages.

Add to this the regulatory question. Romania is a developing country. Europe’s regulations are drawn with a focus on the highly developed countries. The laws on employment guarantees mean that Europeans don’t hire workers, they adopt them. That means that entrepreneurship is difficult. Being an entrepreneur, as I well know, means making mistakes and recovering from them fast. Given the guarantees that every worker has in Europe, an entrepreneur cannot quickly recover from his mistakes. In Romania, the agility needed for risk-taking is not readily available under EU rules drawn up for a mature economy.

Romania should be a country of small entrepreneurs, and it is, but there is extensive evasion of Brussels’ — and Bucharest’s — regulations. It is a gray market that creates legal jeopardy and therefore corruption in the sector that Romania needs the most. Imagine if Germany had the regulations it champions today in 1955. Could it possibly have developed into what it is in 2010? There may be a time for these regulations (and that is debatable), but for Romania it is not now.

I met a Romanian entrepreneur who marketed industrial products. In talking to him, I raised the question of the various regulations governing his industry and how he handled them. There was no clear answer or, more precisely, I didn’t realize the answer he had given me until later. There are regulations and there are relationships. The latter mitigate the former. In Germany this might be called corruption. In Romania it is survival. A Romanian entrepreneur rigorously following EU regulations would rapidly go out of business. It may be that Romania is corrupt, but the regulatory structure of the EU imposed on a developing economy makes evasion the only rational strategy. And yet the entrepreneur I talked to was a champion of the European Union. He too hoped for the time when he could be a normal European. As Rousseau said, “I have seen these contradictions and they have not rebuffed me.”

It is difficult to for an outsider to see the specific benefits of NATO and EU membership for Romania. But for the Romanians, membership goes beyond the specifics.

Romania’s Choice

August and September are bad months in Europe. It is when wars and crises strike. August and September 2008 were bad months. That August, Russia struck Georgia. In September, the financial crisis burst wide open. In the first, Russia delivered a message to the region: This is what American guarantees are worth. In the European handling of the financial crisis in Eastern Europe, the Germans delivered a message on the limits of German responsibility. Both NATO and the European Union went from being guarantors of Romanian interests to being enormous question marks.

In my conversations with Romanians, at all levels and almost universally, I have found the same answer. First, there is no doubt that NATO and the European Union did not work in Romania’s favor at the moment. Second, there is no question of rethinking Romania’s commitment to either. There are those Romanians, particularly on the far right, who dislike the European Union in particular, but Romania has no strategic alternative.

As for the vast majority, they cannot and will not conceive of a Romania outside the confines of NATO and the European Union. The mere fact that neither is working well for Romania does not mean that they do not do something important: NATO and the European Union keep the anti-democratic demons of the Romanian soul at bay. Being part of Europe is not simply a matter of strategic or economic benefits. It represents a transitional point in Romanian history. With membership in the European Union and NATO, Romania has affirmed its modernity and its democratic institutions. These twin amulets have redeemed Romania’s soul. Given this, I suppose, an unfavorable trade balance and the absence of genuine security guarantees is a small price to pay. I am not Romanian, so I can’t feel their ineffable belief in Brussels.

Romanians do acknowledge, again almost universally, the return of Russia to the historical stage, and it worries them. Of particular concern is Moldova, a region to the east that was historically Romanian, taken by the Soviets in a treaty with Hitler and the rest of which was seized after World War II. Moldova became an independent country in 1991 (a country I will be visiting next). For much of the post-Cold War period it had a communist government that fell a few years ago. An election will be held on Nov. 28, and it appears that the communists might return. The feeling is that if the communists return this time, the Russians will return with them and, in the coming years, Russian troops will be on Romania’s borders.

Romanian officials are actively engaged in discussions with NATO officials about the Russians, but the Germans want a more active involvement of Russia in NATO and not tension between NATO and Russia. The Western Europeans are not about to be drawn into Eastern European paranoia fed by nostalgic American strategists wanting to relive the Cold War, as they think of it.

I raised two strategic alternatives with Romanian officials and the media. One was the Intermarium — an alliance, perhaps in NATO, perhaps not — of Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. (To readers who asked why I did not go to Bulgaria on this trip, it was simply a matter of time. I will go there as soon as I can.) Very interestingly, one official pointed out substantial levels of cooperation on military planning between Hungary and Romania and discussions between Romania and Poland. How serious this is and whether it will go beyond the NATO context is unclear to me. Perhaps I can get a better sense in Warsaw.

But military planning is one thing; the wherewithal to execute military plans is quite another. The Romanians are now caught in a crisis over buying fighter planes. There are three choices: the Swedish Gripen, the Eurofighter and used American F-16s. The problem is that the Romanians don’t have the money for any of these aircraft, nor does it seem to me that these are the defense measures they really need. The Americans can provide air cover in a number of ways, and while 24 F-16s would have value, they would not solve Romania’s most pressing military problem. From where I sit, creating an effective mobile force to secure their eastern frontier is what is needed. The alternative I’ve heard was buying naval vessels to block a very real Russian naval buildup in the Black Sea. But if Romania has trouble buying 24 fighters, naval vessels are out of the question.

The Romanians are approaching defense planning from a NATO perspective — one used for planning, not implementation, and one that always leads to sophisticated systems while leaving the basics uncovered. This may seem like an unnecessary level of detail for this essay, but the Romanians are deep in this discussion, and questions like this are the critical details of strategies growing out of geopolitics. It is the difference between planning papers drawn up by think tanks and the ability to defend a nation.

The Black Sea is a critical part of Romania’s reality, and the rise of Turkey makes the system of relationships interesting. Turkey is Romania’s fourth largest export target, and one of the few major trading partners that imports more from Romania than it exports. I pointed out to Romanians that it is the great good fortune of Turkey that it was not admitted to the European Union. Turkey’s economy grew by an annualized rate of 12 percent in the first quarter of 2010 and has been surging for years.

Turkey is becoming a regional economic engine and, unlike Germany, France and Italy, it offers compatibilities and synergies for Romania. In addition, Turkey is a serious military force and, while not seeking confrontation with Russia, it is not subservient to it. Turkey has adopted a “360 degree” strategy of engagement with all countries. And since Turkey is a NATO member, as are Hungary, Slovakia and Poland, there is no incompatibility with a dual strategy of the Intermarium and the Black Sea. For now, they fit. And the irony of Romania reaching out to the heir to the Ottomans is simply that and no more. This is the neighborhood that Romania inhabits. These are the options it has.

What doesn’t fit for Romania is the NATO/EU system alone. Perhaps this is part of a rational mix, but it cannot be all of it. For Romania, the problem is to move beyond the psychological comfort of Europe to a strategic and economic understanding that accepts that the post-Cold War world is over. More important, it would be a move toward accepting that Romania is free, responsible for its future and capable of managing it.

It is this last step that is the hardest for Romania and many of the former Soviet satellites — which were also bound up with World War I and Hitler’s disaster — to come to terms with. There is a connection between buying more expensive German cars than you can afford, and more of them than you need, and the novels of Herta Muller. The appointment can be permanently cancelled, but the fear of the interrogation is always with you. In this region, the fear of the past dominates and oppresses while the confident, American-style military planning and economic restructuring I suggested is alien and frightening.

The Romanians emerged from a world of horror, some of it of their own making. They fear themselves perhaps more than they fear others. For them, becoming European is both a form of therapy and something that will restrain the demons within and without. When you live with bad memories, you live with the shadows of reality. For the Romanians, illusory solutions to haunting memories make a great deal of sense.

It makes sense until war comes, and in this part of the world, the coming of war has been the one certainty since before the Romans. It is only a question of when, with whom and what your own fate will be when it arrives. The Romanians believe with religious fervor that these things will be left behind if they become part of Europe. I am more skeptical. I had thought that Romania’s problem was that it was part of Europe, a weak power surrounded by stronger ones. They seem to believe that their solution is to be part of Europe, a weak power surrounded by stronger ones.

I leave Romania confused. The Romanians hear things that I am deaf to. It is even at a pitch my Hungarian part can’t hear. I leave now for another nation, Moldova, which has been even more exposed to history, one even stranger and more brutal than Romania’s.

Evolutia partidelor de stanga din Europa 06/2009-04/2010

Pe blogul portocoliu „Paralele//Paralele” autorul afiseaza analiza Stanga Europeana tot mai irelevanta. Cu siguranta autorul sa referit la convulsiile interne si criza doctrinara ale partidelor rezultate din Miscarea Politica Frontul Salvarii Natonale: PSD si PD-L.

Realitatea este cu totul alta. Sa analizam evolutia politica ale partidelor de stanga din principalele tari membre UE: Germania, Franta, Marea Britanie, Spania si Italia.

1. Germania:

Partidul Socialdemcrat German SPD

Alegeri europarlamentare: 20,8%

Alegeri legislative: 23%

Alegeri regionale Renania de Nordwestfalia (prognoza): 30%

Ecologistii

Alegeri europarlamentare: 12,1%

Alegeri legislative: 10,7%

Alegeri regionale Renania de Nordwestfalia (prognoza): 12%

Noua Stanga

Alegeri europarlamentare: 7,5%

Alegeri legislative: 11,9%

Alegeri regionale Renania de Nordwestfalia (prognoza): 7%

Total alegeri europarlamentare: 40,4%

Total alegeri legislative: 45,60%

Total alegeri regionale Renania de Nordwestfalia (prognoza): 49%

2. Franta

Partidul Socialist

Alegeri europarlamentare: 16,48%

Alegeri regionale, primul tur: 29,14%

Alegeri regionale, balotaj* Stanga Unita: 54,70%

In balotaj Partidul Socialist, Ecologistii si Parti de Gauche au candidat pe liste comune, respectiv si-au sustinut reciproc cel mai bine plasat candidat.

Ecologistii

Alegeri europarlamentare: 16,28%

Alegeri regionale, primul tur: 12,18%

Alegeri regionale, balotaj*

Parti/Front de Gauche (Noua Stanga)

Alegeri europarlamentare: 6,48%

Alegeri regionale, primul tur: 5,84%

Alegeri regionale, balotaj*

Total alegeri europarlamentare 2009: 39,24%

Total alegeri regionale 2010: 54,78%

Italia

Partidul Democrat

Alegeri europarlamentare 2009: 26,10%

Alegeri regionale 2010: 26,10%

Alegeri regionale liste comune: 44,62%*

Total alegeri europarlamentare 2009: 26,10%

Total alegeri regionale 2010: 44,62%

*In cadrul alegerilor regionale mai multe formatiuni de centru si centru-stanga au candidat pe liste comune.

Spania

Partidul Socialist al Muncitorilor din Spania

Alegeri europarlamentare 2009: 38,20%

Stanga Unita/Stanga Ecologista

Alegeri europarlamentare 2009: 3,70%

Ecologistii

Alegeri europarlamentare 2009: 2,50%

Total alegeri europarlamentare 2009: 44,40%

Marea Britanie

Partidul Laburist

Alegeri europarlamentare 2009: 15,7%

Alegeri legislative 2010 (prognoza): 200 de colegii parlamentare

Partidul Ecologist

Alegeri europarlametanre 2009: 8,6%

Alegeri legislative 2010 (prognoza): 5-6 colegii

NO2EU (Noua Stanga)

Alegeri europarlamentare 2009: 1%

TUSC (Noua Stanga)

Alegeri legislative 2010 (prognoza): 1-2 colegii

Total alegeri europarlamentare: 25,30%

Total alegeri legislative (prognoza): 200-208 colegii parlamentare

Sinteza:

Alegerile europarlamentare din 2009 au subliniat un esec total pentru partidele de stanga. In schimb in cadrul alegerilor regionale din Franta, stanga pluralista a obtinut ce mai bun scor electoral, iar in Germania, stanga pluralista formata din socialdemocrati, ecologisti si postcomunisti (Noua Stanga) pot castiga cel mai strategic land din Germania. Partidele de stanga guverneaza in Spania. In Italia si Germania stanga guverneaza in fiefuri regionale. In Marea Britanie laburistii vor inparti gestiunea guvernarii alaturi de liberali.

In toate cele cinci tari majore ale Uniunii Europene se etaleaza o stanga pluralista: socialdemocratii sunt concurati de ecologisti si de formatiuniile postcomuniste si neosocialiste. Media electorala penduleaza intre 40% si 44%.

Anul 2012 va fi crucial pentru Europa: in Spania se vor desfasura alegeri legislative iar Franta isi va alege un nou presedinte.

Gabriel Savulescu@GSPublicRelations2010

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