As the Ukrainian crisis threatens to bring simmering tensions to a boil, another former Soviet state, Armenia, recently faced with similar choices, is quiet. The core issue in both countries was having to choose between Europe and Russia. Both countries have strong ties to both the West and to Russia. Like Ukraine, Armenia was engaged in the EU’s “Eastern Partnership” initiative, and also like Ukraine, it had initialed, after long negotiations, an Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) with the European Union. However, several months before last year’s Vilnius Summit, during which signatures were expected on these agreements, Serzh Sargsyan, President of Armenia, traveled to Moscow and issued a joint statement with Russia announcing Armenia’s desire to join the Russian-led Eurasian Customs Union.
By Michael Mosettig, Former PBS Newshour Producer
The travels of Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy have demonstrated anew that in politics, timing is everything.
In a week in which French President Hollande's major economic press conference was overshadowed by the fallout from his extra-curricular activities and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's State of the State speech was lost in the George Washington Bridge scandal, Rajoy came to Washington for a three-day visit with the wind of some better economic news at his back and allowing him to proclaim to President Obama and other audiences that his beleaguered country had turned a corner.
The German elections and the recent formation of a coalition government have created a large gap between the necessary and the politically possible in Germany’s approach to European and foreign relations. The first decisions of the new German government and its composition point to a focus on domestic affairs, where European and international affairs will remain a matter of closed-door and perhaps neglected policies.
On October 16, 2013, The European Institute convened a luncheon discussion with Jens Hanefeld, Minister and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany on the resounding electoral victory earned by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Christian Democratic Union. Mr. Hanefeld offered his analysis of the major trends revealed by last month’s elections, assessed the on-going quest for a governing coalition and the potential implications of Merkel 3.0 for the European Union and transatlantic relations.
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