Europe & Transatlantic Relations Archive

Europe & Transatlantic Relations Archive

Doubts Remain that European Members will Meet NATO targets

The most discussed topics at this year’s Munich Security Conference were the new U.S. administration’s position on NATO and European security, and European commitment to meet the 2% defense budget target. But doubts remain if the European members will meet the NATO target.

By Dominik Tolksdorf , Leticia Mueller

"A Coalition is not a Love Match" - Interview with Ralf Fücks

Are the German Greens compatible with Angela Merkel? How can we explain the success of the xenophobic ‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD) party? And what awaits Europe in the year 2017? The Green European Journal sat down with Ralf Fücks, the outgoing President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, to talk about Christian Democrats, Trump, and the upcoming German election, as well as the foundation’s development over the past 20 years.

By Ralf Fücks

Why the Brexit referendum gives Trump fresh hope

Hillary Clinton should be warned by the British referendum: Similar to the Brexit movement, Trump’s campaign benefits from anti-immigrant sentiment and anger over the “political elites” and “mainstream media”.

By Dominik Tolksdorf

After the Brexit: Quo vadis, EU?

Great Britain will leave the EU. What does that mean for European Union going forward? What can be done to strengthen political unity within the Union? A commentary by Ralf Fücks.

By Ralf Fücks

Brexit: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

On June 23, voters in the United Kingdom will go to the polls for a referendum on the country’s membership in the EU. Most experts agree that a Brexit would fundamentally reshape the transatlantic relationship. 

By Laura Bröker

In Ukraine, Cautious Optimism Prevails

Despite frustration over the pace of reform, many Ukrainians remain cautiously optimistic about the country’s direction. The new government would be well-advised to take advantage of this resolve, and leverage it to usher in a more democratic system. 

By Dominik Tolksdorf

Identity and Exile: The Iranian Diaspora Between Solidarity and Difference


Over five million Iranians are in exile – about 120,000 of which live in Germany. They are influencing political and cultural debates in Iran on a daily basis. The aim of this publication is to promote a process of reflection within the diaspora and provide an input concerning the role and potential of the diaspora community in the US and Germany as well.

From Circle of Friends to Ring of Fire

Europe’s troubled neighborhood: from a “circle of friends” to a “ring of fire”? EU Commissioner Hahn on the future of EU neighborhood policy and the central objective of maintaining stability

By Laura Bröker

This Is Not the Orange Revolution

Invoking Yogi Berra’s overused quote may seem cliché, but for Kyiv watchers, it seems a bit like “déjà vu all over again.” GMF's Steven Keil reports from the #boell2Ukraine Tour. 

By Steven Keil

Nuclear energy in Ukraine 30 Years after Chernobyl

Thirty years after the biggest nuclear disaster at Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukraine is still seriously dependent on nuclear energy. It is high time for Ukraine to take the path of nuclear phase-out.

By Iryna Holovko

A New Attempt to Resolve the Ukraine Conflict

There can be no normalisation of the relations with Russia as long as Moscow leads a war in the eastern Ukraine. This articles examines a new attempt to resolve the Ukraine conflict.

By Ralf Fücks, Marieluise Beck

For a Progressive and European Response to Security Challenges

The recent attacks in Brussels have left everyone in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe in shock. People feel more and more helpless in the face of what seems to be, after the attacks in Paris last November and in January 2015, an increasingly destructive threat.

By Sophie Heine

No Trump Card

In the US presidential primaries, foreign policy issues have yet to play much of a role – but this may soon change.

By Dominik Tolksdorf

The US Ignores the European Refugee Crisis at its Own Peril

After a recent visit to Washington, Sergey Lagodinsky, head of the EU/North America Department at the Heinrich Boell Foundation in Berlin, reflects on Americans’ understanding of the European refugee crisis and the failure to anticipate long-term repercussions for US foreign policy interests.

By Sergey Lagodinsky

Why young Germans become jihadists

The reasons behind people’s radicalization are individual. However, anger over lack of social recognition often plays an important role. Salafism and Islamophobia must be tackled simultaneously.

By Lamya Kaddor

After the Paris Attacks: The Battle for Europe’s Soul

Days after the Paris attacks, Europe is only slowly awakening from a state of shock. The events served as a painful reminder of our vulnerabilities from within and the daunting threats we face from abroad. A reflection on seven challenges looming on Europe’s horizon. 

By Charlotte Beck

The AKP’s Big Comeback- Turkey Turns Back Time

The AKP has gained the absolute majority in Turkey’s recent snap elections, allowing it to continue to rule without a coalition partner. Deep rifts within Turkish society, however, remain. A take on the elections by Kristian Brakel, hbs-office director in Istanbul.

By Kristian Brakel

Victory of national conservatives in Poland

Poland has elected its new government. Not a single left-wing party has made it through the elections. Director Irene Hahn-Fuhr comments the outcome of the Polish parliamentary elections from a European perspective.

By Irene Hahn-Fuhr

“You never know how long the ceasefire will last” - Hbs-Interview with Marieluise Beck

While Russia’s recent military involvement in the Syrian war theatre has caught much of the West by surprise, the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine has increasingly slipped off the public’s radar. We spoke with Marieluise Beck, Member of the German Bundestag and spokesperson for Eastern Europe of the Green Parliamentary Group, about the daunting reform challenges in Ukraine, the prospects for the implementation of the Minsk agreement, and German public sentiments towards Russia.

Greece before the elections: “The old political system is in turmoil”

This Sunday, September 20, Greek citizens will go the polls for the third time in just eight months. While the refugee crisis in Europe has ousted Greece from the international headlines, the country’s political landscape is undergoing some deep and significant shifts. We spoke with Olga Drossou, director of our hbs office in Thessaloniki, to shed light on what moves Greece in these times of turmoil.

By Charlotte Beck, Olga Drossou

The Greek Crisis: Time to Tone Down the Rhetoric

For a committed European, opening the newspapers and social media feeds has resembled an emotional roller coaster for the past few weeks. Given the war of words on the Greek crisis, it is not enough to be right or win the argument. Rather than engaging in a destructive blame game, all sides should tone down their rhetoric. Germany in particular should take seriously the inflammatory resurgence of resentment it faces in Europe and abroad for its seemingly overly assertive stance.

By Charlotte Beck

The Real Challenges for the EU Still Lie Ahead

The Greek crisis and the past summit seems only like the first mile of a marathon. The next years will require a lot more bold decisions, strong political leadership, and solidarity among the European member states and their citizens. The project of reinvigorating Europe, regaining self-confidence, and redefining our common sense of mission in the 21st century has only just begun. An editorial by HBS North America Executive Director Bastian Hermisson.

By Bastian Hermisson

A Transatlantic Conversation on Drone Policy


Armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — more commonly referred to as drones — have become a central pillar of the United States’ counterterrorism strategy. A number of European actors have expressed growing concern regarding the lack of transparency, accountability, and clarity surrounding the U.S. drone program. Read the joint conference report by hbs and the Stimson Center on this pressing issue here. 

How Can We Make the Eurozone Stable, Prosperous and Democratic?

The EU governing institutions' response to the euro crisis has been very poor. But the key message emanating from EU governing institutions throughout the crisis has too often been a type of ‘stay-the-course’ message. Ricardo Cabral contributed to our hbs Brussel's web dossier 'Europe@theCrossroads' by asking how to make the ‪‎Eurozone‬ more stable, prosperous and democratic. 
By Ricardo Cabral

“Scarce resources are among the main causes for today’s wars"

During his recent visit to Washington, D.C., we spoke with Jürgen Trittin, Member of the German Parliament, about European energy independence in the wake of the Ukraine crisis, the role of TTIP in enhancing energy security across the Atlantic, and how the German Energiewende can serve as a model for policy makers worldwide.

Europe's Migration Crisis: A Panel Discussion Featuring Cem Özdemir

On June 24, the Heinrich Böll Foundation together with the Center on the United States and Europe (CUSE) and the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement hosted a panel discussion examining Europe’s migration crisis featuring Cem Özdemir, co-chairman of the German Green Party. An audio recording of the event is now available.

The EU and the Migrant Crisis: Not Much More Than a Point Defense

At the southern border of “Fortress Europe”, the Mediterranean has turned into a graveyard. The current migrant crisis in Europe is about more than a risk to the EU’s reputation. It strikes at the core of the EU’s founding values.  A continuation of its half-hearted response to the migration crisis is out of question.

By Charlotte Beck

Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga: No bark or bite by EU leaders

The Eastern Partnership summit in Riga has been tagged by the hosting Latvian minister of foreign affairs a “survival summit”. This implied that EU leaders might propose decisive actions to intensify relations with the Eastern Partnership countries in light of the Ukraine crisis. But to the disappointment of some of the Eastern European and South Caucasus countries, this did not happen.

By Dominik Tolksdorf

The TTIP Index

In July 2013, the EU and the USA started negotiations the created the biggest global Free Trade agreement, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The HBS European Union has created the TTIP Index, providing a resource for anyone interested in learning more about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership to educate themselves and to create a higher level transparency.

Clash of Narratives: the War in Ukraine

Nearly one year after the Maidan protests shook the very core of Ukraine’s political order, opposing narratives of the revolution and the unfolding war in Eastern Ukraine continue to shape the public debate. These discussions do not only determine how the conflict will go down in our history books. They inform our response to the war in Ukraine by paving the way to more or less confrontational approaches toward Russia.

By Charlotte Beck and Rudine Emrich

“The EU is Not a Closed Shop”

We spoke with Parliamentarian and President of the Greens in the European Parliament, Rebecca Harms, about the future of Ukraine after the parliamentary elections, the external challenges the country is facing, and the responsibilities the EU has towards Ukraine.

“We Risk Eroding Our Own Value System”

We spoke to Marieluise Beck, Member of the German Bundestag, about the public mood in war-torn Ukraine, Germany’s hesitant stance towards Putin, and the track record of the transatlantic partnership in responding to the crisis.

Germany’s New Foreign Policy in the Making: Initial Reactions to the Iraq Crisis in Review

The Middle East is burning and, as usual, all eyes rest on Washington. The US bears a considerable share of responsibility for the current crisis. But neither Schadenfreude nor a “we told you so” approach are a viable foreign policy strategy, especially in the wake of the breathtaking costs in human lives. What, then, is Germany willing and capable to contribute to the crisis management in Iraq? The diffuse reactions by German politicians across the political spectrum serve as a case in point for a tentative process of political reorientation currently under way.

By Charlotte Beck

The Constitutional Process in Ukraine

The Ukrainian government should promote an inclusive, participatory and transparent constitutional process. Such a process could help de-escalate the current conflict and build confidence in the central government and its willingness to integrate all constituencies into Ukraine’s political system. 

By Dominik Tolksdorf

Energy Security for Europe

No, the Crimea crisis does not mean Germany needs a national gas reserve. A resource revolution is the most intelligent response to Russian gas and the Crimea crisis.

Russia, Ukraine, and Europe

We would all love to have a democratic Russia as a partner in the European Union. However, the country’s current political leadership is moving away from Europe.

What the Association Agreement Means for Ukraine’s Reform Agenda

On March 21, 2014 the political parts of the association agreement were signed between Ukraine and the EU. What does this mean, asks Dominik Tolksdorf: is the EU ready to put forward criteria for a reform in the country, and will Ukraine kick off such a reform agenda?

By Dominik Tolksdorf

Ukraine: What the EU can do

Most important now is that the international community responds speedily and clearly to what amounts to a Russian occupation of the Crimea and the additional threat of Russian troops being stationed in Ukraine. Europe is in no way powerless in the face of Russian actions, as Ralf Fücks and Walter Kaufmann illustrate in a ten-point plan.

The great revenge of the North? TTIP and the rest of the world

TTIP is an initiative that aims to cement the dominance of the two largest economic powers in the world. Rainer Falk and Barbara Unmüßig consider a topic thus far left out of critical debate: TTIP’s implications for the “rest of the world,” particularly for developing and emerging economies.

By Barbara Unmüßig, Rainer Falk

Bundestagswahl 2013: A Look at the Themes of the September Federal Elections

Germany is in the midst of a unique campaign season, gearing up for the September 22 elections. Despite this wide gap between the two frontrunners, Angela Merkel of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and current chancellor and Peer Steinbrück of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the final results are far from certain. Mattis Hennings reviews main campaign issues and the politics behind the elections.

Diversity and Community: On the Future of the European Union

When we speak of the future of the EU, it’s about more than saving the Euro. The question is whether Europe wishes to remain relevant as a strategic actor. If it does, then we must strengthen internal solidarity, as well as our capacity to act externally.

NATO’s Defense and Deterrence Posture Review – A Missed Opportunity?

American Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons (NSNWs) currently forward deployed in five Europe countries - have always been endowed with a symbolic value that far outweighs their strategic importance. It was therefore not surprising that NATO’s Defense and Deterrence Posture Review (DDPR) discreetly published at the Chicago Summit concluded that in the current circumstances, the existing mix of capabilities is a sound one.

Solidarity and Strength. The Future of the European Union - Foreign & Security Policy

With the ink on the Treaty of Lisbon scarcely dry, the European debt crisis has once more raised the question as to how the EU should be constituted. The Union’s ability to hold together and withstand the crisis is being put to the test. Against this background, the Heinrich Böll Foundation set up a commission in 2010 to examine the future of the EU and a summary of its findings can be found in this publication. FULL PUBLICATION NOW AVAILABLE.

Your Ideas, Your NATO: 2012 Policy Workshop Competition - Europe & Transatlantic Relations is inviting students and young professionals to contribute their policy ideas on key issues of the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago in the policy workshop, "Your Ideas, Your NATO." Participate for a chance to discuss your ideas directly with decision makers, including US Ambassador Philip Murphy and a NATO representative, during the May 21 summit.

Saving for Germany?

The European crisis is not only a Euro or financial crisis, it also has far reaching political implications. In his article Rainer Emschermann analyses the political dynamics while Europe is struggling for ways to solve its deepest crisis since the foundation of the European Union.

German Greens Want to Strengthen Transatlantic Cooperation on Climate Change

The German Green Party suggests turning climate change cooperation into a strategic priority in the transatlantic relationships. This is the core demand of the motion 17/7356 passed by the Greens in the parliament, the Deutscher Bundestag. Though Congress is so far not acting on climate change, there are other pillars in the US society to connect to and foster collaboration and mutual learning across the Atlantic. One of the vehicles for this is the Transatlantic Climate Bridge of the German government that should be strengthened, according to the resolution of the Greens.

Transatlantic 2020: A Tale of Four Futures

What deep currents are likely to affect Europe and the United States over the next decade? Will they draw Europeans and Americans together or drive them apart? In this new book, Dan Hamilton and Kurt Volker offer “four futures” for the transatlantic relationship – each a narrative of how trends evident today could interact and evolve to shape the world we live in tomorrow.

Can a Stronger ESFS Save the Euro?

In the European Union, the Euro, the common currency of 17 EU countries, has been under speculative attack in global currency markets for some time. This is due largely to the debt crisis sweeping several of its member countries, but also a signal of larger global imbalances and power shifts in global financial markets.

Ten Years After 9/11 – Lessons Learned?

The attacks in New York and Washington DC on 11 September 2001, almost exactly ten years ago, represented a historic turning point of a scope comparable to that of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. While the latter was a sign of hope and new beginnings, 9/11 meant uncertainty and recrimination.

Transatlantic 20/20: The US and Europe in an Interpolar World

As the United States and Europe transition from the post-Cold War era of Western dominance to a more uncertain future, their commitment to each other in world affairs has been called into question by both sides. Once a given in international affairs, the future of the transatlantic relationship is anything but certain.

The Big Green Tent

The expectations towards the German Green Party have changed since March 27, 2011. Clearly, the Greens no longer serve an ecological niche. In their new role as a party of the center, the Greens will automatically have to assume more responsibility if they do not want to disappoint their new voters.

Revolutions among the Southern Neighbors

The people of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, and also in other countries such as Yemen, Bahrain and Algeria are revolting against encrusted structures. Which direction the movement will take is still open, but one thing has become clear during the last few weeks: Neither the EU nor the EU Member States can claim that the current transition process in Tunisia or Egypt is a direct result of the European democratization policy.

Europe’s New Divide

The European Union ushers in the new year amid the ruins of its foreign policy with regard to Eastern Europe. If the EU wants to be a strategic actor in Eastern Europe, it will have to offer credible accession perspectives to all countries wishing to be a part of democratic Europe.

Europe and the American Dream - Foreign & Security Policy

It is particularly difficult to attain higher social status in Germany. Why is that, how should we tackle the issue and how the German situation differs from the situation in North America? At a conference organised by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung several experts and politicians tried to find answers to these questions.

Roundtable Discussion with EU High Representative Catherine Ashton

On September 28, 2010, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings hosted Catherine Ashton, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, for a roundtable discussion on U.S.-European affairs with a small group of transatlantic policy experts.

Making Transatlantic Relations Work

The workshop was followed by the 2010 CUSE Annual Conference, which was co-organized by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and Brookings.  The Annual Conference featured prominent speakers from both sides of the Atlantic who explored critical issues shaping the future of transatlantic relations in the post-Lisbon Treaty era, including Europe’s Eastern neighborhood and the role Russia plays, and the impact of the Eurozone crisis.

The European External Action Service – One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

The Treaty of Lisbon represents another attempt in the history of EU integration to tap the potential of the EU in external relations as well as in other fields. However, it stops short of taking the ultimate step: The member states have not consented to a communitization of foreign and security policy. Instead, a complicated new structure was adopted which leaves much to be desired and creates new areas for friction.

A European Community for Renewable Energies

The Sahara can become a power hub to provide renewable energy to Europe by the mid of the century. This project should become a cornerstone of a new European Community for renewable energies, argues Ralf Fücks.

Economic Crisis, Political Rebound? The State of the European Union in 2009

In the largest transnational elections ever, millions of voters across the 27 nations of the European Union (EU) went to the polls from June 4-7 to elect the 736 members of the European parliament. These elections will kick off an intense political season for the EU, which will include the appointment of a new EU commission and a final vote on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland later this year.

A New Start in Transatlantic Relations - The View from the Czech EU Presidency. An Address by H.E. Karel Schwarzenberg, Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic

With a new American president and administration now in office, an opportunity has arisen for revitalizing the transatlantic partnership. In his remarks, Czech Foreign Minister Schwarzenberg offered thoughts on new priorities and approaches to U.S. - Europe relations, including on dealing with the challenges posed by the Middle East, Afghanistan, Russia and questions such as energy security and coping with climate change.