The economic situation in the European Union requires rapid response. Growth is stagnating at around 1% whilst it is over 2.5% in the USA and 7% in China - unemployment lies at 10% (11.5% in the euro area), disparities between the Member States have grown instead of converging. Although it still leads in term s of the production of wealth in the world and that it offers an unparalleled quality of life, the Union has lost its self-confidence. It is experiencing true political stagnation and its economic policy is an element of division and debate. To get out of this rut it needs new impetus supported by new paradigms which are not necessarily the ones we expect. We cannot win today's battles and those of tomorrow with recipes from the past. True strategic thought that is open and pragmatic is needed for victory and success.
Russia's annexation of Crimea in March 2014, its on-going support for separatist groups in eastern Ukraine, and the robust diplomatic and economic response from the EU have led to the biggest rift in EU-Russia relations since the Cold War. The EU and Russia are heading, at best, towards a protracted stalemate. At worst, they could be on the verge of a serious deterioration in their relations, should Moscow fan further the flames of conflict in the region.
Due to Russia's intervention interpreting recent events in Ukraine has led to real confusion which has far too often enabled propaganda, inaccuracy and references to the past to prevail over a rational analysis. In a bid to provide a better understanding of the issues at stake Jean-Dominique Giuliani presents a paper that restricts itself to the legal aspects only of the question, which is also an eminently political one. It does not aim to ignore Russian resentment or the Ukrainians' will to free themselves of the tutelage of their powerful neighbour or the national interests in question, it simply analyses the impact on international law.
A month and a half after their Estonian neighbours 4.5 million Finns are to renew the 200 members of their parliament, the Eduskunta/Riksdag (Finland is a bilingual country) on 19th April. Early voting will take place between 8th and 14th April.
The proposed regulation on the creation of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) was presented by the European Commission on 13th January 2015. The trilogue is going on until the end of the Latvian presidency with the aim of implementing the Fund by the summer. An agreement of principle is expected to be found by the "Ecofin" Council on 10th March. In this perspective, this paper recalls the three dimensions of the Juncker Plan, analyses how their joint effect can guarantee the success of the latter, and sets out some views on the technical aspects currently under debate.
What changes have occured in Europe from the point of view of men/women equality in 2014? Pascale Joannin looks into women's presence in the European Parliament, national governments (regression in three Member States) and parliaments, as well as in businesses. It is in the economic sector that progress has been the most significant. What are the politicians doing? As Women's Day on 8th March draws closer Europe must go even further if it wants to retain its lead.