On 26th May, just a few hours after the announcement of the results of the European, regional and local elections held in Greece, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras (Coalition of the Radical Left, SYRIZA), whose party came second to the main opposition party, New Democracy (ND), declared: "I cannot ignore this result. It is for the people to decide and I am therefore going to request the organisation of an early general election". Organisation of an early general election (3 months' early) surprised some observers of Greek political life who thought that the head of government would call on compatriots to vote as late as possible to allow the country's position to improve as much as possible. New Democracy won in the European elections with 33.12% of the vote, ahead of SYRIZA, with 23.76%. The Movement for Change (Kinima allagis, KINAL), the left-wing opposition party which includes the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK), the Social Democrats Movement (KIDISO), the River (To Potami) and the Democratic Left (DIMAR), collected 7.72% of the vote and the Greek Communist Party (KKE), 5.35%.
After progress seen by the ecologists' lists in the European elections, everything is now in place to ensure that ecology and the acceleration of energy transition are a central priority for the next five years. A public debate involving European citizens will be necessary, however, in order to achieve the objective of carbon neutrality that the European Union has set itself for 2050 in a socially just manner, and without weakening Europe's competitive position.
In view of the profound changes ongoing in the world there is nothing original in stating that we have entered a new period. With the end of the Cold War, a new, more complicated, and more unstable multipolar world has gradually formed in the international arena. Although the confrontation with Russia has not gone away, as seen in the Ukrainian crisis, it is however the clash between the USA and China that has become the central point of tension in international relations, with a different intensity from that of the Cold War, given its nature, which is both economic and military. Washington never saw a serious economic threat in Moscow; with China however, the situation is different because long-term the USA can be legitimately concerned about losing their technological and economic lead. It is clear that this challenge is now an obsession for both countries to the point other threats are being underestimated. This is where that the rivalry between the economic, commercial, military and even cultural interests between Washington and Beijing finds its strongest expression. It is here that one senses that new, world geopolitical balances are slowly falling into place.
On 31st March the first round of presidential election in Ukraine, the first since the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the start of the war in the Donbass in 2014. The outgoing President Petro Poroshenko is competing against 38 candidates including opponent Yulia Timoshenko and comedian Vladimir Zelenskiy. The election promises to be a complex play off between economic and political stakeholders in which civil society is trying for forge a place for itself.
Off we go on the quest of the Europe that protects. Have the American economic sanctions against Iran had a so-called extraterritorial effect and are they challenging European sovereignty? Yes. Does Europe have to respond to this? Yes. And does it have the means to do this? Probably, and it has just taken the first step in this direction.