The European elections next May will take place in a complex context. Among other issues, for the growing anti-European and anti-establishment sentiment witnessed throughout the EU. Given this background, it seems interesting to ask, first, whether this disaffection towards the Union will result in an increase in popular support for radical parties and anti-European (largely from the protest vote), and secondly, what the effects of that increase will be.
Kazakhstan will for sure hold early presidential election in 2015 as it was proposed earlier, researcher at CIDOB Barcelona Centre for International Affairs Nicolás de Pedro believes. “As the proposal is coming from the Assembly of the People of Kazakhstan and supported by the [ruling party] Nur Otan we can assume that early elections will take place for sure in 2015. The initiative undoubtedly has the backing of the Akorda [presidential palace] which is probably its real promoter,” de Pedro told Trend.
Elina Viilup, Research Fellow at CIDOB and former EU Parliament adviser from Estonia, analyzes the alternatives for the EU in the near future: “What we see all over Europe is more nationalization of policy instead of more federalization”.
Propaganda claims that oil has made IS self-sufficient are also bald-faced lies. At the end of the day, money is still just money, and it does no good if you can't buy anything with it. And if no goods reach IS-controlled regions, can a productive economy be kept afloat? If not, then oil revenues will merely drive inflation. Economist and oil expert Eckart Woertz, Senior Research Fellow at CIDOB, likens the IS to an "overvalued stock company" and speaks of a "Ponzi scheme" in need of constant expansion.
Analysis by Elena Kosolapova, from Azeri news agency Trend, on a potential total withdrawal of the American troops from Afghanistan in 2014that includes the comments of Nicolas de Pedro, Researcher Fellow at CIDOB.
Yolanda Onghena, Senior Researcher at CIDOB, was invited for the first Dialogue on Migration, Media and Intercultural Dialogue which inaugurates the series of dialogues organized by UNU-GCM (United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility). The video, that includes the commonalities of the dialogue with Dr. Enrique Santamaría, Professor of Sociology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, focuses on questions of globalization, culture and mobility, cultural difference, the role of mainstream and digital media in constructing discourses on migration and the significance of intercultural dynamics in the migration-media nexus.
"I think ISIS will face massive problems this year which will soon begin to materialize," Eckart Woertz, a senior researcher at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB) and Middle East specialist, told CNBC. "ISIS revenue base is not sustainable and we will see cracks appearing. I would suspect these to increase over the year and for ISIS to have economic problems over this year. Its economy is based on looting —which is great if you have geographic expansion -- but, if anything, ISIS is on the retreat and you can hardly continue this business model in territory you've already looted."
Eckart Woertz, Senior Research Fellow Associate at CIDOB participates in the seminar "Oil for Food: The Global Food Crisis and the Middle East" organized by Gulf Studies in Qatar. The aim is to discuss the role of food as a major weapon in the countries of the Middle East and food security strategies.
“Where governments are less flush with cash, efforts to rein in the militias and extremist groups will be difficult as long as there are few economic opportunities for Arab youths”, said Eckart Woertz, a Persian Gulf specialist at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB).
Discussions of how the group funds itself necessarily rely on speculation and guesswork, but researchers are starting to get a better idea about the terror group’s finances. Eckart Woertz, a fellow at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB), provides a useful summary of what’s known about the Islamic State’s financial lifelines.
For years the Gulf states, dependent on imports for 80 to 90 percent of their food, poured cash into buying tens of thousands of hectares of cheap farmland and other agricultural assets in the developing world, mainly Africa. They hoped these investments would give them direct access to big food production bases, insulating them from global swings in food prices. But the reality has proved difficult. Some of the African projects have drawn accusations that Arab investors are grabbing land that should be used to feed local people. Bad security and weak infrastructure have plagued some ventures. Although Gulf companies announced plans to spend billions of dollars, the problems mean many of the projects have not gone ahead, at least not to the point of large-scale food production, said Eckart Woertz, senior research fellow at CIDOB
The country’s Grand Mufti in October urged Saudi youth not to join the war, and several clerics have been removed from their posts for advocating jihad. Yet the Saudis also back the rebels, and have indicated that it’s not only the more secular groups favoured by the U.S. who will receive their support. There’s a “certain contradiction” between that policy and the attention paid to domestic blowback, said Eckart Woertz, a Persian Gulf specialist at CIDOB.
Iran’s stands at about $130 a barrel while Saudi Arabia is at $89 and the UAE at $74, according to data compiled by Citigroup. “As there is a pronounced rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran for regional hegemony, Saudi Arabia might see some geopolitical advantages in the current situation as its rival cannot stomach lower oil prices that easily” said Eckart Woertz, a Gulf economies expert and senior research fellow at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs.
Atlantic Future is a 3-year collaborative research project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme. It will be developed by a consortium of 13 partners and coordinated by CIDOB from January 2013 to December 2015. The aim of the Atlantic Future is to study the rationales of cooperation in the Atlantic area and to suggest strategies to the EU on how to engage with the wider transatlantic relationship in the context of the ongoing redistribution of power and the overall rebalancing of relations around and within the Atlantic space.
Eckart Woertz, a Gulf expert and senior research fellow at the Barcelona Center for International Affairs in Spain, said by phone: “This anti-Shiite sentiment is not just informed by politics but also by a virulent anti-Shiite stance of Wahhabism, so you have a lot of kind of sensitivities and images that inform such enmity.”
Analysis by Zhang Chunyan and Liu Jia from China Daily on the regional prospects for the new Chinese Government led by Xi Jinping that includes the comments of Nicolas de Pedro, Research Fellow at CIDOB.
According to the survey conducted by Iberglobal, CIDOB ranks as the second most important Spanish think tank, while Real Instituto Elcano holds the top position. This is the fourth edition of this survey, which has led to the list of the ten most influential think tanks in Spain.
Article of Ian Black, Middle East editor of The Guardian, that includes the opinions of Francis Ghilès, Senior Research Fellow of CIDOB, about the DRS, the Algerian state intelligence service.
Article by Carmen Claudin, Research Director at the Centro de Estudios y Documentación Internacionales de Barcelona (Barcelona Centre for International Affairs – CIDOB)
Article of Borzou Daragahi for The Financial Times about the impact of hostage crisis on Algeria's economy. “To be reliable source of gas is a linchpin of Algerian policy,” said Frances Ghiles, a north Africa specialist at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs. “The idea that supply could be cut is anathema to the Algerian leadership. Trying to blow up a gasfield may have motivated the brutality.”
Analysis by Elena Kosolapova, from Azeri news agency Trend, on the potential role of the Central Asian republics in the resolution of the Afghan conflict that includes the comments of Nicolas de Pedro, Research Fellow at CIDOB.
Elena Kosolapova, from Azeri news agency Trend, interviews Nicolas de Pedro, Research Fellow at CIDOB, on the potential impact in Central Asia of the US/NATO troops withdrawal from Afghanistan. Further instability or conflict in Afghanistan may have an impact on the Central Asian republics, European expert Nicolas de Pedro believes. "The Central Asian republics are not going to play a meaningful role in the resolution of the Afghan problem," de Pedro told Trend on Friday. According to the expert, Afghanistan's problems are very much related to the upcoming presidential elections. Moreover the likely dramatic drop in international funds for Afghanistan is going to have a serious impact on the Afghan economy, he said. "I don't think the Central Asian countries nor other regional stakeholders are ready or wiling to fulfill this gap," he said. Meanwhile, de Pedro does not see the threats from Afghanistan as an imminent and existential for Central Asian countries. "The main issues they must face are endogenous and mostly related to the own nature of their regimes resulting in institutional weakness, poor governance and lack of prospects for their young population," he said.
CIDOB’s researcher Marc Gafarot analyses the current situation in Catalonia from an international perspective.
Saudi Arabia, which pumps almost $1 billion-worth of crude every day, has expanded spending on jobs and welfare. Elsewhere, where governments are less flush with cash, efforts to rein in the militias and extremist groups will be difficult as long as there are few economic opportunities for Arab youths, said Eckart Woertz, a Persian Gulf specialist at the Barcelona Centre for International Affairs (CIDOB).
Analysis by Elena Kosolapova, from azeri news agency Trend, on the Kazakhstan cabinet reshuffle that includes the comments of Nicolas de Pedro, Researcher at CIDOB.
Kyrgyzstan’s benefits from joining to the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia are questionable, researcher at CIDOB Barcelona Centre for International Affairs Nicolas de Pedro believes. “The worsening prospects of the Russian economy and the Western sanctions make short-to-mid-term benefits for Kyrgyz economy more dubious,” de Pedro told Trend.
Analysis by Li Xiang in Paris and Cecily Liu from China Daily on the prospects for the China-EU relationship that includes the comments of Nicolas de Pedro, Research Fellow at CIDOB.
Turkish public television interviews Marc Gafarot, expert in international processes of secession at CIDOB, in order to understand the current state of relations between Catalonia and Spain, the outlook on the independence referendum and possible future scenarios.
The performance of the Algerian team in Brazil has provided the perfect fodder for a deep-rooted pétainisme which likes nothing more than defeat. The philosopher Alain Finkielkraut embodies this irrational fear of an invasion of France by its former colonial subjects. His attitude explains why the extreme-right Front National led by Marine Le Pen came top of the polls in the recent European elections.