‘My Country First’ Approach Threatens Achievement of Global Goals

Two years after the Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by all UN member states, leaders at the G20 summit in Hamburg must strengthen the commitment towards these historic global goals. A rising “my country first” approach by many heads of government threatens the realization of the goals. Even worse: International spillover effects caused by many […]

Talking Truth to Turkey

How scientific analysis can help countering President Erdogan’s fake narrative of Turkey’s thriving democracy and why the European Union should reconsider its policy towards EU accession countries. In his official message for Europe Day on 9 May 2017, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that his country “which has been a part of Europe historically, […]

As Populists Rise in the West, Arab Autocrats Rejoice

The decay of democratic norms in European and U.S. policy-making plays into the hands of autocratic leaders in the Middle East and North Africa. While Prime Minister Theresa May officially announced the United Kingdom’s intention to leave the EU on 29 March 2017, and constant leaks and news from the White House about President Donald […]

Moon Jae-in at a rally in Seoul, by Jee Su Na, via flickr.com, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Is South Korea’s New President up to the Job?

Former human-rights attorney Moon Jae-in has won the South Korean presidential elections. His supporters expect above all a fight against cronyism and fundamental economic reforms. Relations with neighbors and allies are tense. On Wednesday, Moon Jae-in was sworn in for a five-year term as South Korea’s president. Winning 41 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s […]

How Western Populism Weakens Democracy in Ukraine

Populism in Europe, and in the West generally, plays into the hands of anti-democratic forces in Ukraine – and supports Russia’s destabilizing influence. Europe’s rising populist surge threatens Ukraine’s democratic future. During the Euromaidan protests in 2013/2014 and their aftermath, when the anti-Yanukovych opposition came to power, some European media denounced what they described as […]

Serbia’s PM Vučić: Yet Another Populist Strongman?

Public desire for strong leadership might allow Serbia’s prime minister, Aleksandar Vučić, soon to become president. But will he be able to steer the country through the current tide of regional and domestic tensions? Serbia’s populist prime minister, Aleksandar Vučić, will stand in elections on 2 April in a bid to become the country’s third […]

Photo: President of South Africa Jacob Zuma

State Capture in South Africa

A recently-released report on State Capture indicates that one family could seemingly succeed in skewing the spending priorities of the government in Pretoria. It’s a crisis induced by weak state institutions and it has enraged many South Africans. South African Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela’s much anticipated report on state capture released on November 3, 2016 […]

Photo: President of Liberia Ellen Jonhson-Sirleaf

Gender Equality – The Exception of Rwanda

Women are generally underrepresented in leadership positions. One rare exception to this rule is Rwanda, one of the most hard-line autocratic regimes. What can sub-Saharan African countries tell us about the relationship between gender inequality and democracy? According to the latest Global Gender Gap Report published last October by the World Economic Forum Rwanda has […]

Picture: Cracked EU vs Russia flags. Ukrainian crisis conceptual image. Foto: Bröckelnde Flaggen der EU und Russland.

EU-Russia Sanctions: An Unsteady Deadlock

The European Union and Russia have been locked in an economic struggle over Ukraine for two years. With Donald Trump the next president of the United States, the West’s Russia policy might substantially change – and Europe’s Eastern policy is today more uncertain than ever. In July 2014, following Russia’s unilateral annexation of Crimea and […]