Tag Archives: europe

German General Elections: Europe – Quo vadis?


By Julia Huentemann, 2nd year International Relations Undergraduate at King’s College London and Editorial Assistant at International Relations Today.

The Results

Last Sunday 24th September, the German citizens elected a new parliament – the Bundestag – and decided to let Angela Merkel serve another four years as German Chancellor. Starting her fourth consecutive term, she now equals the record of her predecessor Helmut Kohl. Even though nobody actually doubted that Merkel respectively the CDU would make it, the result is far behind optimistic expectations and means a weakened position for Merkel.

Having run in office as German Chancellor for twelve years and being the leader of Europe’s largest economy since 2005[1], experienced “Mutti” Merkel tends to be seen as the ultimate safe option for stability in Germany and Europe in turbulent times on the political stages at home and abroad. But Merkel’s popularity plummeted significantly in 2015 as a result to her controversial immigration policies and the result reveals that her public support is less broad than assumed.

Even though the CDU gathered most votes with about 33%, this result means a loss of almost 9% compared to the elections in 2013. It would be ignorant to talk about a victory and it forces Merkel to find new partners for the required majorities to build a government, since the present coalition partner SPD is not willing to function as such any longer. Facing extreme losses of votes itself the SPD understands its role in the opposition working on a profile that significantly differs from that of the CDU. Moreover, there is to notice a growing resistance towards Merkel from members of the CSU (CDU´s sister party) who have been claiming a maximum limit of migrants and blame Merkel for the bad outcome.

With the main centre parties CDU and SPD both enjoying considerably less popularity, the actual winner of the 2017 General Elections is clearly the hard right “Alternative for Germany” (AfD), the first nationalist party to win seats in the Bundestag after 1949. This development is alarming and reveals that nationalist and thus anti-European tendencies are also very popular in Germany, especially in Eastern Germany, which makes further European integration – as recently claimed by the French Premier Emmanuel Macron – more difficult.


The political landscape in Germany

Led by Angela Merkel, the CDU (Christian Democratic Union) is Germany’s main centre-right party and has been advertising its election campaign with the slogan “For a Germany where life is enjoyable”.  It is said to rather represent employers´ interests and its dealing with the recent Diesel affaire can be taken as an example for this claim. The Conservative Party is most likely the equivalent in GB. Despite having lost ca. 9 % compared to 2013, the CDU remains the strongest party with about 33 %. It needs to be considered that this result is the sum of CDU´s and CSU´s (her sister party) votes.

Its main competitor on the political landscape is the SPD (Social Democratic Party), Germany’s main centre-left party. According to its slogan “It is time for more justice: securing the future and strengthening Europe” the SPD is focusing on justice and equality in a strong Europe. It is said to rather represent the employees´ interests and can be seen as the pendant to the Labour Party in GB. Led by the former president of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz, whose candidature had sparked an initial rise in support that subsided shortly after, the party has experienced a severe defeat with only 20,5 % of the votes compared to about 25,5 % in 2013.

The third popular party with almost 13 % nationwide became the right, nationalist, Euro-sceptic AfD (Alternative for Germany). Having welcomed Brexit and Trump, the anti-immigration, anti-Islam party is now represented in 13 out of 16 state parliaments and in the Bundestag as the National Parliament. Ever since 2015 with the constant influx of migrants, resentment and fear towards Merkel’s welcoming migration policies had been rising, feeding into the AfD’s plan of attracting support. Having increased ca. 8 % in votes since 2013, AfD leading candidate Alexander Gauland claimes that the AfD is “going to reconquer our land and our people”[2]

There are three more parties represented in the new Bundestag having exceeded the threshold of 5 percent: The FDP (Liberal Democratic Party) enjoying a support of 10,7 % (+ 5,9 %) of the votes, The Green Party focusing on environmental issues with 8,9 % (+ 0,5 %) and the Left Party standing for anti-Capitalism and women´s rights with 9,2 % (+ 0,5 %).

In this new parliament the two main centre parties unite just about half of the votes while the other half is shared in almost equal parts by four smaller parties. This distribution of seats is unprecedented in the German Bundestag and means a challenge to find a governing majority.

The Reasons

Of course, this is mere speculation, but taking into account the findings of political research AfD´s performance can be understood as a kind of protest against the establishment and especially against the “GroKo” (Great Coalition) which obviously has been experienced as a political standstill. Only a minority of those who vote for AfD are actually convinced of its program, but rather wanted to demonstrate resistance against current political practice. The fact that there hardly seems to be a significant difference between the program of the established parties also might have fostered the seduction to vote for the AfD. [3]

It is most likely that this result also reveals dissatisfaction with Merkel´s immigration policy. Obviously, politicians in office have failed to recognize public fears and worries and to take them seriously enough. I strongly believe that most of my German fellow citizens are willing to help refugees and welcome them as valuable members in our society, provided that they are willing to live according to our western democratic values and do not violate our laws. Unfortunately, some of them did and to the annoyance of the victims they mostly went unpunished. This is a policy hard to understand and a clampdown might have helped to avoid this development. I am confident that 13 % for the AfD is not an expression for anti-refugee or anti-European attitude but rather an expression for dissatisfaction about how politicians deal with the challenges coming across with refugee influx and European integration.

 The Consequences – for Germany and for Europe

Merkel needs to form a coalition and without the SPD the only realistic option is CDU/CSU with FDP and the Green Party. The CDU/CSU is also referred to as ‘black’, the FDP as ‘yellow’ and the Green apparently as ‘green’, which is why this combination is called the ‘Jamaica-Coalition’ relating to the Jamaican flag.

Even though there seems to be a general willingness to cooperate, content-related overlaps need to be identified and especially in terms of the European process this could become a matter of dispute. While the Green openly professes a strong Europe, the FDP is more reserved, especially when it comes to a shared fiscal policy. Inspired by the idea of negotiating the impossible (‘Fluch’ = ‘curse’), DIE ZEIT (a serious German weekly paper) titled as follows:


It will be interesting to see, if, respectively how, the three of them will negotiate a compromise, because this will not only determine Germany´s but also Europe´s future.

Emmanuel Macron already expressed his worries that a coalition with the Liberal Party might cause problems for his plans concerning the European development. It is just smart and fair that he brings forward his claims before the coalition negotiations start, because they should be part of the negotiations.

And finally I don´t want to miss mentioning that the SPD as the leader of the opposition in Parliament inevitably stands for a pro-European course and will hopefully provide some positive impulses whatever the government brings forward. This could be one of the issues where the SPD could differentiate from the CDU/CSU in its next campaign. And as we have learnt from Macron: it is actually possible to win an election with pro-European claims against all odds.


[1] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/aug/24/germanys-general-election-all-you-need-to-know.

[2] http://www.tagesschau.de/newsticker/liveblog-bundestagswahl-101.html#Reaktionen-bei-Union-und-SPD.

[3] http://www.tagesschau.de/inland/btw17/index.html.



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The anatomy of TERROR


By Diana Ecaterina Borcea, a first year War Studies Undergraduate at King’s College London and European Editor for International Relations Today.

 10:35pm Monday, May 22nd 2017. Massive explosion taking place at the Manchester Arena, shortly after the end of 20.000 people packed concert.

Two months earlier, on March 22nd, a 52-year-old British citizen drove a car into the pedestrians on the south side of the Westminster Bridge.

The timeline of the UK terrorist attacks started to count more and more incidents and deaths of the innocent since the beginning of the year, leading the detectives into the hunt for a terrorist network, especially after the Iraqi Islamic State’s responsibility claim over the bombing which happened earlier this week. However, the public proved itself to be increasingly confused in the attempt to contour a broader understanding of what the terrorists are looking for in their operations – or even better – what the real terror is meant to achieve.

Considering that UK has just been through the worst attack since 2007, the polarization of a pure anti-humanity agenda, successfully restored under the international spotlight since the beginning of the year proved once again, its underlying permanent influence over the global society, regardless of the geo-political targeting of the attacks. Therefore, what is actually primarily important to understand is the concept that describes best the perpetrators’ intentions in their offensive procedure, which essentially relies on the very definition of terror. They aim for publicity (which by its own means both attracting other individuals or groups on the side of the perpetrators and breaking the rational will of the targeted mass), they generally intend to deteriorate the image of a recognized government in the eyes of both the world and their own citizens, they inspire a super-wave of collective guilt amongst the individuals and ultimately, strive for a socio-political (and sometimes economic) paralysis of the targeted state-system, once the faith and the support of the masses are completely lost. From this point of view, UK’s constant response to the attacks can be theoretically interpreted as being antiterrorist, because it mainly relies on collective national security measures meant to keep sheltering the rights of the citizens and the rule of law. However, the increasing density of the attacks does raise some vital questions about the state’s protective capability, given the large numbers of casualties caused only since the beginning of this year. The more successful attacks, the lower the people’s faith in their own security and safety and implicitly, the lower the trust in the state’s protective ability. So what will happen next?

It is clear that unlike the Unites States, the British government does not see terrorism as warfare, nor does it look at it through the crime analogy. What UK has actually done so far is considering terrorism as being a matter of disease, which implies a cause-symptom treatment based on arrests and increased prevention through additional security measures. It is certainly important to note the achievements of this approach, as so far the danger of a social paralysis has been avoided and regardless of the extent of the destruction caused by the perpetrators of extreme violence, life went on. But how long will this last for?

A more relevant idea to bear in mind when dissociating terrorism is that due to the ever-changing nature of the phenomenon (including the targeting vision, the conduct of the operations, the tactics and devices used etc.), there is not and will never be a clear, comprising and universally valid definition for the case. This fact itself plays an important role in the broad understanding process of how and why the perpetrators act the way they do against the society. The psychological view of the attacker prototype does explain the individual’s perspective before and during the ‘pull of the trigger’, as it acknowledges the psychological map and processes taking place in human mind, which are, to a certain extent, quite similar to the ones of a soldier on the battlefield. It fails, however, to identify the vague transition between the ideological, religious, political, economic or personal motivation of an individual to carry out an act of extreme violence and the actual process of making it happen. In other words, there is no clear link between the theory and the practice of inducing terror. What is more, the group cohesion theory can barely justify the determination and outstanding operational focus of the terrorist groups and yet, it does not even reach the lone wolves’ case studies. Perhaps, this is one element that makes the latest London attacks stand out in the series of the recent attacks, because if the individuals acted on their own, one can hardly identify – not to mention understand – the mental realm of the terrorist. Thus, there is a general state of confusion between the target and the shooter. Unlike traditional warfare, the war on terror is not just asymmetrical from the grand strategic point of view, but it is also extremely irregular when it comes to the individual level of analysis.

Therefore, the thinner the correlation between the victim and the killer, the more endangered the conditions of life, regardless of the geographical zone discussed. What is certain, though, is that the continuation of the attacks against the human society has become in the past decades, an inherent matter of reality. Whether the hits similar to the one Britain took earlier this week will intensify or not, it is important to remember that terrorism is now a big part of the world we live in. The attackers are not prone to fundamental changes on any level of analysis, but what needs consideration is how (from the citizens to the states and to the international community) the society will ‘digest’ and cope with this traumatizing reality and the first step on this path is actually deciding whether the surviving mechanism of the world as we know it is actually that bulletproof against terror as we thought it was.

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Are you a Tory? Go talk to your MP before it gets even more messy…

Adam is reading International Relations at the Department of War Studies and is the blog’s editor for Europe.


When asked about the British exit this summer I usually cautioned both those who suggested that the UK will end up ultimately pushing the actual exit into the unforeseeable future forever, and those who suggested that the exit will happen soon without much delay. I did that because what seemed as the best strategy for the Brits was a degree of ambiguity, taking the time to prepare for the complex negotiations and define of the priorities, tacitly leaving the EU in a cloud of uncertainty. From the moment David Cameron announced his resignation, delegating the responsibility for the post-referendum fallout on whoever would become the next PM, and them hummed out of his office, this indeed looked like the path the UK was going to take. Uncertainty was the name of the game, while clarity was demanded by prominent EU figures such as Martin Schulz and Guy Verhofstadt. It took a few months for the new government to act in any conclusive way and to give away hints of which strategy it was going to pursue. The result? Somewhat messy…

To those without particularly delicate knowledge of the inner working of the Conservative party, the sudden announcement by Theresa May about the definitive triggering of article 50 of the Treaty was a sudden shift in the rhetoric of the UK. A few weeks ago there weren’t evident signs of the government having agreed on a date. The lack of commitment was believed to have the potential to win some time within the UK and its preparation of the negotiating strategy, as well as to try give the UK’s political representation some space to try pursue negotiations before the actual process is sparked. Today, we of course haven’t got a date, but we have the next closest thing: the upper limit. Any unofficial negotiations that would precede the actual process triggered by the invocation of article 50 were repeatedly dismissed by the heads of the EU members states and by the representatives of the EU institutions, and so it is understandable that this isn’t a reason to prolong uncertainty. When it comes to coining a strategy for the negotiation and assessing priorities, the short period of time in which this is to be finalised is worrying for several reasons, though.

Is the UK ready?

The main question would be whether the UK is ready to start negotiating, or rather whether it will definitely be ready by March. So far, there is mixed evidence on this at best. The government refuses to give much away. Apparently that is in order not to undermine its position vis-a-vis its European counterparts, in fact that seems to be the pivotal point of the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whose ministry was allegedly still significantly understaffed some two months ago. When reporting on his preparatory works in September, Davis told the House of Commons that he’s “going to take the time to get it right”. I wonder how many observers expected that to mean until March 2017. Two things raise awareness in this respect: first, what appears as Davis trying to sell the “hard” outcome of the exit when he says things like there are countries outside the EU that do “a better job, frankly, of exporting to the single market than the UK does”; second, the recent “warning” Davis issued to the EU concerning their treatment of the City. When vaguely referring to the potential costs of depriving the City’s financial institutions of their right to continue to fulfil the role of Europe’s main financial centre Davis is not spelling out what his continental counterparts wouldn’t be aware of. The aim of the message is more political than informative and its tone seems to indicate something between a threat and a self-reassurance. In any case, it sounds confrontational and bullish and reminds me of one of the reasons why have some UK politicians been historically struggling when trying to get their point across at the EU level in the first place. One therefore wonders, is he the man for the job?


Immediately related is the issue of a seeming split of preferences among the individual cabinet ministers. Two figures are most prominent in this division on emphasis: the already mentioned David Davis and The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond. The former operates with a rhetoric emphasising the need for the exercise of control over domestic matters, the latter rushes to the Wall Street when such rhetoric ignites a fall of the Pound and threatens the state gilts. Hammond reminded us that the Brits apparently did not vote to become poorer in the referendum. A conflict of approaches to the departure can also be illustrated on the indication of March as the starting point of the negotiations. If it was supposed to be an evidence of good will on behalf of the UK’s Prime Minister (since this ways the next EP elections would avoid the participation of British constituencies), the talk by Davis and the alike ultimately jeopardised the possible positive effects it could have had. As far as the domestic audience is concerned, Theresa May once again leaves it in a cloud of considerable uncertainty. What seems like a horror scenario, though, is the prospect of eventually scapegoating the Chancellor of the Exchequer who represents the voice of reason for those who are aware of the necessity of remaining as integrated in the economic spheres of the EU and the single market as possible. At the end of the day, the question is of course, who is pulling by the shorter end in this struggle for the exit strategy? That depends to a large extent on one seemingly dedicated woman who sees herself in midst of seizing her lifetime opportunity.

New orientation?

Theresa May’s speech at the Conservative Party conference has been talked about as the reference to a turnover, or “silent revolution” in orientation of Tory politics. It might also serve as a hint of May’s preferences when it comes down to the choice between the single market and the economic stability, or full control taken back home, put in simplistic terms. One way of analysing the references to the new more people-oriented government politics is through the lens of an adaptation to a post-referendum Britain where three factors play a decisive role. First, there is no longer an EU referendum to promise to secure extra votes in the next general election; second, the Labour party has arguably drifted from the centre to the left of the imaginary political spectrum, and even according to some of its own voters or supporters is not hegemonic in the sphere of the middle and lower-middle class households; third, now is the time that should reveal the extent to which the UKIP had been a one trick pony. If one of the drives of the support for UKIP and the Leave campaign was a feeling of general alienation and estrangement of a particular segment of the population, it might be a good idea to exploit that by reorienting the ideological basis of the Tories and filling in the gap after the crumbling UKIP. The remarks about citizens of nowhere, I suggest, are symptoms of this reorientation and as such are not quite painting the image of the global and open UK referred to before the referendum. Furthermore, it doesn’t take much creativity of imagination to envisage that such a setting would favour a stance at the negotiation table that is going to appease the demand for the most immediate and visible changes rather than the economically more stable and safe (at least when viewed through the lens of a certain outlook) partial adherence to a status quo that has been rejected in a referendum.

Will May be able to keep her word despite possible court decision?

One more point needs to be made regarding the indication of when Article 50 is supposed to be triggered. The government shows no intention to lay down its negotiation’s corner stones before the parliament agrees to them. I don’t wish to explain my position on whether that is right or wrong here, I simply want to point out to the fact that this approach has now been discussed at the High Court and is expected to be referred to the Supreme Court in December. After the hearing last week, the press reported on the surprisingly weak case of the side representing the government. This included references to expert legal opinion that was much more hesitant to rule out the potential ruling of the Supreme Court that parliamentary approval of the invocation of Article 50 is necessary. If that is the outcome of this legal battle over the Parliament’s role in the exit, May will have about three months between the final verdict and the end of March to get an agreement through the House of Commons. This prospect provokes natural scepticism and it seems more likely that May would lose her credibility over this as it would mean she cannot keep her word and does not exercise a sufficient degree of control over UK-EU divorce related matters.

To sum up

In the meanwhile, there seems to be little understanding for the endeavour of Theresa May amongst the 27, which has already met without Britain in Bratislava. Despite the indication of March 2017, the counterparts are about as clueless about what the UK’s position is as is the home parliament. General cluelessness might turn into common annoyance, common annoyance might turn into united hostility. In addition to that, prospects of division, a prospect of credibility loss, a prospect of vast economic costs, a prospect of an official overarching reorientation of the country (contrary to the claims about new open global UK) are basically the program of a government which has not been voted in. It looks like the most responsibility is now with the Conservative MPs that oppose the so called “Hard Brexit” and the prospects of general shambles outlined above: they should seriously consider the motion of no confidence if they aren’t already operating with it behind the closed doors. If I was a British voter and I had a conservative MP, that’s what I’d urge her or him to do. The prospect of new elections could be enough of a leverage if applied to a PM with an already questionable mandate, cautious about the necessity to secure the formerly pro-referendum votes that the Tories can expect to miss this time. It could immediately serve as the Parliament’s leverage way ahead of the probable Supreme Court hearing.

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What’s Next for Political Negotiations Between Europe and the UK?

By Derek Eggleston, 2nd year student reading BA International Relations at the War Studies Department of King’s College London, Publicity and Merchandise Officer of the War Studies Society.


As the numbness of shock begins to wear off, the gravity of the situation begins to truly set in: the UK has crashed out of formal participation on the continent in a shockingly ludicrous fashion. No, I am not talking about falling 2-1 to Iceland to leave the UEFA Euro 2016 competition and continue a decade-long of knockout stage woes, I am discussing—of course—the momentous decision of British (or should I say, English and Welsh) voters to leave the European Union. Now that the dust has settled it comes time to begin the arduous process of negotiating the practical implementation of such a consequential political directive from the British public. Markets are responding as predicted, with initial shock and high levels of volatility in what has become a self-fulfilling prophecy of economic and emotional shock at the prospect of the Brexit [1]. Beyond this, the political implications are just beginning to unravel as Europe goes through quite possibly one of the most important events it has been through since WWII. There are a plethora of implications that could be analysed: what happens to Scotland and Northern Ireland, the fate of the Labour party, and the likelihood of similar populism gaining traction in other member-states. The politics have and can continue to be discussed for a long time to come. This article will focus particularly on one aspect: the dynamic of EU-UK negotiations in the immediate future.

As if the re-negotiation of the structuring of the relationship between two massive political and economic actors were not hard enough, London and Brussels have both introduced steadfast and vying ultimatums. On the European side, the mantra is that negotiations, informal or formal, may not continue until Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon has been invoked and the 2-year process of formal recession from the EU has commenced [2]. On London’s side, Cameron’s government has been as thoroughly resolute to insist such actions will not be undertaken by his government. He is ready to ‘steady the ship’ but has abdicated the onus to his predecessor to ‘be the captain that steers’ the UK through uncharted waters [3]. The question, of course, is simple: who blinks first? Will the EU relent and commence in negotiations with the UK to decide the future of relations, will Cameron be forced to initiate Article 50 in order to commence negotiations, or will we remain in a negotiation-less limbo until September and the new government? The answer, in short, is that: Cameron will most likely not initiate Article 50, the EU will not officially engage in negotiations, yet we will not be stuck in limbo until a new government.

Why is it unlikely Cameron would invoke Article 50? Because too much is at stake for Cameron to hastily act on the country’s future. Domestic political pressure and discord has reached an all-time high and even staunch leave supporters are urging for caution and patience to sort matters out before triggering the all-important Article 50 [4]. Its premature trigger by the all-but-gone Prime Minister would be the nail in the coffin of his already extremely damaged political legacy as PM. Why is it unlikely EU leaders will go back on its word to begin formal negotiations and gain leverage? Europe faces division more so than ever before. After Farage’s grim prognosis on the future of the EU [5], European leaders must now more than ever (in addition to reforms which must take place and are outside the scope of this article) stand together for their European project that risks bursting at the seams. For EU officials to try and engage in negotiation would simply be counter-productive to the necessary cause of unity at the moment. With Article 50 not triggered and Europe unwilling to discuss terms with the UK, where does this leave the state of affairs?

The ultimate answer, far from a negotiation-less limbo, is a tacit game of chess utilising strategic communications and polished statements to gain leverage between now and September. Both sides have their unique aims. Britain’s aims (although dependent upon the incoming government) are largely centred around retaining access to all of the economic benefits of trade in the single European market and its 500 Million consumers without subjugation to certain laws from Brussels. Simplistically, Europe wants Britain to abide by its rules to benefit from its trade to send an example to other states: you cannot leave and get whatever you want [6]. Although it is notable that Europe’s ambition may be harder to pinpoint. Whilst harsher terms would send a message to other states that anti-EU populism is not a successful route, still it is true that painless incorporation of an independent Britain does help the EU economy. Regardless of which side of the argument Europe takes in deciding their aims, they may not be able to directly negotiate these terms, but the posturing and the art of utility maximising on each side in this deal has already begun. On the British side, the future is being proposed publicly by both sides. Those on the leave side are insisting on the utopic deals they will receive beyond what Norway gets, namely access to the single market without the acceptance of labour mobility [7]. On the remain side, those such as Cameron are insisting that these specifics in no way override the desire on both sides to make this work in a peaceful and symbiotic manner [8]. On the European side of things, leaders are insisting Britain will not be able to pick and choose what EU laws they want to adhere to and which ones they want to shirk [9].

What does this mean for future negotiations? It is too soon to decide who will relent, especially on important matters such as the immigration-single market conundrum. However, one thing is certain. Despite no formal negotiations and the refusal of Cameron to trigger Article 50, as is always the case with politics, there are workarounds which both sides are utilising to maximise their leverage. EU leaders may have dictated there are to be no informal negotiations, however this is simply not practical. The terms of the Brexit are massively important questions and politicians are not leaving them until September. Both sides are strategically attempting to paint the picture in the public sphere of what terms will be. Back and forth through the media, politicians are indirectly and directly responding to dissenting pictures of the future with pictures of their own in an attempt to gain the upper-hand before formal negotiations begin, which does not align with the ‘no informal negotiations’ edict endorsed by EU leaders. This game has, however, died down on the British side as leaders begin stepping down and sorting out domestic disarray. The ball is in no one’s court but is rather being tossed back and forth for all to see by means of strategic declarations and attempts to publicly shape the negotiations. This strategic manoeuvring will continue right up until Article 50’s triggering this autumn and one thing is for certain: sooner or later something has got to give. Politicians cannot scramble forever and consensus must be at least approached if not reached sometime in the near future to mitigate uncertainty and market volatility. However, given the obstinacy of both sides, I would not hold my breath on getting actual answers on important policy negotiations for quite some time.


[1] Perkowski, Mateusz. “Any Impact of ‘Brexit’ Vote on Ag Likely to Be Temporary, Experts Say.” Capital Press. June 24, 2014. Accessed June 28, 2016. http://www.capitalpress.com/Nation_World/Nation/20160624/any-impact-of-brexit-vote-on-ag-likely-to-be-temporary-experts-say.

[2] Henley, Jon, Jennifer Rankin, and Philip Oltermann. “European Leaders Rule out Informal Brexit Talks before Article 50 Is Triggered.” The Guardian. June 27, 2016. Accessed June 28, 2016. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/27/europe-leaders-crunch-talks-brexit-fallout.

[3] “David Cameron’s Resignation Speech: Full Transcript.” Newsweek. June 24, 2016. Accessed June 28, 2016. http://www.newsweek.com/david-camerons-resignation-speech-full-text-474040.

[4] Kylie MacLellan, Kylie, and William James. “Brexit Leader: There’s ‘no Rush’ to Leave EU, Free Trade Will Continue.” Yahoo Finance. June 26, 2016. Accessed June 28, 2016. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/leading-brexit-campaigner-johnson-says-uk-retain-access-213100874–business.html.

[5] “‘Why Are You Here?’: Nigel Farage Heckled in European Parliament.” ABC News. June 28, 2016. Accessed June 28, 2016. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-06-28/brexit-nigel-farage-addresses-european-parliament/7551854.

[6] Shalal, Andrea. “UK Can’t Cherry Pick Trade Deals Post-Brexit: German Employer Group.” Reuters UK. June 21, 2016. Accessed June 28, 2016. http://uk.reuters.com/article/us-britain-eu-germany-business-idUKKCN0Z70PY.

[7] Rankin, Jennifer, and Philip Oltermann. “Brussels Rejects Boris Johnson ‘pipe Dream’ over Single Market Access.” The Guardian. June 27, 2016. Accessed June 28, 2016. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/jun/27/brussels-rejects-boris-johnson-pipe-dream-over-single-market-access.

[8] “EU Wants ‘closest Links’ with UK after Brexit Says Cameron.” BBC News. June 28, 2016. Accessed June 28, 2016. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36656753.

[9] Rankin, Jennifer, Kate Connolly, Luke Harding, Jon Henley, and Heather Stewart. “Angela Merkel: No Special Favours for UK over Single Market.” The Guardian. June 28, 2016. Accessed June 28, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jun/28/brussels-eu-summit-leaders-push-quick-divorce-cameron-germany-brexit.


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U.S Missile Shield Dispute: Romania, a voiceless pawn on a foreign chessboard

Diana Borcea is a Romanian incoming first year undergraduate at King’s College London and will start pursuing a BA in War Studies this September. Her main interests in the research of international relations cover subjects like security and conflict in Eastern Europe, history of diplomacy & conflicts, military strategy and war in international order.


With Russia’s latest public threatening declarations against Romania and other eastern European states that have agreed to be involved in the US military defense shield, a clear, constantly strengthened message against NATO’s new allies has become the main coordinate of new tensions in Europe. The $800 million shield officially switched on in the Deveselu base (Romania) has proven to cause only the beginning of a whole new series of threats coming from the eastern superpower, making Romania a key element in the international dispute.[1]

The Russian concerns had their debut back in 2011, when the American plan to build a missile shield with defensive purposes against states like Iran came closer to reality, as Romania, Poland, Turkey and Spain have all agreed to join the strategic plan. [2] Five years later, major parts of the US military shield became operational, with the officially opened missile site (Deveselu, Romania) capable of shooting down enemy rockets which could reach areas of important European cities. The danger of having developed missile shield close to their borders has determined Russia’s latest reaction the a new addition to the NATO’s defense plan, in May 2016, when the Russian president Vladimir Putin has made a strong warning regarding Moscow’s retaliatory actions due to the threat of the missile shield, alerting Romania and Poland that they could become Kremlin’s enemies, as they are hosting hostile American military elements.[3]

The continuous dispute between the ex-Cold War enemies has, however, transformed Romania in a voiceless actor on the two superpowers’ stage and neither the Romanian leaders, nor the people proved to have acknowledged the very essence of the “play”.  It is explainable how, on the 12th of May, earlier this year, the President of Romania, Klaus Iohannis, has not attended the official opening ceremony of the Deveselu missile site, in spite of the event’s indisputable historical importance and the very presence of NATO’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg and US Deputy Secretary of Defense, Robert Work at the ceremony.[4] The absence of both the Romanian president and the SIE leader, Mihai Razvan-Ungureanu, was not clearly explained by the officials, but has stirred the critique of the public opinion, as it could have been misinterpreted by the American diplomats as a sign of uncertainty in the Romanian foreign policy. Consequently, the voice of Romania had barely proven its existence regardless of the crucial diplomatic occasion.

 Despite the official declarations coming from the NATO’s representatives, who have insisted on the fact that the military base is not directed against Russia, [5] Kremlin still sees in the SM-3 interceptors which are to be set up on the 430 acre-large Ballistic Missile Defense Site (near Deveselu Romanian Airbase) a serious threat. Thus, under the apparent absence of dialogue between Washington and Moscow, Romania is to face all the accusations and warnings of potential Russian military interventions across its borders. The Romanian response? A moderate, partially uncertain presidential declaration from Klaus Iohannis, stating that the future of Romanian security is unpredictable[6], considering the Russian reactions, which did not, however, prevent Romania from getting involved in the international Program “Security in the Black Sea Region. Shared Challenges, Sustainable Future”.[7]

Romania’s lack of voice – or better yet, alleged “silence” regarding its very own position and security in the missile dispute could also be explained by the fact that the country occupied only the 41st position in the 2016 GFP, whereas the two superpowers who seem to have been given vital rights to decide Bucharest’s faith are the world’s top two military forces.[8] Considering the real numbers, the danger truly comes from the East, and after the obvious American absence in the Crimean Crisis, a saving intervention for Romania in a potential conflict with Moscow seems quite unlikely. It must also be noted that, apart from Russia, Romania’s closest neighbour, Ukraine was ranked the 30th in the 2016 GFP, worsening the circumstances for the Carpathian country.

So, while the Romania’s relations with Russia keep deteriorating, the multi-purposed American plans are at a real risk of unwanted exposure, as an important voice from the U.S nuclear expertize highlighted the unnecessary need of American defensive missile base in Eastern Europe, because there is no probability of an Iranian nuclear war in the next two decades.[9] In this case, why is Romania half-passively eager to further involve in defensive plans which are to dramatically deteriorate crucial relations with the eastern superpower?

The answer which should have come from Cotroceni is still missing, whereas the dangerous threats from the east keep gathering and have managed to eclipse the importance of the missile host state itself. The only certain thing that remains, in conclusion, is the danger of a real conflict with Russia (who threatened to send Tu-22M3 supersonic bombers in Crimea as reaction to the missile shield[10]) and a few quarrels between Romanian politicians, who have not yet come up with a strategy to secure the faith of the country.



[1] Robin Emmot, “U.S. activates Romanian missile defense site, angering Russia”, Reuters, May 12, 2016. Accessed: June 10, 2016. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nato-shield-idUSKCN0Y30JX

[2] Andrew Osborn, “Dmitry Medvedev threatens US over planned missile defense shield”, The Telegraph, November 23, 2011. Accessed: June 12, 2016. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/8910909/Dmitry-Medvedev-threatens-US-over-planned-missile-defence-shield.html

[3] Denis Dyomkin, “Putin says Romania, Poland may now be in Russia’s cross-hairs”, Reuters, May 27, 2016. Accessed: June 7, 2016. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-europe-shield-idUSKCN0YI2ER

[4] Dodo Romniceanu, Mircea Marian, Alexandra Chiric, “Iohannis a RATAT un MOMENT ISTORIC. Președintele ROMÂNIEI NU PARTICIPĂ la INAUGURAREA bazei americane de la Deveselu” [Iohannis has missed a historical moment. The President of Romania DOES NOT ATTEND the inauguration of the Deveselu American base], Evenimentul Zilei, May 12, 2016. Accessed: June 10, 2016. http://www.evz.ro/secretarul-general-al-nato-la-cotroceni.html


[5] Space Report, “Deveselu Base, Romania”, May 12, 2016. Accessed: June 7, 2016. http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/facility/deveselu.htm


[6] Mediafax, “Răspunsul lui Iohannis la ameninţările Rusiei împotriva României: Declaraţiile din partea Rusiei nu pot să ne intimideze, arată că abordarea noastră e corectă” [Iohannises answer to Russian threats: The Russian Declarations cannot intimidate us, they indicate our rightful approach], Ziarul Financiar, May 31, 2016. Accessed: June 10, 2016. http://www.zf.ro/politica/raspunsul-lui-iohannis-la-amenintarile-rusiei-impotriva-romaniei-declaratiile-din-partea-rusiei-nu-pot-sa-ne-intimideze-arata-ca-abordarea-noastra-e-corecta-15401757


[7] SRI Report, “Security in the Black Sea Region. Shared Challenges, Sustainable Future”, May 31, 2016. Accessed: June 7, 2016. https://www.sri.ro/academia-nationala-de-informatii-mihai-viteazul-si-universitatea-harvard-organizeaza-a-treia-editie-a-programului-securitate-in-regiunea-marii-negre-provocari-comune-viitor-sustenabil.html


[8] Global Firepower Ranking 2016, January 4, 2016. Accessed: June 12, 2016. http://www.globalfirepower.com/countries-listing.asp


[9] Robin Emmot, “U.S. activates Romanian missile defense site, angering Russia”, Reuters.


[10] Kuril Bora, “Russia May Send Tu-22M3 Supersonic Bombers to Crimea In Response To US Missile Buildup In Eastern Europe”, International Business Times, June 24, 2015. Accessed: June 10, 2016. http://www.ibtimes.com/russia-may-send-tu-22m3-supersonic-bombers-crimea-response-us-missile-buildup-eastern-2023159


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KCL reacts to Brexit

Compiled by your IR Today editorial team.


51.9% Remain, 48.1% Leave. With a 72.2% turnout, Britain indeed has voted. 17, 410, 742 people ticked the ‘leave’ box, and without a doubt we all woke up in a different world yesterday. There are few politicians yet to make a statement and their thoughts clear on this, but here’s what the students from the War Studies department here at King’s have had to say on Britain’s decision to leave the European Union:
“As a non-EU national, the EU referendum does not affect me nor my government as much, except for the 10% drop in the exchange rate that made me quite happy for awhile. In short, my feelings towards the referendum is quite neutral. The only way it has directly affected me is that my boyfriend decided to put in £30 on Ladbrokes convinced that Britain would remain in the EU. Needless to say, there goes his savings for the next week. It was the only way we could have actively participated in the referendum as foreigners. Regardless, I’m confident that the UK would bounce back from the unexpected outcome. Surely, with two years to prepare, they would draft a deal with the EU in regards to its already existing trade, and they will never dismiss the EU completely. Personally, I can only hope that by UK leaving the EU, there will be less discrimination when it comes to nationality in the job market, thus maybe a more equal opportunity for non-EU migrants. At the end of the day, we must admit that both the Remain and Leave campaigns had extremely valid points. So instead of finding fault with others, the only way is to move forward and work towards what either side collectively hope for Britain.”

  • Gustika Jusuf-Hatta, 2nd year War Studies


“The division of the UK along the lines of big cities, Scotland, Northern Ireland, young people – towns, villages, the elderly, England and Wales is worrying. This vote both sharply highlighted it and potentially enhanced it. Sometimes it’s not easy to reconcile two neighbours that disagree and it will be very hard to bridge the gap between the age groups, regions, and other strata. This has little to do with the fact that the UK voted to leave, it would be the same in the case of a narrow Remain win. The question is: can the next PM be a unifying figure?”

  • Adam Holub, 3rd year International Relations


“When the UK votes leave and your life plan changes…”

  • Julia Nicolli, 3rd year International Relations


“I am incredulous. Revolting result.”

  • Tulio Konstantinovitch, 3rd year International Relations


“Looks like I’ll have to get married soon …”

  • Ilina Trendafilova, 3rd year International Relations


“I am disappointed, sad and worried that the UK voted to leave the EU. I may not be British, and I’m not quite sure of the consequences it will have for me as a Swiss, but I truly care about this country…about its culture, history and language that has been shaping my life since I am six years old. My British teachers and British friends whom I have learnt and interacted with so much. I do not believe this was the best way forward for the UK. However, I am sure that everyone who voted in this referendum either to Leave or Stay, despite disagreeing with most of people’s motives to Leave, voted believing this was the best option for their country. It is comforting to see how many friends were opposed to todays result but it pains me to see the UK so divided. 
Throughout the campaign there has been lies, there has been false information and lack of it too. That is what angers me most of all. But the decision has been made and I now just hope something good will come out of this in the end. Good luck UK, good luck EU…I hope this works out for both somehow”

  • Alexia Keller, 3rd year International Relations


“I love my country. While I am horrified by the results, I hope we can make the most of what’s going to happen. I want us to be successful. I want our friends in Europe to be successful. I hope the United Kingdom stays together. I hope our economy and international standing remains strong. I hope for the best. Good luck Great Britain.”

  • Ash Lawton Dharmasingham, 3rd year War Studies


“I didn’t stay up last night to follow the referendum. And I didn’t think much because I was too sure that Remain would win. So when I woke up it pretty much hit me just as hard as it probably hit the leaders of the EU. I wonder if they were sleeping as well and woke up like this..? This morning however I can’t stop thinking that this outcome to Leave is not simply a tragedy for the EU. Rather, it is, in my mind, equally a Wake Up Call to a continent that is struggling ever since the financial crisis of 2008. It’s existence lately has been marred by the Union’s constant attempts to survive one self-imposed crisis after the next, be it the austerity measures ripping apart Greece and other southern-located countries, the conflict with Russia, a refugee crisis, the seemingly unstoppable rise of far-right and far-left anti-EU parties, and others to name a few. Exacerbated by internal divisions that have been caused by the absence of a firm political or economic ideology, Europe in it’s current state is too weak to effectively combat internal threats to it’s existence. Perhaps Europe needed this. Perhaps Brexit will finally notify the EU of absolutely necessary political and economic change that it needs to survive. It previously survived close calls with opponents of it’s unifying vision, such as the slim defeat of the far-right candidate in Austria. Such a close call was not enough however for Britain. The EU must stop believing that it’s ideals and calls for unity are self-sufficient in restraining it’s opponents, because they are evidently not. It must deliver on it’s political and economic promises once again, or some other force will replace it swiftly. It seems like I wasn’t the only one sleeping through this referendum. The EU and it’s leaders did as well. Their failure can’t be projected any clearer, yet it is also provides our EU with the opportunity to change. Perhaps, this is the last opportunity they’ll have. (Also Cameron resigned so that’s interesting)”

  • Stanislav Skryabin, 2nd year International Relations 


“”The ship of democracy, that has weathered all storms, may sink through the mutiny of those on board.” -Grover Cleveland

Bigoted pensioners set a paradigm shift in determining a future Britain’s youth clearly does not want. Fear trumped logic.Well done Britain… Well done”

  • Ghenwa Minawi, 3rd year International Relations


“In actual disbelief right now.”

  • Edward Clear, 3rd year International Relations


“’They’ have done nothing. We, Great Britain, have voted to leave the European Union. We cannot dismiss this shift as a consequence solely of ignorance. Very quickly we must come to recognise that those who voted leave did so for a magnitude of reasons. This is not a result on migration nor one that does anything more than express the desire not to be ruled by a particular institution.

It is right now where being united matters. The challenges created are obstacles individual in their own right. Shedding the divisions of the campaign, we must now consider who leads us and where they lead us; demanding certainty without the sacrifice of sanity.

Very quickly the remain side must look above the rhetoric of their own campaign. There will be no war and the world will not end. Yet the economy will crumble faster, our policies on immigration will shift without our realising and our place on the world stage will be compromised; unless we remain united. Unless we understand that the issues we wake up to today are very different from the ideas we voted on yesterday- issues that require fresh thinking and renewed solidarity.”

  • Harry Johnson, 3rd year International Relations


“Few hours into ‪#‎Brexit‬ and Britain already lost monetary value, a Prime Minister, and its common sense to not give into the far right and populism. (Also note that as a European I can’t wait to go back to a country where about half the population just wants me to pack up and leave – what a time to be alive)”

  • Roberta Maggi, 3rd year International Relations


“I am gutted. I know many of you will be as well. Last night represented a massive change in the history of our country and one which is irreversible. I now speak directly to my age group, the 18-24 year olds amongst you. Votes like this can be crushing. When so many of our age group (estimated at 75%) voted for remain I know how devastating it can be to feel that we, those who must live with the ramifications of this vote for the longest, have been drowned out by the Euroscepticism of older generations. I know there will be a massive urge to protest, an urge to scream, an urge to say our voices have not been heard. And I understand that. But we are not helpless. We can still shape our future. We do not have to live in Little England. We can belong in a truly GREAT Britain.

Let’s not kid ourselves, the EU has never been perfect. EU internal protectionism has severely hampered the development of emerging economies, especially those in Africa, stopping the growth that these countries desperately need. Let us use this new position to be a beacon for hope and liberty. Let us use our newfound ‘independence’ to champion free trade, helping these emerging economies elevate themselves. Let us open our borders and our hearts, creating a real multicultural society that is fit for purpose in the globalized world. Finally, let us create a United Kingdom, rather than a divided one, and work together to make the best of this situation. “

  • Sam Wyatt, 3rd year International Relations


“Britain’s exit from the European Union has confirmed our worst fear: the gradual disintegration of the European project. Rather than dwell on today’s defeat, Brussels must look to the future, responding to current member-states’ concerns and devising strategies for the integration of EU hopefuls like Georgia and Ukraine. Adapting the EU won’t mean abandoning foundational values—instead, the EU will have to make a genuine effort to mitigate insecurity and placate Eurosceptic elements.”

  • Lincoln Pigman, 2nd year War Studies


“When the country you choose to live in, study and consume stabs you in the back… This is a sad sad day for Europe and even a worse one for Britain. ‪#‎Brexit‬

  • Jeanne Reimar, 2nd year International Relations


“Didn’t need an alarm clock this morning – I woke up to the sound of freedom.”

  • Ryan Austin, graduating in BA International Relations this summer.


“I am not upset, I am disappointed. This is unprecedented and what is even more alarming is that is due to the fact that the public is massively misinformed! Good luck, Britain, you will need it…God Save The Queen.. Literally.”

  • Joanna Kolev, 2nd year International Relations


“The British people have voted in the most democratic way possible. Some got what they wanted, some did not. However, democracy does not change its definition based upon what we believe being achieved or not. What matters now is that we move forward, no accusations of racism or cowardice from both sides should be said. That’s what it means to be a liberal Western Nation, to spit in the face of it and the actors involved smacks of totalitarianism.”

  • Will Reynolds, 2nd year War Studies


“Britain is that one dickhead that ruins everyone’s night by getting way too shitfaced and leaving the club early.”

  • Nikolai Berger, 3rd year International Relations


“Good luck out there, Britain.”

  • Ville Majamaa, graduating in BA International Relations this summer


“Congratulations Britain! You just played right into Putin’s hands, paving the way for realizing all of his hopes and dreams…who is next?”

  • Yoanna Boncheva, 3rd year International Relations


“Woah. Nativism wins, and the UK is out. Watch out France, Italy, and America, 2016-17 could be a very frightening year. Today’s a sad day.”

  • Jackson Webster, graduating in BA International Relations this summer


“UK, what have you done… This is going to have sad and grave consequences for the whole of Europe and most importantly for a whole generation of young Europeans… It’s a sad day for Europe, one which sets it back by decades, away from cooperation and back into isolationism…”

  • Kate Žejdlová, 3rd year International Relations


“Heartbroken at the result but we are Great Britain and we just have to keep going forward and getting greater. At the end of the day we live in a democracy and the right express our choice is key to our country and values. If this is what Britain wants then we cannot argue against it”

  • Shalini Chatterjee, 3rd year International Relations


“Brexit is basically England fatally embarassing itself at the global dinner table by getting drunk, being racist, walking out and then waking up the next morning with a massive hangover wondering what the fuck they did last night…”

  • Sam Forsythe, 3rd year War Studies and Philosophy

“It is too soon to decide what the implications will be, but it appears Britain has decided to leave. Although ironically this vote will mean positive things for my personal self-interest, I believe in the greater scheme of things it means negative things for my adopted country. I am saddened by the news, but hopeful that GREAT Britain will not allow it to irreversibly harm the economy or discourse on creating an open society. God save the queen, God save us all.”

  • Derek Eggleston, 2nd Year International Relations


“Sweden next please!”

  • Sofia Svensson, 3rd year International Relations


“Fuck off old people. Why is it that people over the age of 65 have an equal say as young people when they are gonna die soon. This is some serious BS ‪#‎novotesforover65s‬

  • Mark Connor, 3rd year International Relations


“Britain wtf.”

  • Agathe Destruhaut, 3rd year International Relations
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The Education Argument Against Brexit


By Caroline Cox, a German-American transatlantic transplant in her second year of International Relations at King’s College London.


For the past few months, the possible UK exit from the European Union has been a hotly debated topic. Speculation on the consequences of a possible Brexit include its effect on human rights, women’s rights, food growth and distribution, and continued peace in Northern Ireland, but what would a Brexit mean for students? Considering that those aged 18-24 have the lowest voter turnout in the UK, the student population is not the first affected area that comes to mind when discussing the upcoming EU referendum. However, the effect on students would be much more far-reaching than just EU students seeking a UK university education, and would extend to home students as well as the universities themselves.

The UK Home Office has been cracking down on international students for some time now. For example, non-EU students used to have a post-study work period of two years after graduation included on their Tier 4 student visas, specifically to be able to work in the UK before either applying for a Tier 5 work visa or returning home. However, this period was shortened to four months in 2012, so international students are more likely not to work in the UK after graduation. Home Secretary, Theresa May, has continually made new proposals to further restrict foreign students from entering and staying in the UK, including the proposal to set the financial backing threshold for international students seeking a visa even higher than it is now. EU students typically have an easier time as EU member countries have a free flow of human capital for both university education and work. A Brexit would mean an end to protection against such restrictions for EU students and the UK would see less EU traffic in the higher education system.

Non-EU international students pay more tuition than EU and home students, so only students from a certain background can actually come to the UK. EU students are not necessarily constrained by this and therefore contribute greatly to on-campus diversity. Not only would EU students have a more difficult time getting a UK university education as a result of the Brexit, but home students would have even less diversity on campus which would further contribute to the UK’s isolationist tendencies. UK universities rely on the EU for both students and funding, so a Brexit would mean fewer students, less money, and a less competitive, stimulating atmosphere in higher education. It also means that foreign students who do study in the UK are less likely to get a job in the UK afterwards, which means the UK has invested time and education in these students without the benefit of having them in the workforce after graduation. Decreasing opportunities for international students working in the UK also impacts UK towns and local business by removing talented, educated, and qualified people from the employable pool thus limiting employer resources.

Systematically excluding international students from studying in the UK is damaging to the UK in the long run as it encourages problematic nationalism and isolationism, and a Brexit would only expedite the process. The UK is already geographically isolated from the rest of Europe and has a history of stressing its separateness from “the Continent,” so a Brexit would serve to deepen the real or perceived difference felt by many. A Brexit would mean a damper on the cultural diversity seen on UK campuses, which would contribute further to the already elitist air around higher education that is present and also would contribute to the vicious cycle of isolationist nationalism.

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Part 3 | Russia & Europe

Adam Holub reads BA International Relations and happens to be IRT’s editor for Europe.


This little symposium looks at the perception of Russia as a threat across various regions. When discussing Europe, we have to face off an immediate issue: do we look at Europe as a region comprised of a large number of actors? Or is it perhaps, due to the large extent of EU integration, more useful to generalise when referring to the relations between Russia and European countries as those between Russia and the EU? Similarly, does it make sense to distinguish between the different perceptions of Russia as a threat of the individual European countries? To resolve this problem appropriately we would have to engage in a lengthy analysis of the EU’s foreign policy and look at how historical experience of European integration differed across the continent as well as how historical experience of the individual countries vis-à-vis Russia varied.

For the purpose of this article, it will be easier to look at the manifestations of the degree of perceptions of Russia as a threat. It makes sense to divide the answer into three parts: looking at the EU as a unified actor, looking at the more particular member states’ perception of Russia as a threat throughout Europe, and then finally zooming in even further to the Eastern European fringe where Russia notably oscillates between being perceived as a friend or as an existential threat. This question of how is Russia perceived in Europe is one that is absolutely crucial at the time of turbulent developments in the relations between Russia and the European countries which at times could be described as cold or unfortunate, if not yet openly hostile. The point of this bit is to show the other side of the coin as well, to point out to the opposition voices very present in some countries which doubt Russia’s dangerousness and try to peculiarly revise the mainstream opinion on Russia. Threat perceptions are in general hard if not impossible to adequately observe. Instead of trying to read the mind of people half a billion people we should look at some manifestations of perceptions of Russia in Europe and interpret them.

Whether the EU as a whole sees Russia as a threat or an enemy is not easy to assess. We could use the proclamations by senior EU representatives, such as the European council president Donald Tusk, to get a hint of a common stand. Tusk, the man who is responsible facilitating consensus in the EU, has described the policy of Vladimir Putin as “simply to have enemies, to be stronger than them, to destroy them and to be in conflict.”[1] Tusk, however, is not a spokesman for the EU member states on the matters of Foreign Policy. Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, was recently heard denying that there is a new Cold War between the West and Russia.[2] A new Cold War is a metaphor popping up every here and there in political discussions and commentaries in reference to both the Russian involvement in the conflict in Ukraine and in Syria. By ruling out a reference to a historical period which carries the connotation of arguably the largest possibility of a global nuclear face off, Mogherini’s attitude suggests that the European representative is trying to rule out Russia as an existential threat. A slight difference of accent and emphasis when it comes to Russia is not problematic per se but it shows plurality of opinion at the top political level.

Nevertheless, despite the difference in emphasis throughout the Union, Russia has been officially referred to a potential threat in the European Parliament resolution of 15 January 2015 on the situation in Ukraine.[3] The economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU countries, as well as non-EU countries like Norway for example, also show a common concern about Russia’s latest actions in Europe. The resolution talks both about the necessity of the sanctions and the Russian threat and is an example of how these two things are related topics in Europe. The assessment of the opinions on the EU level doesn’t do justice to the nuances between the rhetoric in the individual member states.

While the common imposition of the sanctions speaks of a common stance towards Russia, it is notable that according to some diplomats in Brussels, the Kremlin was trying to divide the EU on the issue of the extension of the sanctions. Among the countries that were perceived as likely to “see the sanctions relaxed or scrapped” were Italy, Greece, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic.[4] What is interesting in particular is the presence of three countries of the Visegrád Group. Reasons can be various, but what is evident, are pro Russian sympathies shown by some politicians of these countries. The Czech president Miloš Zeman, for example, has given an interview to the Russian First Channel in which he condemned the anti-Russian sanctions.[5]

In both The Czech Republic and Slovakia, it is the prime minister and not the president who has the largest executive power. While the Slovak president is critical of Russia, the prime minister Fico also condemned the sanctions and similarly to the Czech president did that while in Russia,[6] which has an extra symbolic value as it comes in handy for the Russian authorities and media. Finally, Hungary’s Viktor Orbán is notoriously known for his pro Russian sympathies. In western Europe, France found itself in a position after the Paris attacks which has been associated with “signs of deepening collaboration” between the French and Russian armies in the war against Daesh.[7] Germany’s Angela Merkel sees her country’s potential to mediate between Russia and the West. At the same time, the German chancellor no longer trusts the Russian president as much as she used to. The UK’s prime minister David Cameron is more openly critical of Russia and in 2014 called for a stronger NATO presence on the borders with Russia to be able to respond to any “threat”.[8]

Finally, there is the question of countries in the nearest vicinity of Russian territory (among which it is useful to include Poland). Being Russia’s neighbour does not instantly mean being threatened by it. What seems to correlate with the perception of Russia as a threat is the political orientation of a country in combination with particular historical experience of Russian involvement. The Baltic states have had the experience of direct Soviet rule while they are establishing themselves as valuable EU and NATO members. Estonia’s president Toomas Hendrik Ilves described Russia as a threat not only to his country and the Baltic region but to the Post World War order.[9] Similar case are the Poles. Russian establishment, to be frank, is not improving its perception in the Baltics by intensifying its intrusions into the airspace of the Baltic countries.[10]

An example of a country that does not seem to be threatened by Russia and is in its nearest vicinity is Belarus. Ukraine, on the other hand, long perceived as crucially historically and culturally oriented towards Russia, similarly to Belarus, is an example of how political orientation affects the extent to which Russia is a threat. In the Ukrainian case it was a change of regime following civil unrests, which were a reaction to the choice of its former president Yanukovych to give precedence to an agreement with Russia rather than the EU, something that is hardly expectable from the authoritarian Alexander Lukashenko. The point made here is that Russia is not, in my opinion, an expansionist country per se but some countries and their populations do seem to perceive Russia as believing in a special claim for intervening in their matters in various ways, a perception very much enhanced by Russia itself.

Clearly, the perception of Russia as a threat varies across Europe. Despite that, certain basic approach towards Russia can be narrowed down to the perception of at least a potential threat, at least in the EU and more pro-West European countries.


[1] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/15/donald-tusk-putins-policy-enemies-conflict-european-council-sanctions-russia

[2] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-eu-idUSKCN0VO11C

[3] http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?pubRef=-//EP//TEXT+TA+P8-TA-2015-0011+0+DOC+XML+V0//EN

[4] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/15/donald-tusk-putins-policy-enemies-conflict-european-council-sanctions-russia

[5] https://www.1tv.ru/news/2014/11/16/29156-milosh_zeman_osuzhdaet_antirossiyskie_sanktsii_i_trebuet_prekratit_bombardirovki_donbassa#

[6] http://www.aktuality.sk/clanok/277055/fico-sa-dostal-na-titulne-strany-ruskych-novin-som-proti-sankciam/

[7] http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/23/francois-hollande-france-global-alliance-defeat-isis-russia-us-uk-germany

[8] http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/aug/02/david-cameron-west-stronger-russia-borders

[9] https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/estonias-president-russia-is-threateningthe-entire-post-world-war-ii-order/2014/09/29/035ef686-45cd-11e4-b47c-f5889e061e5f_story.html

[10] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/full-list-of-incidents-involving-russian-military-and-nato-since-march-2014-9851309.html

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Part 2 | Scandinavia’s ‘big bad bully’: Russia & Scandinavia

Silje Undlien is a Norwegian first-year War Studies student at King’s College London.

Dmitry Medvedev

At a time when few Nordic governments are willing to concede Russia as an immediate military threat, Russian relations with the Scandinavian three – Sweden, Norway and Denmark – continue to grow cold. When it comes to being the ‘big bad bully’ of Europe, Russia has met little competition from its neighbouring countries. Thus far we have seen Russian aggression escalate profoundly in terms of espionage targeting Scandinavian countries – as both Norway and Sweden has identified their northern neighbour as their leading threat vis-à-vis intelligence operations, and Denmark is no exception from Russia’s extensive surveillance. [1] The apparent reluctance of Russia to leave Scandinavian airspace and territorial waters alone does little to improve their strained relations. Its vested interests in Arctic areas ought to arouse some reaction from the conflicting Nordic governments, as indeed it has. Yet for the countries in question, Russia is a rival of much greater military capacity and ought not to be further provoked if possibly avoided. To Scandinavians – Russia is currently highly unstable due to Putin’s leadership. Thus, according to the Norwegian Minister of Defence, Ine Eriksen Søreide, it is critical to avoid miscalculations, and, although the threat is not considered imminent, military reforms may prove vital to the security and defence of the countries on the Scandinavian Peninsula. [2]

In the Norwegian Intelligence Service’s 2016 threat assessment, Russia’s blatant will to pursue regional ambitions in the Arctic and the High North is identified as a substantial threat to Norwegian interests. [3] As the only Scandinavian country sharing a border with Russia – a border extending 196 kilometres – Norway is familiar with the possibility that Russian strategic interests in Norwegian vicinities could end in military conflict. Yet, the military capacity of the areas in Finnmark is exceptionally inferior to that of Western Russia. As of today, Norway would hardly be able to restrain an invading force for more than a maximum of two days. [4] The plan has, nonetheless, always been to hold back the enemy in blind hope of triggering NATO’s Article 5. Yet, it has been questioned whether Norway would in fact go to war against Russia in a situation where East-Finnmark is occupied by enemy forces, and, as Russia is assumed unlikely to advance West of the Tana River to avoid further conflict; would NATO be willing to trigger a Third World War in defence of East-Finnmark, only a small part of Norway? Such thinking can be traced back to declassified defence documents from the 1980s, in which the primary defence lines of Norway were identified and the sacrifice of Finnmark was suggested. [5] The Norwegian Armed Forces deny that such actions would be made in today’s situation. Earlier this April, however, the strategic plan of defence, unofficially named ‘Operation Glory Death’ was revealed: In order to secure a quick response from NATO, Norwegian soldiers have been commissioned to die ‘as sensationally as possible’. [6] But to what end? It might take several months until NATO is mobilised and ready to act on Norway’s behalf, by which time Finnmark would have long since fallen.

Yet for Norway, there appears to be a greater potential for conflict on Svalbard. Leading Norwegian experts on Military Defence believe that a future military confrontation would develop on the archipelago in the Arctic Ocean due to its strategic position. [7] The Russian threat continues to increase with Russia’s rising military sphere of influence in the nearby areas; the planned launch of a second Arctic brigade and the attempted establishment of an airbase on Franz Josef Land are particularly construed as aggressive actions. Although any foreign military activity in Svalbard would be a violation of the Svalbard Treaty and would undermine Norwegian Sovereignty, the archipelago’s demilitarised state would make it easy to secure. [8] As the threat is progressively perceived more relevant, the Norwegian Armed Forces appear incapable of defending Norwegian soil. In a scenario like this, in fact, the Norwegian Royal Navy would be no match for the modernised Northern Fleet.

Also Denmark, with overlapping claims to the North Pole, has experienced territorial tensions with Russia. The need for engagement in areas of common interest was made clear by the massive border exploration we witnessed in the Arctic – ‘Ali Baba’s cave’. When it in 2015 was revealed that Denmark was to establish an Arctic TF, a Danish process of Arctic militarisation and preparation for a future war against Russia was assumed. The Danish Defence, however, discarded this allegation. [9] For their part, the reforms were intended to reinforce and create a more flexible Danish Defence for general purposes.  It is reasonable, however, to assume that such actions may be a response to increased Russian aggression. As a response to NATO’s Missile Defence, for one, Russian Ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin, made Russia’s plan of action, if Denmark was to participate in the system, explicit. In an article published in Jyllands-Posten in 2015 he wrote that Danish warships could, if his warning proved ineffective, become potential targets of nuclear missiles. [10] It has been popularly assumed in 2016, however, that the threat towards Denmark is in decline due to the decreased Russian activity in Danish airspace. The intelligence agencies of the Scandinavian countries have nonetheless dismissed such thinking by placing neighbouring aggression on the top of their security agendas. It is fundamental, too, to note that the decreased activity may be due to Russia’s role in the Syrian Civil War.

It is not surprising, moreover, to see the reported increase in Russian military activity in the Baltic Sea region. Although she does not recognise Russia as an imminent military threat, Sweden has also chosen to reinforce and invest in her military defence capabilities. The trouble is, however, issues of Swedish military recruitment. Like that of her Scandinavian neighbour Norway, the Swedish Armed Forces could not scare off a determined enemy if necessary. As of today, it would need to recruit another 100,000 soldiers to credibly be able to defend its country. [11] But despite the Swedish tendency to be favourably disposed to armed forces, their previous abolition of conscription has led to a decline in their ability to recruit soldiers – the Swedes, seemingly, do not want to join the Swedish Armed Forces. Many now believe that the reinstatement of mandatory military service is the only way to defend Sweden against a potential military attack in the future. Yet for such a development to happen, the Russian threat will probably have to increase even further.

As NATO members, as opposed to the non-aligned Sweden, Denmark and Norway are successfully displaying a clearly defined military policy. It is worth noting, as well, that while the current Secretary General is Norwegian the former was Danish, making both countries’ political character and commitment to NATO and the West evident to Russia. Although she is a non-member, Sweden’s great endeavour to remain a neutral country has to some extent failed: While not being entitled to military assistance from NATO by remaining non-aligned, Sweden’s close ties to the alliance still makes her a great threat to Russia.  For this reason, many appear to believe that a Swedish membership in NATO is an inevitable forthcoming development. Yet, the Prime Ministers of Sweden and Finland stated in early 2016 that the current situation serves them both well. [12]

Although Russian relations with the Scandinavian three continue to grow cold, Russia has not always been a ‘bully’ in the eyes of the Scandinavians. Au contraire – both Denmark and Norway have traditionally kept close bilateral ties with Russia. Fundamental to the preservation of Russian-Norwegian relations is the Norwegian Barents Secretariat. Daily cultural cooperation, the Secretariat believes, could rebuild the once good relations. With such opinions circulating, Scandinavian media has been accused of painting an overly negative picture of Russia. The great worry is that this vilification of Russia will create an excessively frightened and alienated public, and, ultimately, lead to the decline of all Scandinavian cooperation policies. In stark contrast – authorities have expressed concerns over a select few individuals in Finnmark, worrying that their close ties to Russia might make them loyal to the Russian government. [13] It has also come up that individuals of North-Norway deem the Southern perception of the Russian threat exaggerated. The residents of Northern Norway do, of course, have unique ties to the culture and language of their Russian neighbours. They are, furthermore, often deemed to have emotional connections to their 1944 liberators. Yet, the accusation of disloyalty is unreasonable: Residents of South-Norway will naturally have conflicting perceptions of the Russian threat from those of North-Norway.

Yet, militarily, the threat ought not to be ignored.  With dozens of spies on Swedish soil, military expansion in the Arctic, continual visits in Scandinavian airspace and territorial waters, and, excessive espionage – the Russian threat is obviously considered a great security challenge in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Furthermore, it led to the increased cooperation of the Nordic countries. Yet, the continued defence of the Scandinavian countries would, without assistance from NATO, be virtually impossible if they were to be attacked. Thus, seeing Russia is considered highly unpredictable, the threat is perceived even greater. If one is to believe the media’s narrative of Russia and its leadership – the Scandinavian three ought to seek immediate cover. Although many appear to believe that previous relations could be restored, Russia may already have reached the point of no return. Lest Russia alters its course, Russian relations with the countries on the Scandinavian Peninsula might be beyond repair.


[1] The Swedish Security Service, ‘Ryska olagliga underrättelseoperationer,’ Säkerhetspolisen  

[2] Mick Krever, ‘Norway: We are faced with a different Russia,’ BBC, February 26, 2015

[3] The Norwegian Intelligence Service, ‘Fokus 2016: Etterretningstjenestens vurdering av aktuelle sikkerhetsutfordringer,’ Forsvaret, March 21, 2016

[4] Kjetil Stormark, ‘Hæren holder bare ut noen dager,’ Aldrimer, April 05, 2016

[5] Kjetil Stormark, ‘Finnmark skal ofres,’ Aldrimer, April 08, 2016

[6] Kjetil Stormark, ‘Operasjon: Heltemodig Død,’ Aldrimer, April 05, 2016

[7] Kjetil Stormark, ‘Brennpunkt Svalbard,’ Aldrimer, April 08, 2016

[8] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Svalbardtraktaten,’ Lovdata

[9] Værnfælles Forsvarskommando, ‘Kommentar til Jyllands-Posten,’ Forsvaret, March 13, 2015

[10] Lars From, ‘Ruslands ambassadør: Danske skibe kan blive mål for russisk atomangrep,’ Jyllands-Posten, March 20, 2015

[11] Elisabeth Braw, ‘Sweden, Short-Handed,’ Foreign Affairs, April 13, 2016

[12] Juha Sipilä & Stefan Löfven, ‘Vår alliansefrihet bidrar till stabilitet i norra Europa,’ DN, January 10, 2016

[13] The Norwegian Barents Secretariat, ‘Samarbeidet med Russland er en villet politikk,’ Barents, March 02, 2016

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The Brexit: Is Europe stumbling toward the abyss?


Tomass Pildegovičs is a first-year International Relations student from Riga, Latvia.

*This is a modified version of the article, ‘The Brexit Dilemma: A Baltic Perspective’ By Tomass Pildegovičs, originally published by the Latvian Institute of International Affairs on January 20, 2016.

Source: http://liia.lv/en/blogs/the-brexit-dilemma-a-baltic-perspective/



From the moment he secured a victory in parliamentary elections last May, Prime Minister David Cameron has been a vocal proponent of a referendum on the United Kingdom’s secession from the European Union, otherwise referred to as the “Brexit”. [1] After a thorny renegotiation process lasting many months, the upcoming British referendum has started to dominate the European political agenda. The reformed membership presented by Mr. Cameron has come under a great deal of scrutiny domestically, particularly in regard to promises of liberating UK business from “EU red tape and political interference” and reinforcing the position of those EU member states that are not part of the Eurozone. [2] Further demands expressed by the British Prime Minister included the strengthening of oversight by national parliaments, restrictions on subsidies, tax credits, and child benefits for EU migrants as well as an end to the assumption of “ever closer union.” [3] In fact, as part of the recent renegotiation process that finished in February, Mr. Cameron visited 18 European capitals, a modus operandi unmatched in activity by any of his predecessors in recent history. [4] With the date of the referendum getting ever closer, the public discussion of the issue has reached a fever pitch, with prominent political figures drumming up support for both camps. It is evident that when the people of the United Kingdom go to polling stations this June, they will be making a decision of tremendous magnitude, not only for the UK, but for all of Europe.

From an EU perspective, a Brexit would mark a fundamental challenge to the integrity and future prospects of the Union. In 2014, the United Kingdom accounted for 12.6% of the population and 16% of the GDP of the EU, the second most of any individual member state. [5] The UK has arguably the greatest political clout and military capacity of any EU member state, thus enabling the EU to play an active role in shaping the international political agenda. For most EU member states, the EU serves as an instrument for addressing the challenges posed by globalization and consolidating the advantageous position and relative affluence of Europe on the global stage. In the case of UK secession, the EU would lose a permanent member of the UN Security Council as well as one of the most influential actors in the IMF, the World Bank, the G8, the G20, the OECD, IEA, the UNFCC and the FSB. [6] Hence, the EU’s ability to influence the international political discourse would decline substantially, enabling actors such as the United States and Russia to exert a greater sway over European affairs. Moreover, a Brexit would directly contribute to a reduction of the gravitational pull exerted by the EU, which is particularly important in the context of its Eastern Partnership policy. It is critical that the EU retains one of the greatest advocates of an active effort to strengthen links with the eastern neighborhood, which includes Armenia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and Belarus. Should the UK leave, countries such as Ukraine and Moldova would be less incentivized and driven to proceed with the rigorous reform programs demanded by the EU. Therefore, UK secession would enable further Russian encroachment upon the nations of the eastern neighborhood.

Furthermore, there is a fundamental ideological divergence between the UK and the other leading EU stakeholders, most notably France and Germany. Whereas France and Germany continue to espouse a vision of a united greater Europe, the UK seeks to disentangle itself from a range of European commitments. For example, whilst Eastern European member states continue to demonstrate support for increased integration in the form of the Eurozone, British support for the Euro is at the paltry benchmark of 20%, with an overwhelming 70% against the idea of UK membership in a European economic and monetary union with a single currency. [8] Evidently, the UK and the continental member states have dissimilar if not different visions of what the EU should represent.

Nevertheless, a divergence in vision does not have to be irreconcilable to the point of divorce. From the French and German point of view, increased integration must remain a voluntary political enterprise, which cannot be imposed upon a member state. The EU must be pliant enough to be accommodating of different speeds at which member states pursue their Europeanization policy. Naturally, the historical and geopolitical context has galvanized certain member countries, most notably the Baltic States, to be more proactive on the matter, in order to consolidate an increasingly important position in the European fabric. Yet the historical distinctiveness of the United Kingdom must similarly be recognized, accepting its desire to maintain a distance on a range of issues that are politically negotiable. For example, the past decade has shown that it is not essential that all EU member states join the Eurozone, with countries such as Sweden, Poland and the UK experiencing economic growth while partaking in the integral mechanisms of the union. Also, there is clearly enough room for compromise on the issue of welfare benefits and tax credits for migrants. There are viable alternatives for easing the burden borne by the generous UK welfare system without violating fundamental EU principles. For example, current EU law already allows for differential treatment of unemployed migrants, as they do not contribute to the economy of the host nation via taxation. [9] The recent renegotiation process demonstrated great potential for cooperation between the parties. The most pressing of Mr. Cameron’s demands were accommodated, whilst maintaining a red line in regard to the very pillar of the EU- the freedom to work and live anywhere in the European Union. It would be politically dangerous if member states resorted to constructing barriers within the EU, and countries with fluid workforces, like Poland and the Baltic States, would be victimized the most. Although the skepticism and resentment of the British people has not fully dissipated despite Mr. Cameron’s deal, it is essential to the sustainability of the union that renegotiating UK membership does not include curbing basic freedoms granted by the EU. The abandonment of fundamental EU principles would foster political divisiveness and perhaps spawn referendums on secession in other member states.

In light of the altered security landscape in Eastern Europe, it is evident that the actor standing to benefit the most from a Brexit would be Russia. Reeling from the impact of economic sanctions of the West, Russia has suffered a considerable loss of stature internationally. Additional factors such as the dropping price of oil and the plummeting value of the Russian ruble present acute threats to the stranglehold that President Vladimir Putin has on political capital in Russia. Henceforth, a range of domestic and international issues has forced Mr. Putin’s hand and led to a costly gamble in Syria with the intent of regaining an international platform by force. However, another political instrument at Russia’s disposal is internal EU fragmentation, largely along north-south and east-west lines. The Kremlin has a number of allies in European politics, most notably far-right parties such as France’s National Front, Golden Dawn in Greece, Jobbik in Hungary, and Ataka in Bulgaria. [12] Each of these parties, in addition to benefiting from Russian funding and enjoying rising popularity, employ a vehement anti-EU rhetoric. There is already a significant level of friction within the EU; ergo, a Brexit would only further exacerbate the existing fault lines. While the European Union is not a military organization, it acts as a coalescent and unifying European framework. Hence, EU fragmentation would not bode well for the continent’s ability to withstand a major geopolitical crisis, such as Moscow’s continued violations of international law in Ukraine. In the current geopolitical context, a Brexit would be detrimental to the European security landscape.

Albeit not cataclysmic in itself, UK secession from the EU would establish a dangerous precedent, challenging the very principles and ideological foundation of the Union. Despite the adversity faced by the EU in the recent past, the promise of a united Europe has never been more important. It is a promise that the United Kingdom must continue to subscribe to because the future of Europe is at stake.




[1] “Cameron, Brexit and Russia”, The Moscow Times, May 11, 2015, http://carnegieeurope.eu/2015/05/11/cameron-brexit-and-russia/i8fe


[2] “Why, and how, Britain might leave the European Union”, The Economist, April 29, 2015, http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2015/04/economist-explains-29


[3] “EU referendum: What are David Cameron’s demands in the EU talks?”, The Independent, November 7, 2015, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-what-are-david-cameron-s-demands-in-the-eu-talks-a6725741.html


[4]David Cameron steps up European tour as EU negotiation deadline looms”, The Independent, January 6, 2016, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/david-cameron-steps-up-european-tour-as-eu-negotiation-deadline-looms-a6799861.html


[5] Member States Factsheets, Eurostat, January 2015, http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/statistics/factsheets/pdf/eu_en.pdf


[6]BREXIT: the impact on the UK and the EU”, Global Counsel, June, 2015, http://www.globalcounsel.co.uk/system/files/publications/Global_Counsel_Impact_of_Brexit_June_2015.pdf

[7] Standard Eurobarometer 82, Survey conducted by TNS opinion & social at the request of the European Commission, Directorate-General for Communication, Autumn 2014,  http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb82/eb82_first_en.pdf

[8] Ibid.


[9] “Why David Cameron’s four year benefits cut for EU migrants won’t work”, The Independent, November 10, 2015, http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/why-david-cameron-s-four-year-benefits-cut-for-eu-migrants-wont-work-a6729151.html


[10] ”What will become of them?”, The Economist, May 28, 2015,  http://www.economist.com/news/britain/21652356-even-if-britain-votes-leave-eu-its-european-migrants-may-stick-around-what-will-become


[11] “Latviešu skaits ārzemēs arvien pieaug”, Neatkarīgā, October 24, 2012, http://nra.lv/latvija/82075-latviesu-skaits-arzemes-arvien-pieaug.htm


[12] “Putin’s Western Allies”, Foreign Affairs, March 25, 2014, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2014-03-25/putins-western-allies


[13] “Britain to station troops in Baltic region ‘to deter Russian aggression”, The Guardian, October 8, 2015, http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/08/britain-station-troops-poland-latvia-lithuania-estonia-russian-aggression

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