NATO initiatives not seen as decisive in Libya war

26 April 2011
Tomas Valasek of the Centre for European Reform think-tank said that despite NATO denials, it did seem the coalition was seeking ways to end the stalemate by targeting Gaddafi. "NATO's official mandate doesn't involve removing Gaddafi from power, so the commanders would deny it and say they are going after communications posts and such, but to me it does smell like they are going after Gaddafi personally. "That would mean a gap between what NATO collectively says it wants to do and what the French, the British and Americans say.

Sarkozy, Berlusconi meet amid tension on immigration, M & A

26 April 2011
"It will be a difficult meeting", said Hugo Brady, a senior research fellow with the Centre for European Reform in Brussels. "Immigration, like economic policy, is such a sensitive issue that it can hardly be controlled at an EU level."

Is Germany flipping the bird at Europe?

Katinka Barysch
22 April 2011
The Guardian
It would have caused a chuckle among British tabloid readers. In Germany (and Greece) it caused a storm. On February 22 2010, the German news magazine Focus published a cover that depicted the Aphrodite of Milos with an outstretched arm making a very rude gesture at its readers.

Interview: Military force is not enough to end Libyan conflict

Clara Marina O'Donnell
21 April 2011
The Voice of Russia
Do you believe that the current Libyan crisis can be resolved by diplomatic efforts, not through the use of force?

Eurozone may need to rethink anti-crisis strategy

21 April 2011
"The easiest way out would be to do the restructuring soon," said Charles Grant, head of the Centre for European Reform in London. "Hit the private creditors and recapitalise the banks. It may still happen."

War in Libya could drag on, military analysts say

20 April 2011
New York Times
Tomas Valasek, a defence expert at the London-based Centre for European Reform, compared NATO to an American political party, "a coalition of countries with broadly the same interests, but with different views." It was inevitable after the cold war, he said, that NATO countries would focus on different threats: terrorism and Afghanistan for some, like the United States, Britain, Canada and the Netherlands; Russia, for the Central Europeans. "As for the rest,I don't even know why they stay in NATO." NATO will never be what it was, Mr Valasek said.

Tunisia immigrants row threatens to destroy dream of borderless Europe

20 April 2011
The Times
"There is a rise of parties of the hard Right in Europe which have set their faces against the free movement of people and the Schengen area," said Hugo Brady of the Centre for European Reform. "There is a conflict coming between the democratic desire to put a 'closed' sign on the door when times are tough and a system which does not follow the demands of the democratic cycle."

Springtime for the anti-euro brigades

19 April 2011
"Euro-scepticism is a political force that is waiting for its breakthrough in Ireland," warns Hugo Brady of the Centre for European Reform.

Europe splits over Libya - as with Iraq

18 April 2011
Times Live
"Ashton was not able to make a stand for the no-fly zone at last week's EU summit because the European countries are divided," ever since the mistakes in the drawn-out conflict in Iraq, said analyst Hugo Brady of the Centre for European Reform. "The EU isn't coherent," on foreign policy, he added in an interview. "It's an ongoing problem."

NATO may need escalation to break Libya stalemate

18 April 2011
Tomas Valasek, a defence analyst at the Centre for European Reform, said an escalation of the military effort could be necessary - at least in the short term - to end attacks on civilians and apply pressure for a political solution.

Libya crisis reveals splits on EU goals

Clara Marina O'Donnell
18 April 2011
New York Times
"Libya confirmed France's worst beliefs," said Clara Marina O'Donnell, a defence expert at the Centre for European Reform, a research organisation in London. "It could not rely on its EU partners." … "The Anglo-French accord confirmed the frustration in London and Paris over EU defence efforts," Ms. O'Donnell said. She added that European defence could become even weaker as long as these two countries continue to co-operate so closely.

Greece's economy teeters on the brink of default

17 April 2011
The Globe and Mail
"Most intelligent people know there has to be a significant restructuring to ease the burden on Greece, and we're not talking about a painless extension of maturities, but wiping away a large portion of the debt," said Charles Grant, director of the Centre for European Reform in London. "My worry is that the longer they leave it, the stronger the euro-scepticism becomes. When they finally do decide to restructure the debt it will be too late."

Hooray! The Yanks are going home

14 April 2011
Financial Times
The figures are set out by Tomas Valasek in an illuminating report [Surviving austerity: The case for a new approach to EU military collaboration] for the Centre for European Reform. Most European nations are already spending far below the NATO target of 2 per cent of national income. Denmark alone plans to increase its budget in coming years. One or two others are planning to freeze spending. All the rest are cutting. Mr Valasek rightly calls for the pooling of costs and capabilities. But the problem goes beyond national pride.

Portugal's political leaders weighing up possible bailout terms, wary of Greek and Irish woes

13 April 2011
The Washington Post
Simon Tilford, chief economist at the Centre for European Reform think-tank in London, said "previous bailouts have solved nothing" and Portugal "is right to bargain hard" because similar rates to those imposed on Athens and Dublin could be self-defeating. "There's a risk that unless loans are extended at a serviceable interest rate, all the bailout would do would make things worse," he said. Tilford said that underlying worry puts Portuguese authorities in a stronger bargaining position as they assess the bailout terms on offer.

Analysis: French criticism highlights NATO limits in Libya

12 April 2011
Defence analyst Tomas Valasek of the Centre for European Reform said NATO faced a situation reminiscent of the 1999 Kosovo air war against Serbia, when it took the veiled threat of a ground invasion to persuade then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his forces. Gaddafi was placing his armour in populated areas to try to provoke NATO into strikes that would kill civilians and split the coalition, peeling off Arab support. Any attempt to target Gaddafi and his entourage entailed the same risk, he said.

The next European crisis: boat people

11 April 2011
The Economist
Migration is likely to be a contentious issue at June's European summit (see this paper by the Centre for European Reform). With anti-immigrant parties on the rise across Europe, the dispute has great potential to degenerate.

In Portugal crisis, worries on Europe's 'debt trap'

08 April 2011
New York Times
"What has been missing, in the debate about how countries can restore their finances to some kind of sustainability, is the limit of how much they can cut in a period of austerity," said Simon Tilford, chief economist for the Centre for European Reform in London. "There is a limit of how much any government can cut back spending and survive politically unless there is a light at the end of the tunnel, a route back to economic growth.

The EU needs to woo Israel if it’s to be a peacemaker

Clara Marina O'Donnell
01 April 2011
Europe's world
Sharon Pardo highlights a number of important ways in which the EU can support the Middle East peace process, not least by encouraging internal Palestinian reconciliation. But if the EU wants to play a larger role in the peace process it also needs to improve its image in Israel.

Europe's not so eternal triangles

31 March 2011
Financial Times
Charles Grant, the director of the London-based Centre for European Reform, suggests that Britain and France could form the core of a series of coalitions of the capable. Smaller nations such as Denmark and the Netherlands have shown a willingness to deploy military muscle. Spain, Poland and some others could be occasional members of such coalitions.

Paris and London torpedo EU foreign policy

31 March 2011
La Stampa
Notwithstanding questions about their commitment to European policies in foreign affairs and defence, France and the United Kingdom have succeeded in monopolising most of the key jobs in the European External Action Service (EEAS), which is increasingly aligned with positions adopted in London and Paris.