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IMAGO / ABACAPRESS

Franco-German tensions and European pressure to act

Ukraine conference in Paris

On February 27, 2024, President Macron invited 20 heads of state and government, including 15 representatives of the EU member states as well as the UK, the USA and Canada, to a conference on Ukraine in Paris at very short notice. This took place under the impression of the extremely difficult situation on the Ukrainian front and the possible discontinuation of military aid from the USA to Ukraine. At the press conference for the meeting, Macron polarized with a statement on the possible deployment of ground troops in Ukraine, which was met with fierce criticism, particularly in Germany. He also sent several pointed remarks in the direction of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, which reinforced the impression that tensions in Franco-German relations are currently immense, particularly in view of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. France itself is under pressure to act. The government has repeatedly denied the figures from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, according to which France is one of the worst performers in the European context in terms of military aid to Ukraine (see info panel). Macron, who attempted to maintain a dialogue with Vladimir Putin as the driving European force at the beginning of the invasion in 2022, now wants to become the geopolitical leader in Europe again. Whether he will succeed in this seems rather uncertain. The European partners immediately distanced themselves clearly from the scenario of a troop deployment in Ukraine. The French president may also have led himself up the garden path domestically. The opposition described Macron's proposal as risky and ill-considered. The right-wing populist camp in France in particular is likely to exploit the president's geopolitical move in order to use it against him in the upcoming European elections.

IMAGO / Manfred Segerer

Escalation in the Red Sea

The military dimension, the deployment of the Bundeswehr and the calculations of regional players

Die Entsendung der Fregatte Hessen ins Rote Meer wurde im Vorfeld als der gefährlichste Einsatz der deutschen Marine seit Bestehen der Bundeswehr bezeichnet und zielt auf den Schutz elementarer nationaler Interessen ab. Dabei zeigt sich, dass gerade diese Marinemission zentrale Annahmen und Planungen deutscher Verteidigungspolitik der vergangenen zwei Dekaden ad absurdum führt. Eine Rückkehr der Bundeswehr nach Ostafrika galt lange als genauso unwahrscheinlich, wie ein Luftvertei-digungsszenario gegen eine nicht-staatliche bewaffnete Gruppierung. Nun konfrontiert die jemeniti-sche Huthi-Miliz die Seestreitkräfte der USA mit einem vornehmlich iranischen Waffenarsenal, das dem vieler anderer nicht-staatlicher Gewaltakteure an Qualität deutlich überlegen ist. Während Europa verteidigungspolitisch fast vollständig an der NATO-Ostflanke gebunden ist, zeichnet sich ab, dass die konfliktbehaftete Region um das Rote Meer als zusätzliche sicherheitspolitische Herausforderung län-gerfristig Engagement und Ressourcen erfordern könnte. Schließlich sind die maritime Handelsroute zwischen Suezkanal und Bab al-Mandab und der Zugang zum indopazifischen Raum von zentraler wirtschafts- und sicherheitspolitischer Bedeutung für Deutschland und Europa.

IMAGO / ITAR-TASS

Elections as a “special operation”

With Lukashenka’s “single voting day” only a coup by the democratic forces is surprising

On February 25, 2024, the “single voting day” for the national parliament and local councils took place in Belarus. This was likely the least free election in the history of the nation. Politically sterile, with no opposition on the ballot or in the election commissions, Lukashenka is ushering in a process that the democratic opposition calls a “special operation.” Strictly guarded by a massive contingent of his repressive apparatus, the system is now to be restructured in the spring with a new super-committee in order to secure his authoritarian rule and personal power. From his point of view, the people are above all a threat following the peaceful pro-democratic mass protests of 2020. An action led by democratic forces produced a surprise on the eve of “Election Day.”

adobe stock / H_Ko

Health and psychosocial effects of the legalisation and commercialisation of cannabis

Cannabis legalization at the expense of children and young people

Cannabis legalization leads to an increase in consumption. In addition, the risk perception of harmful effects decreases due to the easier availability of cannabis. Harmful effects include impaired concentration and memory, apathy, anxiety, depressive and schizophrenic disorders. Legalization in Germany is an experiment that is being carried out on the backs of children and young people for the benefit of robust luxury consumers.

IMAGO / ITAR-TASS

The Human Rights Situation in Belarus on the Eve of the “Single Voting Day”

The repressive system in Belarus today is no less brutal than in Putin's Russia

Just days after the breaking news of Alexei Navalny's death made global headlines, Belarusian independent media reported another tragedy that is similar in character but will likely cause much less attention. The political prisoner Ihar Lednik died in a hospital in Minsk after he had been incarcerated despite a known heart condition. He had been accused of “slandering Lukashenka” in a publication that demanded the dissolution of the Union State with Russia. This underlines yet again that the repressive system in today’s Belarus is not less brutal than in Putin’s Russia. Since 2020, at least five political prisoners have died in Belarus, four of them within the last nine months. Since last spring, at least six political prisoners, among them the most prominent leaders of the 2020 democratic protest, have “disappeared”. Former inmates and relatives describe the conditions in the penal colonies as “creeping death” and the UN sees signs of “crimes against humanity”. Since the repressions aim to secure Lukashenka’s rule beyond “elections”, this report is to give an overview of the human rights situation in Belarus on the eve of the “single voting day” on February 25, 2024.

Collage: Stafeeva, stock.adobe.com (people); KAS

Online, offline or both?

Practical test of survey methods – which survey method delivers trustworthy, representative results?

Survey data that is supposedly representative of the population is published almost daily. However, its quality is increasingly being questioned. These doubts are also linked to an accelerating trend towards online surveys. So-called mixed-mode samples from online and telephone data are also increasingly entering the survey market. But which survey method delivers reliable results? What are the opportunities and problems of internet-based methods? What role do data weighting and accessibility play? Analyses of telephone, online and mixed-mode samples provide answers.

IMAGO / CTK Photo

Fico pushes through controversial criminal law reform - and thus unites the opposition

The fight for the rule of law characterises the first months of the legislative period. Presidential elections in March will also be essential for the country's further development.

Although the result of the parliamentary elections in Sept. 2023 also allowed for other constellations, SMER-SD formed the government for the fourth time with Robert Fico at the lead. Coalition partners are Peter Pellegrini's HLAS-SD and Andrej Danko's National Party SNS.

One of the first things the Fico government did was to abolish the special anti-corruption prosecutor's office and shorten the statute of limitations and prison sentences in a shortened legislative procedure. Experts warned, the opposition held firm against this, as coalition MPs and former SMER-SD ministers would also benefit directly from this. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated across the country week after week - a testament to how divided the country is and a sign of how tough the upcoming election campaign for the direct presidential elections in March will be. In the run-off, the Social Democrat Pellegrini is expected to face off against the civic candidate and former foreign minister Ivan Korčok.

In terms of foreign policy, Fico is still using harsh rhetoric against Ukraine, but he is not blocking the EU's joint decisions in this regard. Commercial arms exports as well as humanitarian and technical support for Ukraine will continue under Fico, but bilateral military aid will not.

IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Senegal's democracy passes the stress test

The Constitutional Council has repealed Macky Salls' decree of 03.02.24 annulling the elections

There was much commotion in the country after President Macky Sall canceled the election date set for 25.02.2024 just a few hours before the start of the campaign. Senegalese civil society and the international community reacted with bewilderment and interpreted the annulment as an attempt by Macky Sall to extend his mandate indefinitely. Now, in a historic decision, the Constitutional Council has annulled the presidential decree.

Adobe Stock / by-studio

Changing political attitudes

Results from three representative trend surveys

The study shows changes in the population's political attitudes between December 2022 and December 2023. How have satisfaction with democracy and trust in institutions developed? How optimistic are citizens about the future? How do citizens position themselves on the left-right axis? And how are these attitudes related to the level of formal education? The study investigates these questions with the help of three representative surveys, each conducted six months apart.

IMAGO / Pond5 Images

Why the European elections could be decided in Italy

Movement in the Italian party system reaches as far as Strasbourg and Brussels

2024 will be a real stress test for Italy's party landscape. European elections, regional elections, local elections - a super election year has begun. For some party leaders, political survival is at stake. And some groupings may no longer exist afterwards. Only Giorgia Meloni and her Fratelli d'Italia can look to the future with relative calm when looking at the demoscopic data. The election to the European Parliament could even make the Italian head of government a key figure in Brussels when it comes to appointing new EU leaders. And surprises cannot be ruled out on the Tiber either.

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Facts and Findings

Selected contributions to the series with international relevance

The series informs in a concentrated form about important positions of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on current topics. The individual issues present key findings and recommendations, offer brief analyses, explain the Foundation's further plans and name KAS contact persons.

 

International Reports

Journal for international issues, foreign policy and development cooperation

International Reports (IR) is the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung's periodical on international politics. It offers political analyses by our experts in Berlin and from more than 100 offices across all regions of the world. Contributions by named authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editorial team.

Die Politische Meinung

Zeitschrift für Politik, Gesellschaft, Religion und Kultur

Die Politische Meinung ist eine Zweimonatszeitschrift, in der ein breites Spektrum politischer, gesellschaftlicher und kultureller Themen der Gegenwart dargestellt und diskutiert werden. Sie bietet als Bezugspunkte fundierte Analysen historischer Hintergründe und eine der individuellen Eigenverantwortung verpflichtete, im christlichen Menschenbild verankerte Ethik. Die jeweiligen Themenschwerpunkte werden von einer inspirierenden Bilderstrecke, namhafter zeitgenössischer Künstlerinnen und Künstlern, vertieft.

 

Research and Sources on Contemporary History

In der Reihe „Forschungen und Quellen zur Zeitgeschichte“ veröffentlicht das Archiv für Christlich-Demokratische Politik seit 1980 wissenschaftliche Studien zur Christlichen Demokratie, Darstellungen zur Geschichte der Bundesrepublik und der CDU sowie Biographien wichtiger Repräsentanten. Zu den 50 bisher erschienen Büchern zählen auch Quelleneditionen, wie Protokolle von Parteigremien oder Tagebücher von einflussreichen Politikern. Die Publikationen sind im Buchhandel erhältlich.

Interviews

In our series "Interviews", talks and discussions are held with experts from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. on various topics.

kurzum

Concise, reduced to the essentials, but always highly topical. In our series "kurzum", our experts summarise an issue or problem on a maximum of two pages.

Country Reports

Short political reports of the KAS offices abroad

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is a political foundation. Our offices abroad are in charge of over 200 projects in more than 120 countries. The country reports offer current analyses, exclusive evaluations, background information and forecasts - provided by our international staff.

Monitor

The Monitor series deals with one main topic at a time from the perspective of KAS experts and places it in the political and social context on the basis of a few key points.

Event Reports

The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, its educational institutions, centres and foreign offices, offer several thousand events on various subjects each year. We provide up to date and exclusive reports on selected conferences, events and symposia at www.kas.de. In addition to a summary of the contents, you can also find additional material such as pictures, speeches, videos or audio clips.

Handouts for Political Education

Grundlageninformationen zur Beteiligung
an aktuellen politischen Diskussionen

Mit der Reihe „Handreichungen zur Politischen Bildung“ möchte die Politische Bildung der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung interessierte Bürgerinnen und Bürger über politische Entwicklungen informieren, Orientierungen in Sachfragen geben und das Interesse an politischer Mitwirkung stärken. Die Handreichungen verstehen sich als Grundlageninformationen zur Beteiligung an aktuellen politischen Diskussionen.

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Completed publication series

Working Paper

Broschürenreihe mit Darstellungen und Positionen, die kurzfristig auf aktuelle politische Fragen reagieren

The Woman in Our Time

Lebensentwürfe von Frauen –
was hat sich verändert?

Jede Ausgabe widmete sich einem Schwerpunktthema aus Politik und Gesellschaft, der Arbeits- und Familienwelt, aus Kultur und Literatur und diskutierte dieses aus frauenpolitischer Sicht.

Insights

Berichte aus der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung

Die Herausgabe der "Einblicke" ist ausgesetzt. "Einblicke" hat alle drei Monate über die Arbeit der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung berichtet.

Focus

Publikationen des Teams Politikdialog und Analyse der Hauptabteilung Europäische und Internationale Zusammenarbeit.

Sociopolitical Series

Veröffentlicht wurden herausragende Dissertationsschriften mit gesellschaftspolitisch relevanten Themen von Stipendiatinnen und Stipendiaten der Begabtenförderung und Personen, die ihrem Promotionskolleg „Soziale Marktwirtschaft“ kooptiert sind.

Die Reihe gab den Autorinnen und Autoren ein wissenschaftliches und publizistisches Forum und brachte aktuelle Themen in die öffentliche Diskussion ein.

Basic Questions of Christian Democracy

In dieser Reihe erschienen im Jahr 2006 Texte namenhafter Autoren zu Grundfragen der christlichen Demokratie.

In Conversation

Kulturpolitische Umschau

Zeitschrift mit Berichten aus Bundestag und Bundesländern, Gastbeiträgen, Rezensionen und Presseauswertungen zur aktuellen Kulturpolitik.

In Plenary

Broschürenreihe der Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung mit den Beiträgen von Konferenzen, Fachtagungen und Kongressen, die von längerfristigem Interesse sind.

In Plenary Compact

Die Broschüren im DIN-A-4-Format fassen kurz und knapp die Ergebnisse von Konferenzen, Fachtagungen und Kongressen zusammen, die von längerfristigem Interesse sind.

KAS International

Information from the Division of European and International Cooperation

This series informs about current important events and developments of our work to point out our wide spectrum of activities.

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