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Democracy and Climate Change: Lessons Learned from 3 “Flawed Democracies’’

India, Indonesia, and South Africa

What are the challenges in flawed democracies, and what approaches work? What are the practical lessons for climate actors in these and similar countries? A study for the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and the European Network of Political Foundations.

Between Aspiration and Reality: European Diplomacy towards the Indo-Pacific

Ministerial Meeting of EU-ASEAN and EU-Indo-Pacific Forum in Brussels

While the public was captivated by the Special European Council on 1st February, important meetings between representatives of the Indo-Pacific and the EU took place almost simultaneously: Following a 'Pacific Day' in the European Parliament, representatives of the 27 EU member states met with their counterparts from the region on the morning of 2nd February as part of the ministerial meeting of the EU-Indo-Pacific Forum. Approximately 70 delegations from the eastern and southern coasts of Africa, across the Arabian Peninsula and Asia, to the island states of the Pacific Ocean participated in the negotiations.

IMAGO / ITAR-TASS

Super election year starts super boring

At the beginning of February, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will be re-elected for a further seven years in office

One of the first votes in the “super election year” of 2024 will take place in the South Caucasus: Early presidential elections are scheduled for 7 February in Azerbaijan. In early December, President Ilham Aliyev, who has been in office since 2003, surprisingly signed a decree bringing forward the vote by 14 months. There was initially no official justification for this decision, which led to intense speculation. The leading opposition parties announced that they would again boycott the ballot. Nevertheless, there are a total of seven candidates, all of whom (have to) praise the incumbent.

Auslandsbüro Mongolei

Steinmeier in Mongolia: More than an anniversary

50 years of German-Mongolian diplomatic relations

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit Mongolia on 7 February 2024. The occasion is the 50th anniversary of German-Mongolian diplomatic relations. For Mongolia, the visit is part of a foreign policy strategy aimed not least at securing its own sovereignty and independence. The country also hopes that the visit will intensify and enhance bilateral cooperation. It remains to be seen whether the German President can fulfil the high expectations of the Mongolians.

IMAGO / UPI Photo

No surprises?

US election campaign heading for another Biden-Trump duel

The first primaries have taken place, in which Democrats and Republicans determine their presidential candidates. So far there has been little surprise: Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump are heading for the presidential nomination of their respective parties.

Adobe Stock / Fokussiert

More "Net from Gross"

Relief through an allowance in statutory health insurance

In light of demographic changes that inevitably increase pressure on our social security system, an unstoppable rise in social insurance contributions looms unless decisively counteracted with reforms. Especially low-income households, which already bear a disproportionately high financial burden relative to their income, are under this strain. Consequently, there is a need for targeted relief for these households directly within the framework of social insurances, rather than through tax deductions. An allowance in statutory health insurance could significantly reduce the burden for employees subject to social insurance. To keep the costs of the reform manageable, it seems sensible to grant allowances only to a precisely defined target group.

IMAGO / Xinhua

East Africa: When it rains, it pours

What influence do current floods have on the socio-political development of the region?

In East Africa, record droughts are being followed by floods that have displaced 1.5 million people so far. This is exacerbating the multiple crises in the region. Food security is deteriorating further and exacerbating the already high rate of urban growth. At the same time, the region's govern-ments are grappling with massive over-indebtedness, further complicating the necessary invest-ments in climate-resilient measures.

IMAGO / Eastnews

Difficult change: From the PiS state back to the rule of law

Fifty turbulent days for the new coalition

The parliamentary elections on October 15, 2023 have fundamentally changed the face of the Polish political scene. With a record voter turnout of over 73%, the national-conservative government, formed by the Law and Justice party (PiS), was deposed and the four liberal democratic coalition parties (Civic Platform - PO, Polska 2050, Polish People's Party - PSL and the New Left) won overall 248 mandates in the 460-seat Sejm. Nevertheless, the PiS remains the strongest faction in parliament with 194 seats. In his first government statement in December, new Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced his cabinet's priorities, which are to restore the rule of law and return Poland to the European family.

Daniel Braun

The citizens of Kosovo now also have the freedom to travel to the European Union

Kosovo is the last country in the Western Balkans to receive visa liberalization with the EU

At the beginning of the year, visa liberalization with the European Union came into force in Kosovo, the last country in the Western Balkans to do so. The freedom to travel, which was achieved after a long wait compared to neighboring countries, is causing much euphoria, especially among the younger generation. However, there is also concern that the freedom to travel could trigger a large wave of emigration of workers and an additional brain drain to the EU states, which would exacerbate the already existing labor shortage in certain economic sectors.

Adobe Stock / One Dragon

Myanmar three years after the coup: where is the country heading?

A landmark year for Myanmar - new dynamics, alliances and scenarios for a "post-war state"

February 1 marks the third anniversary of the military coup (Tatmadaw) against the democratically elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Peaceful protests in the country continue to be bloodily suppressed and the humanitarian situation is catastrophic. Refugee movements, particularly to Thailand and India, and fighting on the Chinese border are turning the conflict in Myanmar into a supra-regional risk that the ASEAN community has so far done little to counter. Armed resistance has formed in large parts with the People's Defense Force. Since October last year, this has been supported by a number of powerful, highly armed ethnic organizations in the west, north and northeast of the country. The military appears vulnerable for the first time. Debates about a "post-junta" state are gaining momentum, although the ideas of the actors involved in the struggle (democratization vs. expansion of territorial claims) could not be more different. Myanmar is facing a landmark year full of dynamics.