Massenbach-Letter: NEWS 06/06/14


Udo von Massenbach

Guten Morgen.

· Hagel Says ‘Indispensable’ U.S. Still Not the World’s Police: “It does include chasing al-Qaeda out of Afghanistan and into Africa, patrolling the skies with billion-dollar fighter jets, asking Japan and South Korea to hold hands for their own good, cajoling Europeans to pay up for their own defense, keeping the seas open from China to the Arctic Ocean, and sending elite American troops across oceans to search for kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls. Indispensable, to the farthest corners of the earth.“

· REVEALED: The head of Omidyar Network in India had a secret second job… Helping elect Narendra Modi. Omidyar Network is the philanthropy arm of eBay billionaire Pierre Omidyar.

· The Russian Economy

· Ergebnisse einer repräsentativen Umfrage von TNS Infratest Politikforschung zur Sicht der Deutschen auf die Außenpolitik* ( )

Massenbach* Europe’s Political Mainstream Gets A Wake-Up Call

The resounding gains made by the anti-EU parties in last week’s European parliamentary elections have alerted Europe’s mainstream leadership to its fundamentally precarious position. This a warning Stratfor sounded more than two years ago when we predicted the rise of the far right and cautioned that these fringe groups should not be underestimated, precisely because they were tapping into very real and deepening sentiments that emerged from the economic and social malaise that has developed since 2008.

The highest levels of European leadership are finally and unequivocally feeling the political consequences of years of unemployment and stagnating growth across much of the continent. The dismal election results for many of the mainstream European parties (particularly in France, Spain and the United Kingdom) overshadowed the small but much-lauded gross domestic product growth figures for the year to date that dominated headlines until last week.

The current European leadership sees the rapid rise of Euroskeptical parties as an existential threat to the postwar order in Europe. This is not only because of old specters of Europe’s bloody nationalist past, but also because the economic and financial stability of the continent has been rigged (sometimes haphazardly) around the open market and common currency that these Euroskeptical parties want to recuse.

Reversing the trend of growing popularity for Euroskeptical radical parties will therefore become even more of a priority for Europe’s leadership. On a tactical level, mainstream parties will have to co-opt some of the more palatable platforms of their fringe counterparts to try to draw back in a wider majority of voters — including restarting debates on immigration and the welfare state. The problem, of course, is that doing so will only accentuate the divisions and clashes among EU members rather than harmonizing their very different solutions to very different problems.

In fact, the only avenue for hope for the European project lies at the supranational level, with Germany being able to rally enough support from its European peers to lead radical reforms and drive further integration among its members. Berlin has understood this very well for some time. However, constrained by an electorate that would balk at the idea of sacrificing Germany’s welfare for that of a financially distressed neighbor, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has walked the line very carefully so far.

The victory of the anti-EU parties may be a catalyst for Berlin and its other mainstream political allies to accelerate the fundamental reforms needed to return to growth while they still have the political capital to do so. This shorter-than-expected timeline adds urgency to controversial structural reforms designed to deepen integration and ultimately give the creditors — Germany — more of a say in how eurozone countries manage their banks and budgets.

The question is: Does Germany have that kind of time? Growth remains stagnant and unemployment is high. Moreover, there are still major outstanding issues on how to enforce bank lending across highly varied eurozone economies, how to enforce deficit targets, who decides which banks survive and fail, and myriad others.

While Berlin and its allies can try to accelerate the reforms while they still have the votes, they risk creating much deeper political divisions at home. The already growing Euroskepticism and other fringe parties will benefit from the unavoidable period of pain that would accompany the early stages of these wide-ranging reforms. Even if the end results of these reforms were guaranteed to be spectacular (which they are not), there is a risk that a changing European political landscape will deny them a real opportunity to work.

On a practical level, the EU Parliament elections will bring little visible short-term change. But even as the sting of defeat for the mainstream parties disappears from the headlines, plans and strategies are being set into motion by a very desperate European political elite that worries it may not get enough time to act before it is too late.

Courtesy : Stratfor (


Nr. 149: The Russian Economy

Autor(en): Philip Hanson, Irina Nikolaevna Il’ina, Carol S. Leonard, Evgenii Plisetskij

Herausgeber: Stephen Aris, Matthias Neumann, Robert Orttung, Jeronim Perović, Heiko Pleines, Hans-Henning Schröder, Aglaya Snetkov

Serie: Russian Analytical Digest (RAD)

Ausgabe: 149

Verlag(e): Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich; Research Centre for East European Studies, University of Bremen; Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University

Publikationsjahr: 2014

This edition considers the current state of the Russian economy. Firstly, Philip Hansen assesses the reasons for the economic slowdown that predated the Ukraine crisis, highlighting that the radical reforms needed to improve business confidence seem unlikely to be undertaken. He also notes that fallout from the Ukraine crisis will have a negative impact on the short-term prospects for growth, and that although in the medium term some restoration of growth is possible, this will only likely reach rates below the global average. Secondly, Irina Nikolaevna Il’ina, Carol S. Leonard, and Evgenii Plisetskij examine the resilience of resource abundant regions in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, by way of a case study of Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug. They argue that long-term efficient and cooperative budget planning and performance account for the resilience of such regions.


Englisch (PDF)



Policy= res publica

Freudenberg-Pilster* Einmischen oder zurückhalten?

So lauten die Alternativen in der Debatte um die außenpolitische Rolle Deutschlands. Während die Außenpolitik der Bundesrepublik viele Jahrzehnte von Zurückhaltung geprägt war, hat sich seit Ende der neunziger Jahre ein Wandel hin zu einem stärkeren außenpolitischen und militärischen Engagement Deutschlands vollzogen. Anfang 2014 appellierten Bundespräsident Joachim Gauck, Außenminister Frank-Walter Steinmeier und Verteidigungsministerin Ursula von der Leyen, die gestiegene politische und wirtschaftliche Bedeutung Deutschlands in der Welt anzuerkennen und sich entsprechend stärker außenpolitisch zu engagieren.

Doch sind die Deutschen überhaupt bereit, mehr Verantwortung zu übernehmen? In welchen Bereichen kann und soll Deutschland auf internationaler Bühne stärker aktiv werden? Welche Ziele und Aufgaben soll die deutsche Außenpolitik verfolgen? Zu diesen Fragen hat die Körber-Stiftung im April und Mai 2014 bei TNS Infratest eine repräsentative Umfrage unter 1.000 Personen ab 18 Jahren in Auftrag gegeben, die wichtige Erkenntnisse über die Einstellungen der Deutschen zur Außenpolitik liefert.

Die Ergebnisse der Umfrage wurden am 20. Mai 2014 auf der Konferenz »Review 2014 – Außenpolitik Weiter Denken« des Auswärtigen Amts veröffentlicht und sind auf dieser Webseite verfügbar.

Weitere Informationen auch unter .

Ergebnisse einer repräsentativen Umfrage von TNS Infratest Politikforschung zur Sicht der Deutschen auf die Außenpolitik

Broschüre (PDF)
Grafiken (PDF)
Tabellen (PDF)



Politics: From Vision to Action

Barandat* EBRD and Kazakhstan agree historic partnership to boost reform and investment *

Partnership between Kazakhstan and IFIs will manage US$ 2.7 billion; funds will help EBRD increase own investment *

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the government of Kazakhstan have agreed on a ground-breaking partnership that will boost investment and drive forward reforms in the country.

The Partnership for Re-Energizing the Reform Process in Kazakhstan will engage the world’s major international financial institutions (IFIs), including the EBRD, to channel US$ 2.7 billion provided by the Kazakh government into important sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy. The money will be provided by the country’s Oil Wealth Fund and other sources.

The Partnership will enable the EBRD – already the largest non-oil and gas investor and the largest foreign investor in the country – to significantly increase its investment in Kazakhstan. Government grants, provided by the new fund, will be used to co-finance projects that may not be otherwise possible. The Partnership will also provide enhanced and broader policy dialogue and technical cooperation.

The agreement was signed at the Astana Economic Forum by the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Karim Massimov, and the EBRD Managing Director, Olivier Descamps.

Signing the memorandum of understanding, Olivier Descamps said: “This agreement takes our cooperation with the government of Kazakhstan to an entirely new level. It means that the EBRD will facilitate the successful implementation of the national industrialization strategy, thanks to its delivery capacity and project know-how. This partnership can be more than a smart way to channel money to the economy through IFIs. It may become a way to boost reforms, and to re-energize the transition to a market economy. And it may become a blueprint for other middle income countries.”

The EBRD’s Olivier Descamps and Karim Massimov, Kazakhstan’s Prime Minister, in Astana today

“We believe Kazakhstan can be one of the largest of our countries of operations,” said EBRD Director for Kazakhstan, Janet Heckman. “We have been looking for ways to increase our investment in the country, and the new Partnership will enable us to be more involved and to contribute significantly more to Kazakhstan, dramatically increasing our own investment.”

The program will be managed by a coordination council consisting of the participating IFIs and chaired by Prime Minister Massimov. Each of the participants will focus on their areas of strength.

The government envisages the following priority areas under the Partnership: financial sector, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), innovation, skills, investment climate, regional development and institutional reforms. The EBRD will focus on priorities outlined in the recently adopted country strategy, namely diversification of the economy, energy efficiency/green economy and rebalancing the role of the state in the economy.

According to the latest EBRD economic forecast, Kazakhstan is projected to grow at about five per cent this year and again in 2015. Analyzing the pace of growth and reforms in the latest Transition Report, EBRD economists note that reforms can increase GDP growth by as much as 1.5 per cent in the long term.

This agreement is the most prominent of recent deals between the EBRD and the government headed by Prime Minister Massimov. Earlier this week, the EBRD and the National Bank of Kazakhstan agreed two new facilities that will enable the EBRD to dramatically increase its lending in local currency. The new facilities will allow the EBRD access to the tenge equivalent of about US$ 1 billion.

Since the beginning of its operations in Kazakhstan, the EBRD has invested close to US$ 6.5 billion in the country’s economy, with more than half of the Bank’s projects supporting the private sector. In 2013 alone, the EBRD invested over US$ 500 million.

Russian_Analytical_Digest_149-The Current State of the Russian Economy.pdf