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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Looking into the crystal ball...

A few bits and pieces:

We've just published our latest pamphlet: The EU in 2007. We attempt to assess how the French elections and the expected changes in No 10 Downing Street next year will affect EU politicians' plans to bring back the EU Constitution. We also look at the rising tensions within the eurozone and flag up some of the most controversial aspects of the incoming German Presidency's agenda.

For an interesting article on recent trends and the future of politics in Central and Eastern Europe, have a look at this piece from Marian Tupy from the CATO Institute (hat-tip the beatroot).

Another area of great uncertainty in 2007 will of course be the situation in Iran, and whether the international community will actually take any military action if Tehran continues to flout UN resolutions. An Israeli think-tank - the Institute for National Strategic Studies - has released a report which claims that the country could take out the Iranians' nuclear capability on its own.

They stress however, that military strikes should strictly be a last option. Interestingly though, they are split over whether or not to involve the US in the plan - which as the Foreign Policy blog points out would need to give assent as it controls Iraqi airspace.

INSS head Zvi Shtauber, a retired general who also served as Israel's ambassador in London and senior policy adviser to former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, said Israel was "technically" capable of striking alone and would have to do so if it takes action, because no other country would agree to work openly with Israel. Taking issue with [another INSS board member's] assessment that the U.S. must sign off on such an attack, he said, "There are certain things that it's better the U.S. not know

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