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With Russia’s reemerging penchant for asserting its political, military, and economic influence over neighboring states, including the 2008 war with Georgia, its ongoing intervention in Ukraine, and, most recently, a large military exercise conducted in Belarus in September, is it any wonder that Finland and Sweden are experiencing an acute sense of insecurity?
The most significant news of the recent Austrian elections was the dramatic rightward and populist shift in Austrian politics. The Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), a center-right party with far-right views on immigration, secured 31.5 percent of the vote, making it the largest party in the Austrian Parliament. The Social Democratic Party won exactly the same number of seats, but lost the chancellorship. Furthermore, it will likely lose its coalition partner status to the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), a blatantly far-right populist, nationalist and xenophobic party.
On Sunday, Sept. 24, the 2017 German federal elections took place. The significance of this process is obvious. Germany, as Europe’s largest economy and one of the EU’s lynchpins, is massively influential in European as well as global politics. How it handles inflows of refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa, climate change, and bellicose nations such as Russia — among many other issues — over the next four years will set the standard the world over.
Throughout negotiations thus far, the inability of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Cabinet to decide on what kind of Brexit it wants and on what its future relationship with the EU is to be has consistently frustrated the EU’s negotiating team, led by Michel Barnier. By August, May had lost any semblance of unity with her ministers. The department not only freely leaked documents to the British press but also spoke openly about their opposition to May’s and her Cabinet’s positions on Brexit.