Vladimir Putin almost certainly failed to anticipate that Germany would be willing to sacrifice the benefits of cheaper Russian gas to punish Russian aggression in Ukraine. But Tuesday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz indefinitely paused certification of the completed Nord Stream 2 pipeline to “reassess” the situation. While the move didn’t stop Putin from invading Ukraine—by that point Putin already had too much skin in the game to risk the loss of face from backing down—it has substantially raised the costs for Russia. Why did Germany do this, and why didn’t Putin see it coming?
EU countries opposing nuclear energy, mainly Austria and Germany, are trying to limit its development in the Union by using the dispute over the details of the “green taxonomy”. The Russian aggression against Ukraine, however, has strengthened the arguments of supporters of this technology. They present nuclear energy as a way to make Europe independent of Russian gas and oil imports while reducing CO2 emissions. The final shape of the delegated act supplementing the taxonomy and the date of its entry into force will significantly affect the future of new nuclear projects in the EU, including in Poland.
Energy Policy, European Union, Carbon Emissions, and Nuclear Energy
The coalition of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), The Greens, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) came to power with the intention of undertaking significant economic and social reforms. Their ambitious plans were symbolised by the title of the coalition agreement, “Daring to Make More Progress”. The war in Ukraine, though, has forced the government to take revolutionary steps in the areas of defence and energy security. The Chancellor’s vagueness about the supply of weapons to Ukraine has been causing his SPD’s ratings to fall and The Greens’ popularity to rise. To reverse this trend, the chancellor will pursue further social reforms.
Government, War, Domestic Politics, Inflation, and Olaf Scholz
Samantha Bradshaw, Kailee Hilt, Eric Jardine, Florian Kerschbaum, Ulrike Klinger, Michael Pal, Aaron Shull, and Wesley Wark
Centre for International Governance Innovation
Democracies around the world are facing growing threats to their electoral systems in the digital age. Foreign interference in the form of dis- and misinformation has already influenced the results of democratic elections and altered the course of history. This special report, the result of a research project conducted in partnership with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Canada, examines these cyberthreats from a Canadian and German perspective. Both Canada and Germany share common goals centred around protecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law, and international peace and security. Using case studies from experts in fields such as computer science, law and public policy, the special report offers recommendations to guide policy makers and stakeholders on how to protect elections from next-generation technologies and the threats they pose to democracy.
Environment, Science and Technology, Elections, Democracy, and Emerging Technology
Intensifying US-Chinese rivalry will increase pressure on Germany to support a more hawkish US geo-economic policy. The new German government should give Washington support in as far as US policies seek to create an economic level playing field vis-à-vis China. Given its dependence on international trade and investment, Germany should seek to resist a broader politicization of international economic relations.
Economics, International Trade and Finance, Geopolitics, and Rivalry
In 2016, British and German officials were clear: they wanted quickly to put Brexit behind them and cooperate on big ticket items like the international rule of law. Now, in 2022, the pair in fact seem to be competing more than they cooperate. Germany wants to shine in comparison with Britain, and the UK sees advantages for its own standing if Germany falls short. This “competitive virtue signaling” defines Germany and the UK’s post-Brexit rivalry, and – oddly – might lead to tighter relations.
European Union, Brexit, Rivalry, Cooperation, and Competition
Japan and Germany face an acute dilemma. China, a key trading partner for both nations, uses political warfare and economic statecraft to advance its interests. Like Germany, Japan has a strong SME economy and auto industry, and has dependencies on China. Yet Japan faces more risk due to its geographical proximity to China and territorial disputes. As global tensions grow, Japan is responding robustly by building economic security. Germany, together with the EU and other like-minded partners, should do the same.
Geo-economic policies have become an increasingly important feature of international politics – and not just since the war in Ukraine. The EU has proposed an economic anti-coercion tool to deter third-party coercion. This policy brief analyses the risks and benefits as well as the challenges related to the EU’s proposed deterrence policy based on a review of the academic literature on coercion and the effectiveness of economic sanctions.
Sanctions, Coercion, Geoeconomics, and Russia-Ukraine War
Without a sound economic foundation, political and military ambitions cannot be sustained. This also applies to the geopolitical competition between the United States and its rivals. So far, America and its allies are economically ahead of Russia and China. But where Russia’s long-term outlook is weak, China’s economic might is rapidly increasing. Despite the war in Ukraine, Washington will have to focus its resources on Asia. In Europe, Germany, with its large financial and economic base, should lead on military spending and enhanced security.
NATO, Geopolitics, Geoeconomics, and Competition
Russia, China, Europe, Germany, and United States of America
Writing a National Security Strategy (NSS) in an acute crisis requires concision and priority-setting. Pairing the NSS with feminist foreign policy (FFP) – two novelties for Germany, which is formulating an overarching strategy for the first time – might seem risky for the government in Berlin. How can FFP serve as an enduring compass for the NSS in diverse policy areas? And how can the NSS process help flesh out FFP and prove its efficacy in addressing major security issues?
Security, Foreign Policy, National Security, and Feminism
Crises cannot be predicted. But that is no excuse for being unprepared. By evaluating how previous crises were handled, governments can improve future crisis management and give it strategic footing. This paper presents reforms based on past experience, and it shows how they might fit into Germany’s planned National Security Strategy (NSS). As such, it rethinks the relationship between crisis response and strategy.
European Union, Democracy, Crisis Management, and International Order