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Showing posts from June 3, 2014

Geopolitical Calendar: Week of June 2, 2014

June 2: The European Commission will present its 2014 country-specific recommendations in Brussels.
June 2: Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades will meet with Turkish Cypriot Leader Dervis Eroglu.
June 2: Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Chairman-in-Office, Swiss President and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter will hold official meetings in Azerbaijan after his arrival June 1.
June 2: An International Monetary Fund mission will arrive in Bucharest for the third review of a stand-by agreement finalized in September 2013.
June 4: The European Commission will present the details of its 2014 Convergence Report assessing the readiness of Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Sweden to adopt the euro.
June 4: The EU Permanent Representatives Committees, Coreper I and Coreper II, will meet in Brussels.
June 4: U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Poland on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the country's first democrat…

Spain's Longtime King Steps Down Amid a Time of Tumult

The abdication of Spanish King Juan Carlos I, announced June 2 by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, will probably leave bittersweet feelings. In the almost four decades he sat on the Spanish throne, King Juan Carlos simultaneously served as a bulwark of democracy and a symbol of a decaying institution. The monarch leaves the throne at a time when the entire Spanish political system and the institutions that sustain it have been called into question.

The mainstream media has amply described the king's role during the 1970s, but this does not diminish the importance of his actions at the end of Francisco Franco's dictatorship. When Spain's longtime dictator died in 1975, it was not a given that the Iberian country would become a democracy. Franco himself had been certain that the king would maintain much of the old regime's political framework.

It took significant courage and talent for Juan Carlos to negotiate a transition to democracy and the writing of a new constit…

Ukraine, Russia: Signs of Compromise in the Energy Standoff

A valve is tightened at eastern Ukraine's Bilche-Volytsko-Uherske underground natural gas storage facility May 21.(ALEXANDER ZOBIN/AFP/Getty Images)


It appears as though Ukraine and Russia are willing to compromise on energy deliveries despite concerns that they would not. On June 2, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller announced that his company received payments from Ukraine for February and March natural gas deliveries, worth a total of $786 million. In response, Gazprom agreed to postpone the deadline by which Ukraine would fully repay its debts and begin pre-payments for future deliveries from June 2 to June 9. Gazprom has also indicated that it would be willing to lower the natural gas price from its initial offer of $485 per thousand cubic meters, or mcm, of gas to $385.50 per mcm if Kiev repaid its debts.

That is not to say the situation is resolved entirely. The price tag for natural gas is still much higher than Ukraine initially demanded ($268.50 per mcm), and the amount of …