Föhrenbergkreis Finanzwirtschaft

Unkonventionelle Lösungen für eine zukunftsfähige Gesellschaft

Posts Tagged ‘Palacio’

A Democratic Doomsday?

Posted by hkarner - 8. September 2020

Date: 07‑09‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Ana Palacio

Ana Palacio, a former minister of foreign affairs of Spain and former senior vice president and general counsel of the World Bank Group, is a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University.j 

For years, liberal democracies have been beset by deepening political polarization, declining confidence in the rule of law, and widespread institutional decay. With the COVID‑19 crisis accelerating these trends, the need for a clear strategy to defend liberal democracy has become more urgent than ever.

MADRID – In 1947, two years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were decimated by nuclear bombs, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists launched the Doomsday Clock to convey the world proximity to annihilation – and to spur action to “turn back time.” Today, it is worth considering the need to create a clock to show how close our democracies are to collapse. On such a Democracy Doomsday Clock, we would be rapidly approaching midnight.

Liberal democracy is founded on the idea that individuals acting rationally in their own interest will produce good outcomes. But almost every aspect of this premise has been eroded in recent years. For starters, widespread income stagnation and soaring inequality, especially since the 2008 financial crisis, are hardly outcomes that most rational people would choose.

Moreover, waning trust in institutions has undermined the conditions individuals need to make informed decisions. Traditional media, long expected to serve as gatekeepers of information, have been coopted and bypassed by online sources, whose business model encourages them to attract readers by playing to their beliefs and interests, often through the dissemination of false or misleading information.

In this context, political leaders attempting to act as moderating forces often lose out to those who use fearmongering and appeals to tribalism. All of this has fostered a narrowly drawn – and, at times, self‑defeating – sense of self‑interest, which makes the compromises that are necessary to build broad coalitions virtually impossible.

These trends have beset liberal democracies with deepening political polarization, declining confidence in the rule of law, and widespread institutional decay. The COVID‑19 crisis has accelerated every one of these developments. The pandemic has dealt devastating new blows to liberal democracies’ already‑tattered reputation as bastions of relative prosperity, predictability, and security.

The challenges are well known. And yet even discussions of democracy’s decline have become deeply polarized. In the United States, Republicans and Democrats both spent much of their recent presidential nominating conventions suggesting that their opponents are intent on destroying American democracy.

In fact, the entire US presidential campaign has been featuring near‑apocalyptic rhetoric, with both sides weaponizing the language of liberal democracy – liberty, freedom, the rule of law – to portray their opponents as an existential threat to the American way of life. This reflects a broader trend toward linking the defense of democracy with elections. Far from representing a credible solution, this approach now seems to embody a zero‑sum ethos, which merely deepens the divides that are already crippling democracy.

Ominous warnings – even those that are grounded in reality – will never be enough to save liberal democracy. That will require a long‑term strategy aimed at restoring the system’s foundations: good governance outcomes based on rational, informed decision‑making.

Education and mobilization are integral to such a strategy. Recent developments – from a broad willingness to follow public‑health guidelines to widespread protests against systemic racism – suggest that populations are ready and willing to act. But such efforts will mean little without better outcomes, and that will require political leaders to address systemic flaws, beginning with those that are fueling inequality.

The key to success – and democratic resilience – is to foster a stronger connection between government and society. That, in turn, requires a more robust understanding of citizenship.

As the nineteenth‑century Italian politician and state‑builder Giuseppe Mazzini noted, a liberal democracy can take root and flourish only if it is founded on duties, not just on rights. Citizens must be connected to one another by a higher cause. For Mazzini, who helped to bring about Italy’s unification and independence, that cause was the nation’s right to self‑determination. US President Woodrow Wilson built on this at the international level following World War I in laying the foundation for what would ultimately become the liberal world order.

Such an effort does not, however, need to be based on nationalism. Indeed, today we see politicians resorting to ethnic nationalism as a means of dividing populations. What is necessary is a sense that we all have a responsibility beyond ourselves and to each other. That belief allows a functioning – let alone flourishing – liberal democratic society to exist.

In practice, this approach is quotidian and deliberate. It involves community building, a commitment to service, and a general conscientiousness. It will not be easy, and it certainly won’t be accomplished with a single election, not even the US presidential election in November. But that is not an excuse not to try, and to succumb to the centrifugal forces driving us apart.

Winston Churchill once quipped that liberal democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others. It may not be perfect, but it is undeniably worth saving. And the clock is ticking.

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Multilateralism in a G-Zero World

Posted by hkarner - 23. Juni 2020

Ana Palacio, a former minister of foreign affairs of Spain and former senior vice president and general counsel of the World Bank Group, is a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University.

When effective global leadership eventually reemerges, the world can get to work building a better multilateral system, underpinned by common interests and a sense of shared responsibility. In the meantime, political leaders must do whatever it takes to keep the current multilateral system, flawed and limited as it is, alive and viable.

MADRID – This year’s gathering of world leaders for the United Nations General Assembly in New York has been called off. The news of the cancellation – the first in the UN’s 75-year history – came a week after a planned G7 meeting at Camp David was scrapped, and a month after the G20 abandoned plans for a virtual summit. At a time when the global nature of today’s most pressing challenges is more apparent than ever, the instruments of multilateralism are not just underperforming. They have stopped functioning.

Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , | Leave a Comment »

Disunited States

Posted by hkarner - 22. April 2020

Date: 21‑04‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Ana Palacio

Ana Palacio is former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group. She is a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University. 

Long held up as a model for Europe, the United States is now also suffering from balkanization, internal competition, out‑of‑touch and short‑sighted leadership, and narrow turf battles. Given the large number of pressing global challenges, the world must hope that America does not go further down that road.

MADRID – In 1946, with war‑ravaged Europe exhausted and in disarray, Britain’s wartime leader, Winston Churchill, gave a speech in Zurich in which he emphasized the need to “recreate the European fabric” in order to restore peace and freedom to the continent. “We must build a kind of United States of Europe, Churchill declared. It was a foundational moment for what would become the European Union, even if Churchill’s views of the United Kingdom’s place in Europe were rather more nuanced. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , | Leave a Comment »

A European Strategy Is Missing in Action

Posted by hkarner - 4. März 2020

Date: 02‑03‑2020

Source: Project Syndicate by Ana Palacio

Ana Palacio is former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group. She is a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University. 

While the single market is a valuable asset, it cannot be Europe’s sole frame of reference. To become an effective strategic actor, the EU must make the most of all of the tools at its disposal, and that requires developing a compelling strategic vision and engaging in effective longer‑term planning.

MADRID – Each February, the Munich Security Conference offers an opportunity to take the temperature of international affairs, especially transatlantic relations. This year’s results are far from encouraging. Speeches and conversations highlighted, yet again, the widening divide between the United States and Europe, even as they pointed to a shared preoccupation with China. Perhaps more consequentially, they highlighted the world’s return to great‑power competition – and Europe’s utter lack of any actionable strategy for navigating it. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The European Parliament’s Misguided Ambitions

Posted by hkarner - 7. August 2019

Ana Palacio is former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group. She is a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University.

The European Union’s core institutions are undergoing leadership successions while besieged by well-known internal and external challenges. And yet, at a time when the EU desperately needs to be able to act effectively, it seems simply to be engaging in more political jockeying.

MADRID – In moments of political transition, initial signals make all the difference, because they set the tone for the process that follows. As new leaders take over the European Union’s core institutions, the first signs are not promising – and in particular those coming from the European Parliament.

The EU is undergoing this succession process while besieged by well-known internal and external challenges: demographic, social, and economic pressures abound, while Europe is more a geopolitical chessboard upon which global powers are playing than a player in its own right. And yet, at a time when the EU desperately needs to be able to act effectively, and is in great need of a realistic but forward-thinking vision, it seems simply to be engaging in more political jockeying. Here, the European Parliament has been ground zero. That is the message of the confirmation process for the new European Commission president – a process that began in early July, when the European Council nominated Ursula von der Leyen for the post. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Amerikanische Macht ohne Klugheit

Posted by hkarner - 24. Juni 2019

Ana Palacio is former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group. She is a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University.

MADRID – In der griechischen Mythologie gab es die Prophezeiung, dass Zeus‘ erste Frau Metis, die Göttin der Weisheit, einen Sohn gebären würde, der, ausgestattet mit der listigen Klugheit seiner Mutter und der Macht seines Vaters, den Göttervater letztlich stürzen würde. Um seine Position zu schützen, verschlang Zeus die schwangere Metis. Der vorausgesagte Usurpator in Person seines Sohnes wurde nie geboren, allerdings entsprang eine Tochter, Athene, der Stirn des Zeus.

Die alten Griechen waren fasziniert von den Eigenschaften Metis (listige Klugheit) und Bia (rohe Gewalt). In manchen Fällen huldigten sie Ersterer, verkörpert durch Odysseus, dem sagenhaften Helden in Homers epischem Gedicht Odyssee. In anderen Fällen feierten sie Letztere, wie etwa in Person großer Krieger wie Achilles. Das Ideal allerdings bestand in einer Kombination beider Qualitäten. Das gilt bis heute.In den letzten sieben Jahrzehnten haben die Vereinigten Staaten offenbar erkannt, wie sie das lange Zeit schwer fassbare Gleichgewicht zwischen Metis und Bia herstellen können. Ausgestattet mit reichlich vorhandenen natürlichen Ressourcen, ohne regionale Konkurrenten und größtenteils von Ozeanen umgeben, waren die USA prädestiniert für die Rolle als Weltmacht. Die Behauptung der Position als vorherrschende globale Supermacht wurde jedoch erst durch die facettenreiche, flexible Art des amerikanischen Führungsstils ermöglicht, der militärische, demografische und wirtschaftliche Vorteile mit einer überzeugenden kulturellen Botschaft und kluger Diplomatie verband. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The EU’s Four Challenges

Posted by hkarner - 23. Mai 2019

Ana Palacio is former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain and former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the World Bank Group. She is a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University.

Whatever the next European Parliament’s composition, the imperative will be the same: EU institutions must trade ambition for humility, focusing their attention not on their own power or status, but rather on upgrading and fortifying the project for which they claim to stand. If they fail, the road ahead will only become more perilous.

MADRID – This year’s European Parliament election has spurred months of nail biting. Will the pro-European center hold? Will the body be too fractured to function? Will a vocal contingent of nationalist-populists disrupt every sitting?

While important, discussion of these questions has missed the forest for the trees. Now that the election is finally here, Europe can stop obsessing about its possible outcome and focus on the real challenges ahead.The first challenge is the coming economic downturn. A decade after the financial crisis upended Europe’s economy, throwing its politics and social model into disarray, average annual growth remains a sluggish 1.5%. And there are strong signals that worse is to come: debt levels are rising fast and the European Central Bank has re-launched stimulus measures to stave off recession.Unlike the crisis of ten years ago, the damage caused by the coming slowdown will not be concentrated in southern Europe; it will hurt the eurozone as a whole, including almighty Germany. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , | Leave a Comment »

Europe’s Critical Election

Posted by hkarner - 26. September 2018

Ana Palacio, a former Spanish foreign minister and former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, is a member of the Spanish Council of State, a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the United States.

Ahead of the European Parliament election in May 2019, nationalist parties across Europe are unifying behind a message that is clear, forceful, and, for many, compelling. If Europe’s defenders are to win, they will need to offer a vision that is similarly powerful – and not hide behind French President Emmanuel Macron.

MADRID – Discussions about Europe-wide elections are invariably infused with expectations of dramatic change that rarely, if ever, are met. But the upcoming European Parliament election in May 2019 may break the mold, as it could determine the outcome of an ongoing struggle between two visions for Europe’s future: progress toward greater openness and interconnectedness or a reversion to divisive and blinkered nationalism.

Previous European Parliament elections have been preceded by promises that the vote would mean something to the electorate. But, whatever structural and institutional changes have occurred, from increasing the body’s powers to introducing new campaigning procedures, the results have remained lackluster. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sommerliche Hundstage in Europa

Posted by hkarner - 29. August 2018

Ana Palacio, a former Spanish foreign minister and former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, is a member of the Spanish Council of State, a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the United States.

MADRID – Der August ist immer eine gute Zeit für eine Bestandsaufnahme. Zwischen der Hektik sommerlicher Aktivitäten und dem Beginn des neuen „Schuljahrs“ bietet die Ruhepause dieses Monats Gelegenheit zur Reflektion darüber, wie es um die Dinge in Europa steht und wohin die Reise geht. Die Europäische Union und ihr Brüsseler Hauptquartier machen dabei keine Ausnahme, insbesondere vor einem Jahr der Umstellungen. Doch inmitten der Spekulation über die kommenden Herausforderungen und Veränderungen wurde die eine neue Postenbesetzung, die die im Verlauf der nächsten fünf Jahre über Gelingen oder Misslingen der EU entscheiden könnte, bisher völlig übersehen: die des EU-Ratspräsidenten.

In jedem Fall wird die Bewältigung dieser und anderer Herausforderungen die nachhaltige Umsetzung intelligenter, zukunftsgerichteter politischer Maßnahmen erfordern, die von den zentralen Institutionen der EU ausgeführt werden: dem Europäischen Parlament, der EU-Kommission und dem Europäischen Rat. Doch erscheinen nach einem Fünfjahreszeitraum beispielloser politischer Zersplitterung in der EU die Aussichten für die Funktionsfähigkeit dieser Institutionen düster.

Beginnen wir mit dem Europäischen Parlament, das in der Frühzeit der europäischen Integration marginalisiert, machtlos und unbeachtet war – ein Ort für Ausgemusterte und Erfolglose. Doch während der vergangenen anderthalb Jahrzehnte hat das Parlament hart daran gearbeitet, sich mehr Macht zu sichern. Es hat sich seinen Weg in den formalen Gesetzgebungsprozess erkämpft, Aufsichtsbefugnisse gesichert und sogar in das Verfahren für die Auswahl des EU-Kommissionspräsidenten eingeschaltet.

Doch könnte sich die Art und Weise, auf die das Europaparlament seine neu gefundene Macht einsetzt, nach den nächsten Europawahlen im Juni 2019 ändern. Bisher wurde es von traditionellen gemäßigt rechten und gemäßigt linken proeuropäischen Parteien dominiert, und die extremeren Parteien zogen die Institution nie allzu weit von ihrem Gravitationszentrum fort.

Seit den letzten Europawahlen jedoch hat die politische Landschaft des Kontinents einen profunden Wandel durchgemacht: Seit 2014 haben 41 neue Parteien Sitze in den nationalen Parlamenten errungen. Das Europaparlament wird fast mit Sicherheit eine zunehmende Zersplitterung erfahren – eine folgenschwere Entwicklung angesichts der Macht, die es in letzter Zeit hinzugewonnen hat.

Dieselbe Fragmentierung dürfte auch die Europäische Kommission schwächen, wo innerhalb eines Jahres EU-Kommissare aus mindestens vier Ländern – Griechenland, Italien, Polen und der Tschechischen Republik – durch regierende euroskeptische Parteien ernannt werden werden. Die Spekulationen darüber, wer Kommissionspräsident Jean-Claude Juncker nachfolgen wird, haben bereits begonnen; letztlich jedoch wird die Antwort vermutlich keine große Rolle spielen.

Junckers fahrlässiger „Kommission der letzten Chance“ wird eine „Kommission der nächsten Chance“ nachfolgen, die den Erwartungen möglicherweise noch weniger gerecht wird. Schließlich ist seit dem Ausbruch der globalen Finanzkrise 2008 schonungslos deutlich geworden, dass die wahre Macht in der EU nicht in den transnationalen Revieren der Kommission liegt, sondern in den zwischenstaatlichen Korridoren des Europäischen Rats. Dieser Trend wird unterstrichen durch den angeblichen Wunsch der deutschen Bundesregierung, einen Deutschen – womöglich Wirtschaftsminister Peter Altmaier oder Verteidigungsministerin Ursula von der Leyen – zum Chef der EU-Kommission zu machen, um diese Institution enger an Berlin heranzuziehen.

Was den Rat angeht, so sind die Aussichten ebenfalls düster. Den sie beaufsichtigenden nationalen Führungen fehlt es an Vision, Engagement oder der Stärke, die Richtung für das europäische Projekt vorzugeben. Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel, Europas führende Kraft während der letzten zehn Jahre, ist geschwächt. Der französische Präsident Emmanuel Macron hat an Schwung verloren. Das Vereinigte Königreich ist auf dem Weg nach draußen. Italien, Polen und Ungarn sind offen europaskeptisch eingestellt. Spanien hat eine ungewählte Minderheitsregierung, und die Niederlande sind durch eine rechtsgerichtete Opposition gelähmt.

Kurz gesagt: Keine der EU-Institutionen scheint in der Lage zu sein, auf die anstehenden schwierigen Herausforderungen zu antworten. Dies bringt uns zu einer der jüngsten Ergänzungen der EU-Struktur, geschaffen durch den Vertrag von Lissabon: den EU-Ratspräsidenten.

Die Bedeutung des EU-Ratspräsidenten wird häufig übersehen. Doch wie der erste Amtsinhaber, Herman Van Rompuy, während seiner Zeit auf diesem Posten gezeigt hat, kann der Ratspräsident bei dem Bemühen um Fortschritte eine integrale Rolle spielen. Während der Eurokrise gewann Van Rompuy, der überwiegend hinter den Kulissen agierte, die Unterstützung der Mitgliedstaaten und der drei zentralen EU-Institutionen für dringend erforderliche Maßnahmen.

Nicht jeder kann das Gewicht des Amtes tragen. Ein effektiver EU-Ratspräsident muss eine Disposition haben, die ihn (oder sie) in die Lage versetzt, eine heterogene Gruppe mächtiger Menschen in Richtung von Ergebnissen zu lenken, von denen alle profitieren, ohne dabei ins Rampenlicht zu drängen. Van Rompuys stärker im Blickpunkt stehender Nachfolger, Donald Tusk, ist ein gutes Gegenbeispiel dafür.

Der richtige EU-Ratspräsident kann als Steuerruder für das gesamte europäische Projekt fungieren. Der falsche jedoch wird die EU in einem Moment, wenn geeintes Handeln dringend erforderlich ist, richtungslos lassen. Ein derartiges Ergebnis zu verhindern, sollte für Europas Regierungen eine Spitzenpriorität sein.

 

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , | Leave a Comment »

Europe’s Dog Days of Summer

Posted by hkarner - 28. August 2018

Ana Palacio, a former Spanish foreign minister and former Senior Vice President of the World Bank, is a member of the Spanish Council of State, a visiting lecturer at Georgetown University, and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the United States.

Addressing the challenges Europe faces will demand the sustained implementation of smart, forward-looking policies, carried out by the EU’s core institutions. Yet, following a five-year period of unprecedented political fragmentation in the EU, the outlook for the functionality of these institutions appears grim.

MADRID – August is always a good time for taking stock. Between the rush of summer activity and the beginning of the new “school year,” this month’s lull offers a moment for reflection on where matters in Europe stand – and where they are headed. The European Union, and its headquarters in Brussels, is no exception, particularly ahead of a year of transitions. But amid speculation over the coming challenges and changes, the one new appointment that could make or break the EU over the next five years, that of the European Council president, has been completely overlooked.

Europe’s attention has been trained on three issues that pose a clear and imminent threat: Brexit, migration, and rising nationalism, which in countries like Poland is fueling growing resistance to the EU and the rule of law. How these issues are handled will affect the future and functionality of the EU. This is particularly true for Brexit, which – despite the gloom and doom hovering over the negotiations – seems likely to result in the two sides buying time with a transitional agreement that will create space for a permanent arrangement. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

Posted in Artikel | Verschlagwortet mit: , , , | Leave a Comment »