EU unity has been challenged by almost a decade of low growth and high unemployment. This has led to populism and nationalism challenging mainstream political parties. The refugee crisis, Russia's aggression in Ukraine and Syria, and Brexit exacerbate the EU's fundamental governance challenges. The Cipher Brief's March interview with Sir ...

Editor’s Note: Over the coming days, The Cipher Brief presents some of our most incisive coverage on key issues of 2016 and a look ahead at what is yet to come in 2017. The tumultuous nature of 2016 hit Europe especially hard. Wars in the Middle East became a refugee ...

A comparison with the 1848 domino-like revolutions that spread across Europe is a bit of a stretch, but far-right populism is definitely on a roll, throwing the whole European project in doubt. Will it continue is the big question in 2017.  A victory by French far-right leader Marine Le Pen ...

Editor’s Note: Over the coming days, The Cipher Brief presents some of our most incisive coverage on key issues of 2016 and a look ahead at what is yet to come in 2017. 2016 has been a year of fundamental change for Turkey. In Syria, the threat of ISIS and ...

The European Union remains strong, despite the British vote to leave the organization and Sunday’s Italian vote to reject constitutional changes backed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, the EU envoy to the United States told the Cipher Brief on Wednesday. In addition, EU Ambassador David O’Sullivan expressed optimism about the ...

Italians called to confirm or reject Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s constitutional reform on December 4 may be under the impression that they are participating in a plebiscite on the popularity of their young, bold, over-confident leader. To be sure, an unnecessarily heated, confused and ultimately misleading electoral campaign has spread ...

Italians head to the polls on Sunday, December 4, to approve or reject a series of constitutional reforms, which will redirect policy competence from the regions to the state, transform the Senate into a council of regions, and concentrate power in the Chamber of Deputies and the national government. Italian ...

On December 4, Italians will vote on a far-ranging constitutional referendum, which promises to completely change the way that Italy's political institutions operate. Proponents of the referendum, led by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, claim that a “Yes” vote is necessary to streamline Italy’s creaking parliamentary system and allow vital reforms ...

On Sunday, Italians definitively voted “No” to a constitutional referendum supported by the country’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi. After the vote, in which nearly 60 percent of 33 million voters rejected the bill, Prime Minister Renzi said that he would fulfill the promise he made earlier this year to resign ...

More than 160,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Italy this year, compared to just over 142,000 during the same time last year. Of those taking the Central Mediterranean route from northern Africa to Italy, 3,755 have died at sea, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). That’s more deaths ...

The European Union (EU) is entering into partnership deals, or “compacts,” with at least five African countries to try to stem the flow of migrants from Africa to Europe. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder asked Kate Hooper, an associate policy analyst with the Migration Policy Institute’s International Program, what these ...

Irregular migration from Africa to Europe is increasing. As Africa’s population continues to grow, the European Union (EU) will need to figure out how to deal with what is expected to be even more African migrants in the coming years. The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder spoke with Philippe Fargues, founding ...

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was recently reinstated to form a minority government, following a ten-month period of political deadlock in which no party could form a majority in parliament. However, Rajoy, who has taken a positive outlook on the U.S. presidential election and congratulated President-elect Donald Trump on Twitter, ...

The election of Donald Trump as the next U.S. President has created uncertainty among European leaders as they consider the future of defense and security cooperation with the United States. Trump’s campaign rhetoric calling NATO – the transatlantic defense alliance – “obsolete” and demanding member nations contribute more to their ...

9 November is a historic day for Germans. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came crashing down on that day, and in 1938, pogroms across the Deutsches Reich became the starting point of the systematic persecution of European Jews. Both 1989 and 1938 are also strongly linked to German-U.S. history, and the formative role that the U.S. has played in shaping post-war Europe. ...

The Fund for Peace’s (FFP) 2016 Fragile States Index ranks Hungary, under Prime Minister Viktor Orban, as the “most-worsened” country this year, due in part to its recent track record on refugees, human rights, and rule of law. FFP Executive Director J. J. Messner, who is also the editor of ...

Hungary has decidedly taken a turn toward “illiberal” democracy, which is hurting its relationship with the United States. The Cipher Brief spoke with Ambassador András Simonyi, who served as Hungarian Ambassador to the U.S. from 2002-2007 and Hungarian Ambassador to NATO before that, about Hungary’s path to illiberalism. The Cipher ...

Hungary’s Viktor Orban is creating an illiberal democracy in central Europe. This is souring relations with the European Union (EU) and the current U.S. administration, while pulling Hungary back into the orbit of its eastern neighbor – 60 years after a massive uprising against Soviet influence. Europe’s migration crisis has ...

Today marks the 70th anniversary of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill calling for a United States of Europe. But since the United Kingdom made the shock decision to leave the European Union (EU) in June, leaders of the 27 other European Union (EU) countries are debating the pros, the cons, ...

Since its birth, modern Turkey has occupied a delicate position in the world. Straddling both Asia and Europe, the ancient Ottoman capital of Istanbul captures the blessing and the curse of Turkish geography. On the one hand, it sits at the center of the old world, bordered by western Europe, ...

In March of this year, Turkey came to an agreement with the European Union (EU) on Syrian migration. In return for $6 billion in aid assistance, visa-free travel for Turks within the EU, and a promise to restart Turkey’s E.U. accession talks, Turkey agreed to restrict the number of Syrian ...

The meaning of security in Europe is changing. The continent faces a revanchist neighbor to the east, a cauldron of instability to the south (with repercussions spilling across the border), and homegrown terrorists inspired by the likes of the Islamic State (ISIS). Countries are responding by tightening the lid on ...

The British people shocked the international community when they voted to quit the European Union (EU) this summer. Markets tumbled and fears mounted that the United Kingdom (UK) or the EU might fall into political or economic crisis, or begin to unravel completely. Shortly afterwards, Prime Minister Theresa May attempted ...

Fear and uncertainty gripped global markets on Friday following the UK referendum vote to leave the European Union. The political turmoil in the UK and the initial uncertain response by EU leaders over the weekend were felt on Monday as sterling plummeted and international markets took a hit. But on ...

The Brexit referendum threatens European cohesion and, thus, could have serious consequences for defense of the European continent. The Cipher Brief spoke with Rachel Rizzo at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) about the future of European security. The Cipher Brief: What is going to happen to European ...

Markets around the world continue to feel the pain of last Thursday’s Brexit referendum. The FTSE 100 (London’s Stock Exchange with the highest market capitalization) fell another 2.55 percent yesterday. The pound hit a 31-year low against the dollar, although it edged a bit higher this morning. Two credit agencies, ...

There are two elements to the "what now?" question in the UK. The first element I expected to be addressing after Thursday’s vote was: how will the security dynamic change now that the U.K is leaving the EU?  But it is not quite so simple. My argument remains that the ...

The result of last week’s UK referendum on whether to remain in the European Union (EU) has produced shock-waves around the world and has raised all kinds of questions about the country the UK will now become. The narrative promoted by those politicians in favour of a “leave” vote – ...

The global system seems poised for major change. Last Thursday, the so-called Brexit referendum demonstrated this when a majority of 51.9 percent of British voters chose to leave the European Union. “For the first time, we are trying to figure out how to disintegrate rather than how to integrate,” Erik ...

Britain voted last week by a slim margin to leave the European Union. The economic implications were immediate, with stocks around the world plunging and the pound hitting its lowest level since 1985. A longer term effect will be on European defense. The Cipher Brief spoke with Almut Möller, head ...

Last Thursday, in voting in favor of Brexit, the United Kingdom electorate voted with its heart rather than its head. Instead of heeding the consensus of economists and policymakers about the likely dire economic consequences from a decision to leave Europe, it chose to be swayed by concerns over continued ...

The Ambassador of the European Union to the United States has told The Cipher Brief that “no-one is in a hurry for the UK to leave” the EU. Ambassador David O’Sullivan said Tuesday’s meeting of national leaders in Brussels would be looking to British Prime Minister David Cameron for an ...

The United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union, sending shockwaves through the markets and setting the stage for political turmoil. The “Leave” camp emerged victorious in the historic referendum with 51.9 percent of the votes, while “Remain” received 48.1 percent. But what could Brexit mean for security and ...

President Barack Obama attracted much attention, positive and negative, for his comments during his April trip to the UK, advocating for Britain to remain in the EU.  The invitation to come to London was almost certainly a consequence of an urgent request from Prime Minister David Cameron, who was sensing ...

Both the Brexit Remain and Leave campaigns are suspended today due to the murder of British Member of Parliament Jo Cox on Thursday. Cox belonged to the opposition Labour Party and was a vocal advocate for Britain remaining in the EU. In six days, Britons head to the polls to ...

Brits are expected to come out en masse on June 23 to vote on whether they want their country to stay in the European Union. The Cipher Brief spoke with Heather Conley, Senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia, and the Arctic and Director of the Europe Program at the Center ...

On June 23, Brits head to the voting booths to decide whether they want Britain to remain a part of the European Union. The Cipher Brief spoke with Jacob Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics who formerly worked with the Danish Ministry of Defense, about ...

Around 750,000 mail-in votes decided the fate of Austria’s presidential election this week, tipping the election in favor of a more centrist candidate. Yet the result does not change the course of a rising populist and nationalist movement within Austria and throughout the European continent. The election was a near ...

Independent Green Party candidate Alexander Van der Bellen has won Austria's presidential election by the slimmest of margins, preventing Freedom Party (FPÖ) candidate Norbert Hofer from becoming the European Union's first far-right head of state. Despite Van der Bellen’s victory, Austrian voters have now normalized the FPÖ, whose previous fringe ...

A sigh of relief could be heard amongst Europeanists, when independent Green Party candidate Alexander Van der Bellen was declared the winner of the Austrian Presidential election this week. Yet grunts of discontentment could also be heard amongst the growing populist and nationalist voters across the continent, with far-right candidate ...

President Barack Obama on Friday intervened in the debate over whether the United Kingdom should leave the European Union, as he strongly advocated for the country to remain since the UK “is at its best when it’s leading a strong Europe.” Obama, who came out forcefully for the UK to ...

The UK will vote on 23 June to determine whether it remains in or leaves the European Union. Political discourse in Britain is dominated by the subject. What would a vote to leave mean for British national security? Let’s put the issue in perspective. The key pillar of UK national ...

Europe is used to dealing with crises. In fact, what we now call the European Union is a result of one of the biggest crises in modern history. But there is something different about the crises that Europe faces today: they are all happening at a time when solidarity within ...

The United States needs strong allies in Europe. The United States also needs European unity. This has been a recurrent theme in Barack Obama’s foreign policy since the start of his campaign for the presidency in 2007. It is a theme he borrowed from the second administration of George W. ...