SAIS Next Europe


February 26, 2009 4:24 PM

Europe's Lame Duck Leadership Problem

In 2008, the United States suffered from lame duck leadership. Throughout 2009, the European Union will have the same problem.

As the financial and economic crisis gained steam in the fall of last year, government and business leaders bemoaned the lack of decisive leadership from an American Presidency crippled by fading popularity and the anticipated end of its term. The EU seemed to fill the global leadership vacuum left by President Bush, especially under the leadership of the French Presidency of the Council. The French Prime Minister was influential in resolving the Georgian-Russian conflict, brokering European agreement on bank bailouts and climate change, and even scheduling and promoting summits to develop a global response to the financial crisis.

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July 10, 2009 4:52 PM

Bulgaria's 'Batman' Prime Minister

In 2003 California got its Governator. Last weekend, Bulgaria got a hero of its own: Batman was elected the new Prime Minister.

The 'Batman' in question is the former bodyguard Boyko Borisov, who for the past few years served as mayor of Bulgaria's capital and who received the nickname for his love of drama and action. He is known to appear promptly at the scene of any significant event, especially if it might be broadcast by any major media outlet.

It is not yet clear whether the results of the parliamentary elections, announced late on July 5th, are a cause for celebration or mourning. On the one hand, the Socialist government ruling the country for the past four years was finally sidetracked from the parliamentary landscape. On the other hand, Borisov, who emerged as the new Prime Minister with an uncontested majority, has great public appeal and popularity, but has done little to demonstrate his credentials for political leadership.

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