[Analysis] How to Counter China’s Vaccine Diplomacy in the Balkans

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, China has developed a ‘mask diplomacy’ aimed at the Western Balkans; later evolved into the so-called vaccine diplomacy.

Can the European Union counter China’s ambitions in its eastern neighbourhood?

Reddit vs. Wall Street: Regulating is the Best Way Forward

In January 2021, failing company GameStop saw the value of its shares soar by 1.700%. It was the beginning of the Reddit vs Wall Street confrontation. Behind the unexpected rise were Reddit users. Their purpose was to show discontent with the unfair dynamics of the financial market. Despite the popular support for the initiative, small investors encountered heavy financial constraints. All in all, the impression was that “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”.

The financial market, though, is a human creation. As such, none of its features are either “natural”, nor necessary. This means that the system can be corrected and improved. And this “David vs Goliath”-like clash helped pointing out some elements that need to be reformed or regulated. Therefore, the first part of this article will sum up the events. The second part will point out the most problematic issues arisen. Finally, the third part will suggest some corrections that could improve the health of the financial market.

Navalny: Harbinger of Democracy or Flash in the Pan?

The arrest of Alexey Navalny upon his return to Russia has triggered widespread protests. For many, they represent the first step towards democratization. This article, though, argues that things are more complicated. The first problem is that Navalny is a much more controversial figure than he seems. In fact, his idea of democracy might be very different from the Western concept of democracy. The second problem is less idiosyncratic and more strategic. Namely, the Russia regime seems willing to lock up Navalny for quite some time. And this alone, could leave protestors without a leader and without purpose.

[Analysis] EU-China Agreement on Investment: Impact on the Western Balkans

The European Union and the Western Balkans share the same history and future. Therefore, the Chinese interest in the Balkans has long been perceived as an intrusion. Yet, on December 30, 2020, the European Union and China reached an historic Agreement on investment and trade. What does this rapprochement between the two rival suitors mean for the Western Balkans? For sure, the EU-China Agreement is controversial. But it may show a promising opening, by China, to a rules-based economic system. In Eastern Europe, this means that China could be brought to respect the EU 2030 agenda, especially for what concerns the green transition and digitalization.