Russia withdraws from Open Government Partnership. Too much transparency?

Open Government blog, 20.5.2013.

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“Inevitably, there will be questions about what we are each prepared to sign up to,” said British Prime Minister David Cameron in January, in his letter to his fellow G8 leaders. For months later, Russia has made clear it clear what it wasn’t willing to sign onto: the Open Government Partnership (OGP). The most recent update on Russia is that the Kremlin will be pursuing “open government” on its own terms. Russia has withdrawn the letter of intent that it submitted on April 2012 in Brazil, at the first annual meeting of the Open Government Partnership.

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Turkey's anti-Americanism in a state of flux

Joost Lagendijk, Today's Zaman, 14.5.2013.

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This week, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and other Turkish ministers will visit the US. It is obvious that the situation in Syria will be the main talking point. The Turkish government will, again, try to convince their American counterparts that the US should step in more forcefully by supplying the moderate wing of the Syrian armed resistance with weapons and by guaranteeing the establishment of safe corridors or a no-fly zone along the Turkish-Syrian border.

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Europe: Soft Power Is No Power

Joost Lagendijk, Huffington Post, 13.5.2013.

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It would be an understatement to say the European Union is going through difficult times. Most of its member states are stuck in an economic crisis that many Europeans blame on austerity measures enforced by the EU, perceived as a faraway, bureaucratic entity that has spun out of control and is out of touch with the concerns and hardships of ordinary Europeans. In many countries, Eurosceptic parties are booming in the opinion polls, calling for either a full withdrawal from the EU or at least a stop to giving the EU more powers. Pro-Europeans have a hard time defending their vision of a more integrated EU -- according to them, the only way for Europe to get out of the current crisis and be prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.

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