In a genuinely open, merit-based contest, the 25-member executive board’s deliberations should have been preceded by debates between the candidates. I suspect that Okonjo-Iweala, with her enormous competence and renowned wit, would have got the better of Kim. The world would also have seen why so many of us were rooting for her.
It is beginning to look like Bahrain’s ruling family has calculated correctly that its close allies in Washington, London, and Brussels do not care enough about al-Khawaja to risk challenging al-Khalifa hard-liners and their Saudi allies by publicly pushing for his release or by making clear that Bahrain’s continued stonewalling will have a price.
It may seem strange, but the EU sees itself as a soldier of the common good. Why is a group of countries whose share in worldwide CO2 emissions is only 12% – and set to decline fast – aspiring to global leadership on the issue, despite US inaction and emerging-market countries’ reluctance to commit to binding emission-reduction targets?
In part, the EU’s stance reflects the preferences of European public opinion. In part, it arises from internal politics: to press ahead with its agenda enables the EU to strengthen its hand vis-à-vis the member states. In part, there is the hope that by moving fast, Europe will acquire a comparative advantage in low-carbon technologies.
Using its super-majority in the parliament, the Fidesz party has spent its two years in office ramming through a new constitution that includes discriminatory provisions and other new laws that undermine media freedom, judicial independence, and the rights of religious minorities.
The Kremlin likes to portray Russia as a besieged fortress. And it likes an economy with a few hugely lucrative industries under its own tight control. Encouraging Russian businesses outside the world of bureaucratic rents and extractive industries undermines the power monopoly of the ruling criminal syndicate.
France is approaching a breaking point. For three decades, the country has pursued the same incompatible, if not contradictory, goals. With the sovereign-debt crisis pushing French banks to the wall, something will have to give, and soon.
Freedom means that we decide about the laws governing our own life. We do not need writing lines, nor do we require the unsolicited assistance of foreigners wanting to guide our hands.
Our research indicates that the increase in the share of women on boards has coincided with an increase in transparency and a professionalisation of decision-making. In parallel with the development of less homogenus boards, a new culture of decision-making has emerged in which there is less acceptance of alliances and decisions being made behind the scenes. This fracturing of old networks has also opened the way for men who were previously excluded from boards.
Perhaps most disturbing is Cameron’s suggestion that the court should not hear cases where domestic courts have “applied the convention”. It is unclear how this would work: would the ECHR have to accept national courts’ assertions that they had done so? Or would it have to determine whether the convention had been appropriately applied? This last is exactly what we have now, so it is presumably not what is proposed. But the first approach would mean no review at all.
Even the most cynical calculation suggests that it is a bad idea to sneer at people from the countries of the European Union that were once under communist rule. Dutch exports to Poland alone have rocketed from €1.2 billion a year in 1996 to nearly €7.4bn in 2010 (and they will be larger now, given Poland’s booming economy). The Netherlands exports more than €13bn to the other nine ‘new’ member states, far more than to Brazil, China and India combined.