This has led to the overt politicization of the judiciary, which has deeply alarmed European observers. There’s increasing pushback against these seemingly politically-motivated prosecutions. As political interference in judiciaries has spread across Europe’s eastern half, staunch opposition to the practice has also grown, raising hopes that politicians tempted to settle their political feuds in the courtroom may soon deem the costs too high. Like in Poland, this pressure takes various forms—for example, OLaNO party leader Igor Matovic recently proposed setting up quotas for how much speaking time politicians would be allocated on TV in order to limit the coverage given to popular opposition figures, a suggestion which one of his own coalition partners likened to Cuban or Venezuelan censorship. Zurek was removed as the spokesperson for Poland’s National Council of the Judiciary, the body in charge of appointing judges in Poland, after criticizing PiS’s controversial judicial reforms. Georgia: Judicial failings remain roadblock toward a European path
If political interference in the judiciary may spell the end for OLaNO’s tenure in government and has sparked lingering strain between Poland and European institutions, the phenomenon may prove particularly damaging for EU-hopeful Georgia. Most recently, this has included ambiguous statements from Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili that all but declared Georgia’s neutrality over Russia’s ruthless invasion and its ongoing war against Ukraine, which has been a historical ally of Tbilisi’s in their mutual struggle against Russia’s imperial ambitions. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Europe’s patience running thin for politicized judiciaries

By Nicholas Waller
Managing Editor

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After years of criticism over its rule of law violations, Poland has enjoyed a recent reprieve as the war in Ukraine caused the EU to cut Warsaw some slack, unlocking Poland’s COVID-19 recovery funds despite enduring concerns over the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s interference with the judiciary. In late May, prominent pro-opposition journalist Nika Gvaramia was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison, a conviction that international rights groups and MEPs have dubbed politically motivated. Under the guidance of its founder, the country’s lone billionaire – Bidzina Ivanishvili, the increasingly reactionary Georgian Dream, or GD, has pivoted Georgia’s foreign and domestic policies towards a decidedly more pro-Russian tilt since it came to power in 2012. The respite, however, may be over—Warsaw’s erosion of judicial independence is back in the spotlight following a June 17 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. The failed attempt to arrest Fico has plunged the coalition into even-deeper turmoil, and with polls showing that Slovaks are increasingly placing their trust in opposition figures like Fico while rejecting OLaNO politicians, the politicization of the judiciary may be the final nail in the coffin of Slovakia’s current coalition. Chief among these concerns is the across-the-board political polarization of nearly every legislative initiative and social issue in the South Caucasus nation of 3 million. Disastrous management of the pandemic, a plagiarism scandal, a lack of clear policy priorities, and bitter infighting have left the coalition struggling to pass vital measures, such as a package to alleviate the rising cost of living crisis. Slovak prosecutors recently dropped corruption charges against former Finance Minister Peter Kazimir after one of the key witnesses who had testified against him was charged themselves, while MPs— including from coalition parties— recently refused to lift the parliamentary immunity of opposition leader Robert Fico. The GD leadership alleges that Zurabishvili’s recent diplomatic trips to Brussels and Paris, which she hoped would help open the door to EU membership and allow her to publicly condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, exceeded her remit. Leaning on dubious evidence apparently obtained through psychological pressure, Slovak prosecutors have brought corruption charges against ever-more important opposition figures, while OLaNO policymakers’ open glee at the indictments has raised fears that the coalition is using Slovakia’s judiciary as a political weapon. The aggressive courtroom maneuvring has likely cost Tbilisi its chance at fast-tracked EU negotiations alongside Ukraine and Moldova. Pro-Western Moldova may ride the coattails of sympathy for Ukraine, earning itself a green light to begin negotiations alongside its war-torn neighbor. The Georgian Dream also blocked a charter plane of Georgian volunteers from flying to Ukraine and prevented several Russian dissidents who oppose the war and Vladimir Putin from entering the country. The party has gone so far as to even sue Salome Zurabishvili, the French-born former diplomat who once worked at France’s embassy in Washington and who was handpicked by the Georgian Dream in 2018 to serve as Georgia’s current president. However, much of the apparent campaign against the opposition is playing out in courtrooms. The ECHR found that the dismissal, along with other steps taken against Zurek including an audit of his financial declarations and an inspection of his work, were part of a concerted campaign to intimidate Zurek and prevent him from speaking out against the government. The ruling Georgian Dream party and leaders of the opposition United National Movement have proven unable to abide by a political agreement brokered last year by European Council president Charles Michel, with the Georgian Dream doubling down on the attacks in recent weeks. The Zurek ruling is particularly notable, however, both due to Zurek’s high-profile figure and the fact that it was the first case in which the ECHR addressed the issue of the penalisation of judges who have critiqued Law and Justice reforms. Waldemar Zurek
The court held that this premature removal without judicial review violated Zurek’s right to a fair trial under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The case has brought renewed focus on the worrying trend of politicized judiciaries which has spread across Eastern Europe in recent years—a pattern which decision-makers and voters alike are increasingly losing patience with. Since coming to power in February 2020, the OLaNO government has taken ding after ding to its credibility. After years of reluctance to seriously consider further enlargement of the European bloc, the conflict in Ukraine has awakened new enthusiasm in Brussels for eastward expansion. Garibashvili announced in early March that Georgia would not join the international sanctions imposed against Russia, which prompted Kyiv to recall its ambassador to Tbilisi. Asked about the likely international blowback against this curtailing of media freedom, Matovic declared “I could not care less”.  
The decision is only the latest ruling by a European court against PiS’s attempts to weaponize the judiciary against political opponents. A courtroom in Georgia’s capital Tbilisi. It’s a group that Tbilisi hoped to join—but European decision-makers are already proving more reticent on the Georgian front, with senior officials acknowledging that Georgia will be left behind until critical issues are addressed. This is a particular problem in Slovakia, where the coalition government led by the Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OLaNO) party is on the verge of collapse. Stuck in the polling doldrums and desperate to stave off snap elections, Slovakia’s coalition government appears to have taken a leaf from Warsaw’s book, putting pressure on its major political opponents. The Strasbourg court, or ECHR, awarded Polish Judge Waldemar Zurek, dubbed “one of the most important figures of the judicial community in Poland”, damages to the tune of €25,000. Slovakia: Corruption crackdown hijacked by coalition running out of road
Though Poland’s rule of law travails have been a perpetual thorn in Brussels’ side since Law and Justice came to power, it’s far from the only European country where legal cases are taking on a political tinge. In a favorable response to the Georgian Dream’s positions, Moscow did not include Georgia in a list of countries that the Kremlin considers ‘unfriendly’.

Security Council Resolution 2231 expires in 2025. Already struggling to pull together and muster the political energy necessary to deter Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, thanks in no small part to the nefarious ideological sympathies of rogue member states such as Viktor Orban’s Hungary, the EU would do well to follow suit. Such a clear and uncompromising position is the best hope we have of making Iran yield to serious concessions that can stand the test of time. unilaterally, but requires the commitment and solidarity of the entire international community, Europe included. Indeed things appear only to be getting worse with regards to Iran’s human rights abuses. A year of soft diplomacy has done nothing to ameliorate their situation. There should be no sanctions relief merely to reward negotiating; the West must see results first. The revived deal is set to retain this dangerous timeline, giving Iran a short, clear, and legal pathway to a nuclear bomb. The idea that the West should roll the de-listing of the IRGC into an already flawed deal, that has such glaring blindspots, is repugnant. The JCPOA, as currently constituted, does nothing to restrain Tehran’s inhuman policy of hostage diplomacy. Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the United States seem to have recognised the hopelessness of the current situation after co-authoring a draft censure resolution to formally rebuke Iran for failing to answer long-standing questions by the International Atomic Energy Agency on uranium traces at undeclared nuclear sites. These individuals have suffered unspeakably at the hands of the regime, often being subjected to humiliating show trials, before being isolated, tortured, and starved for long periods of time. This is not a sanctions regime that can be implemented by the U.S. In other words,  the victims will have rocks hurled at their heads while trapped in sand. As the Islamic Republic’s premier military institution, answerable only to the Supreme Leader and possessing enormous influence over Iranian political and economic life, de-listing the IRGC is a top priority for Tehran. Meanwhile, Iran is exploiting this stolen time to creep ever closer to developing a nuclear weapons capability, which would make any future deal toothless. The case for re-entering the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), aka the 2015 nuclear agreement, is even weaker now than when it was first entered into. Since then, the regime has announced plans to execute the Swedish-Iranian doctor Ahmadreza Djalali. It should by now be clear that no amount of soft diplomacy will convince the Iranian regime to abandon its nuclear programme wholesale. But world powers are all too aware of the nefarious influence that the IRGC wields, both in terms of domestic oppression and foreign meddling. The best we can hope to do is work deliberately and diligently to deprive them of the resources they require to advance that programme and their other non-nuclear malign activities in an imminent timeframe. presidential election. Facebook

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Negotiations to restore the Iran nuclear deal have reached a complete standstill. After fifteen months of diplomatic back and forth, Iran is refusing to sign on to any agreement that does not also include the delisting of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organisation. The Islamic Republic, which sees Putin’s regime as a partner of convenience, lies poised to trade with Russia if and when its own sanctions regime is dismantled. Rather than continue to push for a deal that would be unworkable in practice and which neither side can even agree to in principle, it is time that we reprioritise our geopolitical commitments and abandon negotiations until such a time as Tehran is ready to become a responsible member of the international community. The snapback sanctions mechanism under U.N. Washington, London, and Brussels are rightly wary of removing the IRGC’s terror-label. Last week a shocking trove of classified records revealed that Iran has sentenced 51 people to death by stoning for adultery. The truth is that only tough new multilateral measures of the type inflicted against Putin’s regime are likely to bring Iran to the point of making serious concessions. As many as two dozen dual-national citizens, including 15 Europeans, remain in captivity in Iranian prisons, in total violation of international law. The Iranian regime must be subjected, with immediate effect, to the most robust international sanctions possible. Nazanin Zaghgari Ratcliffe, detained for 6 years, was only released in May, following enormous concessions from the UK government and after the British-Iranian dual citizen was forced to sign a final humiliating and false confession. In the meantime, so long as we remain committed to these intractable negotiations, innocent people will continue to suffer. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Why the West must ditch the JCPOA and instead focus on its critical diplomatic objectives

By Giulio Terzi
Former Italian Foreign Minister, Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Ambassador to the United States. In the meantime, ditching the deal will provide a much-needed reset to transatlantic Iran policy, which has been paralyzed by a desperation to save a deal which will be at grave risk of collapsing again after the next U.S. Importantly, the sunset clauses embedded in the original agreement that time-limited restrictions to Iran’s nuclear programme are already elapsing and scheduled to lift gradually over the next few years. Lifting sanctions on Iran at this time would only play into Putin’s hand and alleviate pressure on the Russian economy, as the Kremlin will seek to use Iran as a sanctions evasion hub. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the sanctions regime that has been rapidly erected to punish Moscow means that Putin is desperately casting around for allies. The wider geopolitical context has also drastically changed since 2015. The JCPOA does nothing to address these appalling human rights abuses.

By December, the country was in possession of more than half the global grain supply, and according to data provided by the U.S. In 2000, the global population stood at around 6.1 billion, whereas today it is 7.9 billion. As the second-largest wheat producer in the world, India’s decision added another blow to the insecurity surrounding global food markets. Last year marked a record high of almost 193 million people facing acute food insecurity across 53 countries and territories, according to the Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC). Imports will therefore become steadily more vital for the growing number of countries unable to meet their food needs through domestic production. Ruehl
An Australian-American journalist living in Washington, D.C., Ruehl is a contributing editor to Strategic Policy and a contributor to several other foreign affairs publications. Introduced in 2019 to curb and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, the sidelining of the Green Deal has underscored the severity of the situation. With more mouths to feed, global food security has also been threatened by the loss of arable land due to erosion, pollution, climate change, and increasing water shortages over the last few decades. But though the war has certainly exacerbated the global food crisis, it was preceded by the food price hikes of 2007 and 2011, in addition to the hike witnessed due to COVID-19, after decades of falling costs in real prices of food items. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev stated on April 1 that food exports were a “quiet but ominous” weapon that Russia intended to use. In an effort to offset U.S. In 2021, data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) showed more massive increases in meat, dairy, cereals, vegetable oils, and sugar prices that exceeded the previous spike witnessed in 2007 and 2011. With the global food crisis approaching a new phase, increasing Ukrainian exports, encouraging international cooperation, and developing additional agricultural initiatives will be vital to overcoming it. Having endured an economic crisis in 2019, the pandemic, and rising food and energy costs as a result of the war in Ukraine, Sri Lanka defaulted on its debt for the first time in history in May. agriculture’s dependence on Russia, President Joe Biden committed $2.1 billion on June 1 to strengthen the nation’s food system. The situation has highlighted the decreasing levels of food self-sufficiency around the world, which the FAO defines as “the extent to which a country can satisfy its food needs from its own domestic production.” Food self-sufficiency has declined globally since the 1960s, particularly in Africa, but also in countries like Japan. High obesity rates, formerly limited to Europe and North America, are now prevalent around the world. But food insecurity is also rising and will likely get worse. But even net exporters like Russia are in trouble, with the Kremlin announcing in March that it would “suspend exports of wheat, meslin, rye, barley, and corn to the Eurasian Economic Union” (EAEU)—the economic bloc led by Russia—until August 31 in order to secure its own domestic food supply. In March, the European Union committed up to €1.5 billion to help support the bloc’s farming sectors, and also loosened regulations on the European Green Deal, including restrictions on the land available for farming. He is currently finishing a book on Russia to be published in 2022. Other economically unstable countries risk meeting a similar fate, with Sri Lanka also experiencing violent protests. In 2021, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa enacted a ban on synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and weedkillers to turn the country’s agricultural sector completely organic by 2030. India has provided Sri Lanka with billions of dollars in loans since its economic crisis began, as well as emergency food deliveries. imported more than $1 billion worth of fertilizer from Russia in 2021. Amid claims that the ban was merely an attempt to reduce imports and maintain Sri Lanka’s foreign currency reserves, this move eventually decimated domestic food production. The effects of the war in Ukraine have brought much of the world’s attention to energy prices. While richer countries that have grown less self-sufficient in food production have been able to shoulder the increasing costs of imports before, food shortages are now also affecting them as well. Since the beginning of the Ukrainian war, prices of food items have skyrocketed further. As food prices began to rise quickly in 2021, China was accused of hoarding grain supplies. Global food habits have also changed, with meat consumption per capita having increased substantially over the last 20 years. Russia is also the world’s top exporter of fertilizer, and so the global food system faces the simultaneous challenges of Western sanctions on Russia and steeper costs of both growing and importing food. Even before the invasion of Ukraine, a growing number of people around the world were undernourished. The Arab region typically receives between 40 percent and 50 percent of its food imports from Ukraine and Russia, indicating that the region is particularly vulnerable to food insecurity. Aside from the war in Ukraine and disruption to global supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic, other factors have also exacerbated these stresses. But the rising volatility in food prices since 2007 has tested the affordability and competency of this system. Food security, the ability to meet food demand through domestic production and imports, has also fallen around the world in recent years. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also warned against increasing cyberattacks and potential sabotage of agricultural and food plants in the United States. The Russian military has also prevented Ukraine from accessing its ports on the Black Sea recently, leaving Ukraine essentially landlocked, and unable to export its food products to the international markets. More than a dozen countries have banned certain or all food exports until the end of this year or into next year, and these measures are unlikely to be the last. The chaotic consequences of the rising cost of food were already visible more than a decade ago. Facebook

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With some of the world’s most fertile land, Ukraine’s nickname as the breadbasket of Europe is an understatement of its agricultural potential. The food crisis has instigated other countries to make greater efforts to shore up their positions to secure the food supply systems. The war in Ukraine, however, has sent these problems into overdrive. Together with Russia, the two countries account for roughly 14 percent of global corn exports, 22 percent of rapeseed/canola exports, 27 percent of wheat exports, and 30 percent of barley exports, as well as almost 70 percent of the world’s sunflower oil exports. In addition to stifling Ukraine’s ability to export, Russia has significantly reduced food and agricultural exports to “unfriendly countries” in the wake of sanctions, cutting off the supply of most of the food products it exported to the Western world, as well as to Japan and South Korea. Though the food crisis has instigated governments to adopt nationalist policies to protect themselves, there have been some examples of international cooperation. Since February, Russia has seized some of Ukraine’s most vital agricultural regions in the eastern and southeastern parts of the country. Faced with the fact that food insecurity is one of the major sources of leverage for Russian President Vladimir Putin against the West, he can be expected to double down on ensuring that the current food crisis continues. Alongside the millions of Ukrainians who will require food aid this year, underwhelming harvests and conflicts in other parts of the world have meant countries such as Yemen, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Nigeria, Niger, Somalia, and South Sudan are also high-risk countries, in addition to countries harder hit by increasing food costs. Based on current trends, only 14 percent of countries are projected to be food self-sufficient by the end of the century, according to an article in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Affordability of food was a major contributing factor to the outbreak of the Arab Spring in 2010, which saw protests, toppled governments, and led to civil wars. These issues were partially offset by increased efficiencies in food production and globalization, which allowed countries to sell excess food products in a competitive market. style=”font-size:40px; line-height: 1.3em; font-weight: 800; padding:7px;”>Global food Insecurity is being exacerbated by the war in Ukraine

By John P. More drastic effects are being felt in Sri Lanka. The most recent jump in wheat prices, which have gone up by more than 40 percent since January, followed India’s announcement that it would ban exports following a heat wave that destroyed crops in the country. Department of Agriculture, during the first half of 2022, China was predicted to have half of global wheat supplies, 60 percent of rice supplies, and roughly 70 percent of maize supplies. The U.S. European states are, meanwhile, attempting to develop alternative transit routes for Ukrainian food products away from Russia-controlled Black Sea ports, while Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Turkey on June 8 for discussions that included creating a Black Sea corridor to allow Ukrainian grain to reach the world markets. This article was produced by Globetrotter. But like energy, food has also served as a weapon of foreign policy.