Russia’s President Vladimir Putin  and China’s President Xi Jinping attended a signing ceremony last month. Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom  earlier signed a long-awaited gas supply agreement with China. Photograph: Reuters/Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Pivots and poles are images widely used to describe changes in international politics. A pivot is a pin on which anything turns while a pole is the en(...)

‘Spain, Portugal or Ireland don’t have parties like our neighbouring Ukip. It will have difficulty forging alliances with the National Front in France,  or with the Dutch Vlaams Bloc.’ Above,  National Front party leader Marine Le Pen at a campaign rally prior to the  European Parliament elections. Photograph: Jean-Paul Pelissier Reuters

Beware conflation, misleading extrapolation and false generalisation about triumphant populist Euroscepticism this weekend as results from the Europea(...)

 ‘Thomas Piketty and a group of French academics propose that a common tax base must be agreed in the euro zone along with a fiscal capacity, debt mutualisation and much deeper political integration to provide democratic accountability.’ Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

At national level we have politics without policy and at European level policy without politics. This diagnosis of the European condition was made sev(...)

‘Ottmar Edenhofer said tackling climate change requires an urgent move away from “business as usual”.’ Photograph: Steffi Loos/Reuters

Defining climate change as a “global commons problem” Ottmar Edenhofer said tackling it requires an urgent move away from “business as usual”, (...)

‘Thomas Piketty   believes  equality must be promoted politically if democracies are to protect themselves from oligarchical rule.’ Photograph: Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images

‘The risk of a drift towards oligarchy is real and gives little reason for optimism”. So says Thomas Piketty, the French economic historian. Hi(...)

Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond holds a public discussion on Scottish independence at the Volunteer Rooms in Irvine, Scotland.

Ireland has a close constitutional and political relationship with Britain that profoundly affects our interests and welfare. Northern I(...)

‘Observers noted a sharper edge to US diplomacy over Ukraine. It reflects an impatience with European caution about sanctions on Russia and a realisation that the US has less to lose.’ Photograph: Zurab Kurtsikidze/EPA

Ukraine is a geopolitical shock to Europeans still absorbed in escaping from the euro crisis and recessionary politics. It reminds their leader(...)

‘If one side can arbitrarily change the terms of agreed co-operation on energy, is it worth the effort involved?’. Above, British Prime Minister David Cameron and  Taoiseach Enda Kenny  outside No  10 Downing Street, London, this week.  Photograph: Andrew Cowie/AFP/Getty Images

“I think we meet at a time when Anglo-Irish relations are at an all-time high”. So said David Cameron this week when he welcomed Enda Kenny to (...)

Demonstrators ride atop an armored vehicle through a street near Independence Square in Kiev earlier this week. Photograph: Uriel Sinai/The New York Times

The events in Ukraine this week are changing Europe, potentially in ways that will last for a generation. The emerging European structure can b(...)

The debate on Scottish independence is intensifying and alongside it there is a growing awareness in Ireland North and South that how the vote (...)