The New Hanseatic League, or the Hansa, was established in February 2018 by European Union finance ministers from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Sweden through the signing of a two-page foundational document which set out the countries' "shared views and values in the discussion on the architecture of the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union (EMU)." The name is derived from the Hanseatic League, a Northern European commercial and defensive league which lasted until the 16th century.
The New Hanseatic League developed from an informal cooperation among like-minded fiscally conservative northern European states that has also been referred to at various points as 'The Vikings', and the 'Bad Weather coalition'. The grouping sees clubbing together as a way to make up for the loss of the like-minded Britain in the European political arena after Brexit. The countries involved want a more developed European single market, particularly in the services sector (i.e. a so-called 'Capital Markets Union'). They also want to develop the European Stability Mechanism into a full European Monetary Fund that would redistribute wealth from trade surplus to trade deficit EU member states.
In a speech delivered in the Netherlands, Ireland's Tánaiste (deputy head of government) Simon Coveney suggested cooperation among the countries in the alliance could extend to foreign policy as well, such as the Middle East peace process and the EU's relations with Africa. Some have expressed fears the New Hanseatic League could exacerbate existing north-south political divides in Europe by grouping northern European countries too closely.
In November 2018, the group called for the European Stability Mechanism to be given a greater role in scrutinising national budgets. Under the plan, formal tests of a government’s debt sustainability and ability to repay would be carried out before aid could be provided. The call came after the European Commission's rejection of Italy's 2019 budget, and was signed by ten countries, including the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
New Hanseatic League
Map of Europe with the members of the New Hanseatic League in blue
|1,075,220 km2 (415,140 sq mi)|
• 2017 estimate
The Baltic states, also known as the Baltic countries, Baltic republics, Baltic nations or simply the Baltics (Estonian: Balti riigid, Baltimaad, Latvian: Baltijas valstis, Lithuanian: Baltijos valstybės), is a geopolitical term used for grouping the three sovereign states in Northern Europe on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The term is not used in the context of cultural areas, national identity, or language. The three countries do not form an official union, but engage in intergovernmental and parliamentary cooperation.All three countries are members of the European Union, NATO and the eurozone. They are classified as high-income economies by the World Bank and maintain high Human Development Index. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are also members of the OECD.Boston, Lincolnshire
Boston is a town and small port in Lincolnshire, on the east coast of England, approximately 100 miles (160 km) north of London. It is the largest town of the wider Borough of Boston local government district. The town itself had a population of 35,124 at the 2001 census, while the borough had a total population of 66,900, at the ONS mid-2015 estimates. It is due north of Greenwich on the Prime Meridian.
Boston's most notable landmark is St Botolph's Church ("The Stump"), said to be the largest parish church in England, visible for miles around from the flat lands of Lincolnshire. Residents of Boston are known as Bostonians. Emigrants from Boston named several other settlements around the world after the town, most notably Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States.Craiova Group
The Craiova Group is a cooperation project of four European states – Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia – for the purposes of furthering their European integration as well as economic, transport and energy cooperation with one another. The Group originated in a summit meeting of the heads of governments of Bulgaria, Romania and Serbia, held on 24 April 2015 in the Romanian city of Craiova. At the group's inaugural meeting, Romania's then-Prime Minister Victor Ponta indicated that he was inspired by the Visegrád Group. Romania and Bulgaria both joined the European Union on 1 January 2007, while Serbia has been in accession negotiations since January 2014. Since October 2017 at the meeting in Varna, Bulgaria, with the inclusion of Greece, meetings have been quadrilateral.One of the first initiatives, after a meeting in Vidin, Bulgaria, was to strengthen the telecommunication networks in the border areas of the countries. Other goals include helping Serbia join the European Union and the construction of a motorway linking Bucharest, Sofia and Belgrade.On 2 November 2018, Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov stated that Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras proposed joint bid for the 2030 FIFA World Cup by Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Greece during the meeting in Thessaloniki. Later, this was expanded with proposed bids for UEFA Euro 2028 and UEFA Euro 2032.Eastern Europe
Eastern Europe is the eastern part of the European continent. There is no consensus on the precise area it covers, partly because the term has a wide range of geopolitical, geographical, cultural, and socioeconomic connotations. There are "almost as many definitions of Eastern Europe as there are scholars of the region". A related United Nations paper adds that "every assessment of spatial identities is essentially a social and cultural construct".One definition describes Eastern Europe as a cultural entity: the region lying in Europe with the main characteristics consisting of Greek, Byzantine, Eastern Orthodox, Russian, and some Ottoman culture influences. Another definition was created during the Cold War and used more or less synonymously with the term Eastern Bloc. A similar definition names the formerly communist European states outside the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe. Some historians and social scientists view such definitions as outdated or relegated, but they are still sometimes used for statistical purposes.Estonia
Estonia (Estonian: Eesti [ˈeːsʲti] (listen)), officially the Republic of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti Vabariik), is a country in Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland with Finland on the other side, to the west by the Baltic Sea with Sweden on the other side, to the south by Latvia (343 km), and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia (338.6 km). The territory of Estonia consists of a mainland and 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea, covering a total area of 45,227 km2 (17,462 sq mi), water 2,839 km2 (1,096 sq mi), land area 42,388 km2 (16,366 sq mi), and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The official language of the country, Estonian, is the second most spoken Finnic language.
The territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 9,000 B.C. Ancient Estonians were some of the last European pagans to be Christianized, following the Livonian Crusade in the 13th century. After centuries of successive rule by Germans, Danes, Swedes, Poles and Russians, a distinct Estonian national identity began to emerge in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This culminated in independence from Russia in 1920 after a brief War of Independence at the end of World War I. Initially democratic, after the Great Depression Estonia was governed by authoritarian rule since 1934 during the Era of Silence. During World War II (1939–1945), Estonia was repeatedly contested and occupied by the Soviet Union and Germany, ultimately being incorporated into the former as the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. After the loss of its de facto independence, Estonia's de jure state continuity was preserved by diplomatic representatives and the government-in-exile. In 1987 the peaceful Singing Revolution began against Soviet rule, resulting in the restoration of de facto independence on 20 August 1991.
The sovereign state of Estonia is a democratic unitary parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties. Its capital and largest city is Tallinn. With a population of 1.3 million, it is one of the least-populous member states of the European Union since joining in 2004, the economic monetary Eurozone, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Schengen Area, and of the Western military alliance of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is a developed country with an advanced, high-income economy that has been among the fastest-growing in the EU. Estonia ranks very high in the Human Development Index, and performs favourably in measurements of economic freedom, civil liberties, education, and press freedom (third in the world in 2012 and 2007). Estonian citizens are provided with universal health care, free education, and the longest-paid maternity leave in the OECD. One of the world's most digitally advanced societies, in 2005 Estonia became the first state to hold elections over the Internet, and in 2014 the first state to provide e-residency.European Single Market
The European Single Market, Internal Market or Common Market is a single market which seeks to guarantee the free movement of goods, capital, services, and labour – the "four freedoms" – within the European Union (EU). The market encompasses the EU's 28 member states, and has been extended, with exceptions, to Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the Agreement on the European Economic Area and to Switzerland through bilateral treaties.
A number of potential EU accession candidates have Stabilisation and Association Agreements with the EU, which allow for limited participation in selected sectors of the Single Market, including Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. In addition, through three individual agreements on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the EU, the post-Soviet countries of Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have also been granted limited access to the Single Market in selected sectors. Turkey has access to the free movement of some goods via its membership in the European Union–Turkey Customs Union.The market is intended to be conducive to increased competition, increased specialisation, larger economies of scale, allowing goods and factors of production to move to the area where they are most valued, thus improving the efficiency of the allocation of resources. It is also intended to drive economic integration whereby the once separate economies of the member states become integrated within a single EU-wide economy. Half the trade in goods within the EU is covered by legislation harmonised by the EU. The creation of the internal market as a seamless, single market is an ongoing process, with the integration of the service industry still containing gaps. It also has an increasing international element, with the market represented as one in international trade negotiations.European Stability Mechanism
The European Stability Mechanism (ESM) is an intergovernmental organization located in Luxembourg City, which operates under public international law for all eurozone Member States having ratified a special ESM intergovernmental treaty. It was established on 27 September 2012 as a permanent firewall for the eurozone, to safeguard and provide instant access to financial assistance programmes for member states of the eurozone in financial difficulty, with a maximum lending capacity of €500 billion.
It replaces two earlier temporary EU funding programmes: the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM). All new bailouts for any eurozone member state will now be covered by ESM, while the EFSF and EFSM will continue to handle money transfers and programme monitoring for the previously approved bailout loans to Ireland, Portugal and Greece.
The Treaty Establishing the European Stability Mechanism stipulated that the organization would be established if member states representing 90% of its capital requirements ratified the founding treaty. This threshold was surpassed with Germany's completion of the ratification process on 27 September 2012, which brought the treaty into force on that date for sixteen of the seventeen members of the eurozone. The remaining state, Estonia, which had only committed 0.19% of the capital, completed its ratification on 4 October 2012. A separate treaty, amending Article 136 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) to authorize the establishment of the ESM under EU law, was planned to enter into force on 1 January 2013. However, the last of the then-27 European Union member states to complete their ratification of this amendment, the Czech Republic, did not do so until 23 April 2013, postponing its entry into force until 1 May 2013.The ESM commenced its operations after an inaugural meeting on 8 October 2012. The first 40% of the paid-in capital was transferred by all ESM member states ahead of a treaty regulated deadline of 12 October 2012. ESM member states can apply for a bailout if they are in financial difficulty or their financial sector is a stability threat in need of recapitalization. ESM bailouts are conditional on member states first signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), outlining a programme for the needed reforms or fiscal consolidation to be implemented in order to restore the financial stability. Another precondition for receiving an ESM bailout is that the member state must have ratified the European Fiscal Compact. When applying for ESM support, the country in concern is analyzed and evaluated on all relevant financial stability matters by the so-called Troika (European Commission, ECB and IMF) in order to decide which of its five different kinds of support programmes should be offered.As of April 2013, the ESM has approved two Financial Assistance Facility Agreement (FAFA) programmes, with up till €100bn earmarked for recapitalization of Spanish Banks, and €9bn in disbursements for Cyprus for a sovereign state bailout programme. The Cyprus bank recapitalization was funded by converting bank deposits into equity.European Union
The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.
The EU and European citizenship were established when the Maastricht Treaty came into force in 1993. The EU traces its origins to the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and the European Economic Community (EEC), established, respectively, by the 1951 Treaty of Paris and 1957 Treaty of Rome. The original members of what came to be known as the European Communities were the Inner Six: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and West Germany. The Communities and its successors have grown in size by the accession of new member states and in power by the addition of policy areas to its remit. The latest major amendment to the constitutional basis of the EU, the Treaty of Lisbon, came into force in 2009. While no member state has left the EU or its antecedent organisations, the United Kingdom signified the intention to leave after a membership referendum in June 2016 and is negotiating its withdrawal on 29 March 2019.
Covering 7.3% of the world population, the EU in 2017 generated a nominal gross domestic product (GDP) of 19.670 trillion US dollars, constituting approximately 24.6% of global nominal GDP. Additionally, all 28 EU countries have a very high Human Development Index, according to the United Nations Development Programme. In 2012, the EU was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Through the Common Foreign and Security Policy, the EU has developed a role in external relations and defence. The union maintains permanent diplomatic missions throughout the world and represents itself at the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G7 and the G20. Because of its global influence, the European Union has been described as an emerging superpower.Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League (; Middle Low German: Hanse, Düdesche Hanse, Hansa; Standard German: Deutsche Hanse; Latin: Hansa Teutonica) was a commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Northwestern and Central Europe. Growing from a few North German towns in the late 1100s, the league came to dominate Baltic maritime trade for three centuries along the coasts of Northern Europe. Hansa territories stretched from the Baltic to the North Sea and inland during the Late Middle Ages, and diminished slowly after 1450.
Hanse, later spelled as Hansa, was the Old High German word for a convoy, and this word was applied to bands of merchants traveling between the Hanseatic cities - whether by land or by sea.Merchant circles established the league to protect the guilds' economic interests and diplomatic privileges in their affiliated cities and countries, as well as along the trade routes which the merchants used. The Hanseatic cities had their own legal system and operated their own armies for mutual protection and aid. Despite this, the organization was not a state, nor could it be called a confederation of city-states; only a very small number of the cities within the league enjoyed autonomy and liberties comparable to those of a free imperial city.Koknese
Koknese (pronunciation ) is a historic town in Latvia, the administrative centre of Koknese municipality on the right bank of the Daugava River. It has a population of nearly 3,000.Wopke Hoekstra
Wopke Bastiaan Hoekstra (born 30 September 1975) is a Dutch politician of the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA). He is the Minister of Finance in the Cabinet Rutte III since 26 October 2017.