• Research Briefing

    Electoral performance of the British National Party in the UK

    This note provides data on the electoral performance of the UK's British National Party (BNP) in local and parliamentary elections. This note has been updated to include results from the local elections held in England on 1 May 2008. It also comments upon results from various elections up to 2006, as well as overall results from the 2007 and 2008 local elections.

  • Research Briefing

    Russia’s Military Posture

    This paper examines Russia’s current military posture. It does not attempt to be a comprehensive examination of every aspect of Russian military policy but is intended as an introduction to some of the more pertinent aspects, including Russia’s military capabilities, its ability to defend its increasingly diverse strategic interests and the credibility of Russia’s modernisation and rearmament programme which was announced toward the end of 2008.

  • Research Briefing

    Russia and the West

    A year on from Dmitry Medvedev’s succession to the Kremlin, this paper analyses the evolution of Russian foreign policy under both Putin and Medvedev. It seeks to identify the main themes, interests, and objectives of Russian foreign policy, and to appraise the role of President Medvedev in the direction of Russian diplomacy and his relationship with Prime Minister Putin. In so doing, it examines, in detail, Russia’s relationship with the United States, NATO, the EU, and the UK and analyses the role of energy in relations between Russia and the West. Finally, it looks ahead at the prospects for the relationship in light of President Obama’s declared intention to press the “reset” button in US-Russian relations.

  • Research Briefing

    Iceland’s financial crisis

    The global financial crisis has been tumultuous for Iceland. Until recently considered a rich, successful and competitive nation, Iceland suffered a dramatic collapse of its economy and currency following the collapse of its banking sector in October 2008. It was forced to negotiate a loan from the IMF and further financial support from a number of countries, and saw the fall of its government. The crisis has led to renewed suggestions that Iceland may apply to join the EU and adopt the euro. Following the Government's fall in January 2009, a caretaker Government took over in February and elections are expected on 25 April 2009. The major partner in the caretaker left-wing coalition, the Social Democratic Alliance, was a member of the previous administration and is strongly pro-EU, but its new partner, the Left Green Movement, has said it will continue to oppose EU membership.

  • Research Briefing

    Serbia: political and economic profile

    This note provides a political and economic overview of the current situation in Serbia. It looks at the halting progress which Serbia is making toward integration into the EU, held up to a large extent by Serbia's failure to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and at the dynamic political landscape of 2008 with both presidential and parliamentary elections. Serbia continues to have difficult relationships with some of its neighbours, particularly Kosovo, and is awaiting the outcome of the International Court of Justice ruling on the legality of Kosovo's February 2007 declaration of independence. The note also looks at the current economic situation in Serbia. While Serbia had seen strong growth since 2000, accompanied by the implementation of reforms, following the conflicts and crises of the 1990s, Serbia has suffered under the global financial crisis, primarily because of its large current account deficit. Serbia also suffers from high levels of unemployment and poverty.

  • Research Briefing

    EU bibliographies: posting of workers

    This Note brings together documents relevant to the so-called 'Posted workers Directive', Council Directive 96/71/EC. It is not an attempt to define policy in this area. For information on policy developments contact Jacqueline Parker on extn 4317. See also SN/BT/301 Posted Workers and SN/BT/4501 Government policy on "British jobs for British workers".

  • Research Briefing

    The Lisbon Treaty: the European Council and prospects for Irish ratification

    This Note looks at the discussions in Ireland, the European Union Institutions and other Member States about the prospects for Irish ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon. It considers the declarations on concessions agreed by the European Council on 11-12 December 2008 which are intended to facilitate Irish ratification in 2009.