Hannes Hofbauer

Hannes Hofbauer is an Austrian historian, journalist and publisher. Since 1988 he researches the social and economic situation in Eastern Europe. Lives in Vienna.

all articles

October 31, 2015
Germany Under Migration: Victims of Wars and Free Trade Challenge the Continent (II)

The starting shot was given by the German chancellor Angela Merkel. When she expressed her solidarity with asylum seeking people at a press conference in late August 2015, her statement could not be interpreted differently than an invitation to Germany. And even more so, when she spoke about «German flexibility» at the same press conference meaning an overthrow of Dublin agreements, which oblige each EU-member state to register asylum seekers wherever they touch EU-soil for the first time and to take them back in case they ask for asylum in another state…

October 30, 2015
Germany Under Migration: Victims of Wars and Free Trade Challenge the Continent (I)

Coming from Vienna on our way to the Frankfurt book-fair, we had to cross the Austrian-German border. Border control was abolished since the treaty of Schengen (implemented in 1995) guarantees free movement within the territories of its member states. Only this time the highway was totally blocked. Cars and lorries queued up for 20 kilometres and more, nothing moved. Drivers came out of their cars, families started to use the highway as a playground. More than an hour passed before the queue started to move again slowly…

March 7, 2014
Ukrainian Scenario: The Hypocrisy of Western Outrage on Russian Military Action

In addition to military intervention, Western allies since two decades operate by means of soft power. So-called «coloured revolutions» are playing the «civil card» for Western interests… For Ukraine the period of «soft power»-intervention ended with the appeal of right-wing nationalists to arm activists on the 19th of February 2014… Brussels and Washington accelerated the pressure on the Ukraine government and the president. Their motto was: regime change by all means… The Russian reaction was foreseeable. One could see that Putin not only had learned his lesson in the field of using soft power, but also on the military front. Russian arguments for military action in Crimea equal Western ones. Putin’s press-officers and his whole government speak of «protecting human rights and national self-determination» like their Western opponents did and do…

February 18, 2014
Brussels’ Eastern Frontier: Pruth, Dnjepr, or Don?

…History does not repeat itself. What nevertheless seems to be a repetition is the functionalization of radical anti-Russian, right-wing movements for Western geopolitical and economic interests. Since the Ukrainian President Yanukovych refused to sign the so-called Association Agreement with the European Union on the Vilnius summit in November 2013, Brussels puts new pressure on Kyiv; and therefore uses old alliances. The exploitation of radical right-wing local elements for Western interests can also be seen in other cases in contemporary history. Just remember the breaking apart of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, when Berlin and Brussels – later with the help of Washington – dynamized inner conflicts to civil war and foreign intervention… The current Ukrainian scenario looks spooky similar. The West is well aware of using fascists, who would not be tolerated in his own sphere, to manage a regime-change in Kyiv…

November 8, 2013
EU Goes East: Political Offer for Economic Colonisation

…In the case of six Eastern member states of the EaP the integration idea gives priority to the strong Western Global players over relatively week Eastern competitors… What can Kyiv expect from signing the Association Agreement with Brussels? 27 pages of the written agenda of the EU-Ukraine Cooperation Council in June 2013 make it evident: the preparations for the Association Agreement do not function at eye level, the text shows a clear submission of Ukraine’s whole legislation and a political, social and military adaption to EU’s guidelines… The chapter «Economic cooperation» shows that Brussels also wants to interfere in inner politics from financial to social affairs… In ordinary language: monetary policy is going to be controlled by the ECB, and social policy is submitted to the restrictive regime of austerity packages… Energy co-operation in Brussels’ words consists of two main points: abolishment of state subsidies for electricity and gas «to ensure full payments» and «integration of the united power system of the Ukraine into the Union of Central European electricity networks»… These are the corner pillars of the EU enlargement project, interfering in all possible spheres of national and local politics and economics…

September 19, 2013
US Plan for Syria: Islamist Government without Chemical Weapons

There is no evidence so far for an American master plan. But a possible logic behind Washington’s drawback on bombing Syria need not be good news…Washington seems to be condemned to live with Islamist allies…Radical Islamic, jihadist groups in government may not be the best choice for Obama, but when America disposes them from chemical military capacities, their future reign in Syria will no more represent a danger for the USA – and for Israel. Seen under this aspect, US stepping back from a military strike for the moment does not aim at a peaceful solution, at good relations to Russia, or at giving up the plan for a regime change. On the contrary: Regime change could become less risky for Washington…

July 17, 2013
Snowden and the world’s no-fly zones

It took three weeks, till a high-ranked official of the United Nations, the commissary of human rights, Navi Pillay, made a commentary on the flight of Edward Snowden and his long-term seeking for asylum. She noticed publically that systematic violation of international law and human rights, how it was and persistently still is done by the USA in surveying and controlling most of the world’s communication, could not be accepted as a pretext to persecute the messenger of these crimes. The whistleblower Snowden should be protected, not prosecuted, she said…

January 24, 2013
The Arab winter and the revolutionary illusionists

…The actual geopolitical role of the Muslim Brotherhood seems comparable to those of reserve players on the bench, which are used because the autocrat was injured, let’s say by social discredits. They are supported by international financial institutions and global capital groups because they are willing to subordinate themselves to Western plans of transformation… In this regard, the rebellions from Tunis to Cairo worked: nowhere new economic regulation are carried out, on the contrary: each country which in recent decades operated with state-properties and measures to protect local producers from international competition – they may have sailed under socialist or nationalist flags, however perverted and full of elements of corruption – after the so-called Arab spring has to open their markets radically and runs through a tough transition period in terms of new owners…

October 1, 2012
Civil Society Intervention as a Geopolitical Instrument

In July 2012 the Russian Duma passed a law which obliges civil society organisations to financing transparency. This includes the declaration and control of foreign money… Russia is not the first country to hinder civil society interventions from outside. So Venezuela closed down the NED-bureau in Caracas in December 2010. And Egypt checked the bureaus of five foreign foundations and brought more than 40 responsible employees (Americans, Germans, Serbians and Egyptians) to the court. They are accused of «illegal activities with illegal money transfers»… With the new Russian law controlling foreign money flow into civil society organisations, the Western «N»GOs are forced to react. USAID is the first to close down its office end of September 2012…

December 17, 2011
European Union: From economic crisis to constitutional disaster

The Brussels summit of December 2011 intended to solve a huge fiscal and budget (and in reality an economic) problem in the Euro-zone. It let to a political split within the EU-27 and risks to unleash a constitutional disaster… The summit of Brussels also showed a deep split in form of different approaches towards the capital market. It points at a geopolitical dividing line within the European Union. There seems to be a conflict between banks based on credit business and hedge funds… David Cameron… stands firm beside his Atlantic ally and behaves like an American Trojan horse in a European surrounding…