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The talk of the continent


International day against corruption: Is public integrity losing its appeal?

Sat, 09 Dec 2017 07:00:02 +0100

, – According to the latest Index of public integrity, while key indicators tend to stagnate, freedom of the press and of trade is losing ground in most of EU countries. See more.

New Eurogroup president: Fresh air

Fri, 08 Dec 2017 17:24:06 +0100

i, Lisbon – Cartoon. See more.

Ratko Mladić trial in The Hague: Life sentence

Tue, 28 Nov 2017 22:49:51 +0100

International New York Times, Paris – Cartoon. See more.

Government formation in Germany: Bad design

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 12:28:13 +0100

De Groene Amsterdammer, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

Europe’s parliaments: A middle-aged man’s world

Sun, 05 Nov 2017 21:24:23 +0100

Der Spiegel, Hamburg – As the newly elected Bundestag enters into office, we had a look at the gender and age balance in Germany and other European countries. See more.

Catalonia comes to Brussels: Lessons in seceding

Thu, 02 Nov 2017 18:54:29 +0100

Cartoon movement, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

Catalonia vs. Madrid: No turning back

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 19:19:33 +0100

Le Temps, Geneva – Cartoon. See more.

Central Europe's drifting towards populism: Quo vadis Mitteleuropa?

Mon, 23 Oct 2017 09:40:57 +0100

, – Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Germany and Austria, previously very tolerant, are giving more and more of their votes to nationalist parties. What could explain this change? See more.

Austria: Barbed Wunderkind

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 12:57:00 +0100

De Groene Amsterdammer, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

Czech Elections: Another Central European experiment with democracy

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 08:55:06 +0100

Visegrad Insight, Warsaw – Popular billionaire and flamboyant populist candidate Andrej Babiš is leading the polls for 20 and 21 October general election. His opponents are so weak that his main challenger is a far-right nationalist party. Is Czech Republic on its way towards a Hungarian scenario? See more.

Journalist murdered in Malta: Something is rotten at the core of the State

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 14:26:56 +0100

The Times of Malta, Valetta – The murder of reporter Daphne Caruana Galizia in a mafia-style car bomb attack on 16 October shows the extent of the corruption and the impunity she revealed in her investigations. See more.

Netherlands: Rutte’s dam

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 15:44:39 +0100

De Volkskrant, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

Austria's election campaign: Out of the frying pan into the fire

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 10:16:31 +0100

, – Last December, many Europeans heaved a sigh of relief when what had seemed to become the first, decisive electoral success for a new wave of right-wing, nationalist populism turned into its exact opposite. See more.

The referendum in Catalonia: The Great Fraud

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 23:27:10 +0100

, – See more.

Europe and the Catalan referendum: Internal matter

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 12:20:03 +0100

De Groene Amsterdammer, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

After the Catalan referendum: Disaster in Catalonia

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 21:28:30 +0100

, – The antagonism between Madrid and the nationalist regional government of Catalonia, which gave way to violence during the October 1st independence referendum, has lead to a situation with no winners, and much less hope for a political solution to the Catalan question. See more.

The far-right and the German elections: Iceberg ahead!

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 09:34:43 +0100

Cartoon movement, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

Referendum in Catalonia: The Spanish Brexit

Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:38:31 +0100

El País, Madrid – On 1 October the government of the Generalitat of Catalonia hopes to hold a referendum on independence that has been declared illegal by the Spanish Constitutional Court. The case is more comparable to Brexit than to the last Scottish referendum, the opinions editor of the newspaper El País argues. See more.

The European press on German election: ‘A shock for Germany, but also for all of Europe’

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 17:51:13 +0100

The SPD has been punished, while the AfD have never been so strong. The only remedy against the rise of the far-right is to remain calm and objective, as Angela Merkel has always been, writes George Löwisch, editor-in-chief of the Tageszeitung:Angela Merkel was the queen of the polls, and it was with that certitude that she ran her campaign. But she emerges like a beggar, with a miserable result. With the presence of AfD deputies in the Bundestag, Merkel will be confronted with her own political failure. For one who has lead the country for so long can be sure to have contributed to the rise of these fearmongers.“Merkel wins again, but it’s a pale victory: the CDU-CSU have lost much of their support, and their former coalition partners, the SPD, have been similarly punished. Despite this, Merkel is the only leader of a large country to have survived the major crises of recent years”, notes Arnout Brouwers in De Volkskrant. Brouwers also notes that – The rise of the AfD and the rebirth of the FDP, being eurosceptic and liberal-conservative parties respectively, seem to be the response of numerous Germans to the problems that Merkel’s centre-left coalition ought to have confronted. According to recent polls, terrorism, immigration and extremism are, for the majority of Germans, the main problems that Europe currently faces. In his commentary for the Bild Zeitung, Richard Volkmann adopts an ironic tone for the election results:Let’s look at the bright side: Merkel is spared, and the country won’t have to suffer another Grand Coalition. But that’s about it. All that had seemed unthinkable until now has become possible: starting with a fresh election, which had been taboo in a system renowned for its stability, up to the formation of a majority government that will be lead by a chancellor who, well before 2021, already seems to rule with much less commitment than previously. And over all this lies the shadow of the AfD, whose leader shouts down his microphone, like a Hollywood bad guy, that he wants to “hunt” Merkel down and take back “our country and our people”.“The success of the AfD, and the far-right’s entry into the Bundestag for the first time since the second world war, marks the end of the German exception. A shock for Germany, but also for all of Europe”, writes Béatrice Delvaux in Le Soir. For Delvaux –after the results in the Netherlands and France, we believed - or wanted to believe - that the far right had been defeated on European soil, since they’d failed to achieve their expected results, and/or missed their chance at power. But in reality there was nothing to be happy about. Sunday’s election results remind us of the difficult truth: right-wing extremism is now firmly installed at the heart of our European democracies.Unexpected, yet subconsciously feared, the result in the German elections has dramatically changed the map of German politics and, indirectly, Europe as a whole, says Gian Rusconi in La Stampa. Rusconi adds that –Berlin has lost its political stability, despite Merkel’s win. The catastrophic defeat of the SPD is an alarm signal for every faction of the European left. Is this the end of classical social-democracy? The success of Alternative for Germany (AfD) urges us to take stock of the populists’ motivations, beyond their racist impulses. Angela Merkel is facing her most difficult challenge yet. Her government will have to deal with a double opposition, intent on having its voice heard.“The fourth mandate of Angela Merkel will no doubt be her last. Regardless of [...]

State of the EU speech: New wind

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:41:15 +0100

Cartoon movement, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

Federal election in Germany: The Merkelisation of Europe

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:38:01 +0100

Der Spiegel, Hamburg – Angela Merkel is the most powerful of the EU’s heads of state and government, and she is running for a fourth mandate in Sunday’s general election. A data-driven look at what has changed in Europe during the twelve years of her chancellorship. See more.

Brexit negotiations: Antiques

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 21:10:42 +0100

Jyllands-Posten, Aarhus – Cartoon. See more.

State of the European Union speech: Counting the words that count

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 14:33:47 +0100

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday morning (13 September) delivered the State of the European Union speech, also known as Soteu, at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. It was the third time the president of the commission has held his annual address to MEPs. In the Soteu, Juncker reviewed his institution's achievements over the past year, presented the priorities for the year ahead, set out how the commission will address the most pressing challenges the EU is facing, and sometimes shared his personal views on the future of Europe. width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> The speech was followed by a plenary debate with MEPs, kick starting the dialogue between the parliament and the Council of the EU for preparing the commission's work programme for the following year. Although they may seem dull, especially to people outside the EU bubble, Soteu speeches are one of the very few occasions in which the commission's president publicly speaks about what he and his fellow commissioners have done so far, and shares his vision for the coming months. It's the closest thing the EU has to a general policy speech by a national chief of government. Therefore, it is interesting to have a closer look at its language and the words that are used, as they speak for which concepts and issues have been marking a specific period, and what the EU is – and will be – focusing on. 1 – The twenty most frequently used words across all Soteu What are the 20 most used words across all of the seven Soteu speeches, along with their frequency. 2 – The ten most frequently used words in each Soteu The figure refers to the number of times the most frequent words in all Soteu speeches are pronounced during each of them. The colour of the circle reflects these data, with red reflecting more mentions. 3 – Comparing speeches by all words frequency The following wordcloud compares the frequency of words across speeches (recurring terms have been excluded), showing the words that are most frequent in each of the speech and are at the same time less frequently found in other speeches. 4 – Comparing speeches by specific words frequency This table shows the number of times a selected keyword is pronounced during each of the speeches. The colour of the circle reflects these data, with red reflecting more mentions. Here, we chose to monitor the most salient words, not the most used. 5 – Comparing speeches by sentiment These wordclouds show the balance between positively and negatively connoted words used in Soteu speeches. The cloud on the left refers to the 2017 Juncker Soteu speech, compared to all Soteu speeches (2017 included), on the right. These graphs and the code are distributed under a Creative Commons license (BY). In brief, you can use and adapt all of the above as long you acknowledge the source: Giorgio Comai/OBC Transeuropa/#edjnet.[...]

German election: Unequal fight

Fri, 08 Sep 2017 10:43:36 +0100

Cartoon movement, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

Brexit negotiations: EU & the UK differ on citizen’s rights

Thu, 31 Aug 2017 08:33:31 +0100, Brussels – The rights of EU citizens living in the UK and those of the UK nationals living in EU countries is a key issue of the third round of negotiation between the British government and the EU on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union that started earlier this week. See more.

Brexit seen from Europe: Eyes on the UK

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 14:37:18 +0100

Updated on 7 September 2017 ‘The British government is so desperate’ Die Welt, Berlin, 6 September “The jubilation of the pro-Brexit side reveals the short-term goal of Prime minister Theresa May”, writes the daily’s London correspondent Stefanie Bolzen, after the Guardian was leaked an 82-pages draft document containing the Home Office immigration plan focused on “prioritising British workers” over “EU migrants”. Bolzen adds that the hardline stance signalled by the plan “will only intensify the Brexit dilemma: One one hand, it would inevitably “complicate the already harsh negotiations with Brussels, for whom the rights of EU citizens are the highest priority. Also, the plan is a shot in the knee”, as “the British won’t get a transitional phase if they want to drastically curtail the freedom of movement within the EU.” Bolzen adds that – What is even more worrisome is the unemployment rate in Great Britain, which currently stands at 4.4 percent. The NHS is already on alert, because of the lack of immigrant nurses. Sector which are dependent on seasonal workers are also worried about staffing. The UK employers' association almost daily replied that its members are concerned because they do not find any British workers. The prospect of such drastic measures will further reduce the already slumping influx of EU foreigners. Eventually, the climate of insecurity could only damage the UK economy further and hit hardest those Theresa May claimed her politics were meant to favour. ––––– ‘In Japan as in Brussels, the UK is bogging itself down in Brexit’ Le Monde, Paris, 1st September “The United Kingdom is experiencing a hard return to Brexit’s reality on this end of summer. Almost simultaneously, on 31 August, Brexit secretary David Davis and Prime minister Theresa May came empty-handed from their trip abroad, respectively in Brussels and Tokyo”, writes Brussels’ correspondent Cécile Ducourtieux: “Although none of them has completely failed, and an agreement is still possible at some point, the process will be long and tortuous.” Regarding Japan’s position on Ms May’s trade partnership agreement proposal, Ducourtieux notes that “for the Japanese, the European market, which is far larger than the British one, is priority. No parallel talks with London will be held before every detail is settled with Brussels.” Eventually, “the British might realistically get at best the same conditions for their exports than the ones EU members already have.” ——— ‘There is still too much love around to finally set Brexit on track’ De Morgen, Brussels, 31 August The EU and the UK are still too entangled to actually move on with their divorce, believes columnist Koen Vidal, although “it is not thinkable that negotiations could break off; that would mean a huge disregard for the referendum result.” But what if “the March 2019 deadline is exceeded? It looks like if the British are not considering it as a bad thing after all. On the contrary, a growing number of them are supporting slow and light reforms that could last for years and will not eventually lead to a separation, but to a new partnership agreement.” Meanwhile, EU leaders should not “waste time telling the Brits how silly they are and how they are clever themselves.” ——— ‘Built on lies’ Süddeutsch[...]

European defence: It’s time for a common EU army

Tue, 08 Aug 2017 12:12:58 +0100

Strade, Rome – As the discussion on a European defence is back on tracks, especially under the impulse of France and Germany, the time has come for creating a common army under the authority of a High Security Council, says journalist and former MEP Olivier Dupuis. See more.

Rule of law in Poland: Manneken PiS

Sun, 30 Jul 2017 14:50:49 +0100

De Volkskrant, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

LGBTI rights in the Western Balkans: Much progress to be made

Wed, 26 Jul 2017 12:24:35 +0100

Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa, Trento – The prospect of entering the EU has pushed Balkan countries to adopt laws against discrimination based on sex and gender. However, more efforts are needed in order to achieve structural change. See more.

Turkey: Capital self-punishment

Thu, 20 Jul 2017 08:41:39 +0100

Cartoon movement, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

Reforms in Poland: Undermining the European order

Mon, 17 Jul 2017 10:12:02 +0100

Visegrad Insight, Warsaw – A week after the US president Donald Trump’s visit to Warsaw, the ruling conservative PiS party is poised to radically reform Poland’s Supreme Court in a way that would undermine even more its control over the government. See more.

Turkey and the EU: European funds, authoritarianism, and civil society

Thu, 13 Jul 2017 10:45:11 +0100

Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa, Trento – For over a decade, Turkey has received EU funds supporting reforms and democratisation. In light of the country's authoritarian drift, however, many wonder whether this strategy still makes sense. See more.

Democratising Europe according to Paul Magnette: ‘Putting back elected representatives at the heart of the government’

Mon, 03 Jul 2017 16:47:18 +0100

Alternatives économiques , Paris – After being on the front row in the debate over the free trade agreement with Canada (CETA), Wallonia's Prime minister responds to proposals made by Thomas Piketty and other academics to create a new European treaty to govern the Eurozone more democratically. See more.

Estonian presidency of the EU: A Model country takes the helm

Fri, 30 Jun 2017 08:53:51 +0100

SGI news, Gütersloh – The Baltic country took over the EU presidency for the second half of 2017 from the United Kingdom after Britain relinquished its scheduled six-month stint due to the Brexit vote. For the small country with an excellent track record this is a great challenge in ambiguous times. See more.

EU’s fine on Google: Eurocollar

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 20:27:05 +0100

De Groene Amsterdammer, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

The UK and Brexit: The laughing stock of Europe

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 11:29:40 +0100

It has become ever clearer that the hardline Brexiteers who have been driving the British government since David Cameron’s post-referendum resignation have no plan for managing the negotiations beyond their oft-repeated slogan of “taking back control”, and European attitudes to London are now poised somewhere between anxiety and despair over the impossible situation in which the British government has put itself – and Britain. Reflecting this change in mood on the continent, numerous articles have appeared over the last few days, highlighting the British government’s apparent amateurism: articles such as Libération's correspondent in Brussels Jean Quatremer's implacable op-ed in the Guardian or Spiegel International's merciless piece. The latest is the following article headlined The British have worked to put themselves into a political catastrophe, by the Süddeutsche Zeitung's London correspondent Christian Zaschke. It has been suggested and translated by Paula Kirby: If it weren't so serious, the situation in Great Britain would almost be comical. The country is being governed by a talking robot, nicknamed the Maybot, that somehow managed to visit the burned-out tower block in the west of London without speaking to a single survivor or voluntary helper. Negotiations for the country’s exit from the EU are due to begin on Monday, but no one has even a hint of a plan. The government is dependent on a tiny party that provides a cozy home for climate change deniers and creationists. Boris Johnson is Foreign Secretary. What in the world has happened to this country? Two years ago David Cameron emerged from the parliamentary election as the shining victor. He had secured an absolute majority, and as a result it looked as if the career of this cheerful lightweight was headed for surprisingly dizzy heights. The economy was growing faster than in any other industrialised country in the world. Scottish independence and, with it, the break-up of the United Kingdom had been averted. For the first time since 1992, there was a Conservative majority in the House of Commons. Great Britain saw itself as a universally respected actor on the international stage. This was the starting point. In order to get from this comfortable position to the chaos of the present in the shortest possible time, two things were necessary: first, the Conservative right wingers’ obsessive hatred of the EU, and second, Cameron’s irresponsibility in putting the whole future of the country on the line with his referendum, just to satisfy a few fanatics in his party. It is becoming ever clearer just how extraordinarily bad a decision that was. The fact that Great Britain has become the laughing stock of Europe is directly linked to its vote for Brexit. The ones who will suffer most will be the British people, who were lied to by the Leave campaign during the referendum and betrayed and treated like idiots by elements of their press. The shamelessness still knows no bounds: the Daily Express has asked in all seriousness whether the inferno in the tower block was due to the cladding having b[...]

Helmut Kohl 1930-2017: The man who tore down the Wall

Tue, 20 Jun 2017 10:02:56 +0100

, – Cartoon. See more.

Right to information: Whistleblowers need protection

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 12:08:06 +0100

, – They put in danger their private and professional lives to reveal the embezzlement and irregularities they discover in their workplaces, yet whistleblowers do not enjoy the protection they deserve. But now things in Europe are starting to shift. See more.

Brexit negotiations: A good start

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 11:44:27 +0100

De Volkskrant, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

The EU after the British and French elections: Things are moving in Europe

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 23:20:15 +0100

France Inter, Paris – The political crisis in Britain and the victory of pro-European Emmanuel Macron in France heralds a new dawn for Europe, and will only make it stronger. See more.

France and the EU: Emmanuel Macron’s election is not a victory for Europe — yet

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 13:20:15 +0100

EastWest, Roma – A peppy and Europhile new president at the Elysée palace is surely good news for the EU. But it is not enough to save the Union from populism and nationalism pressures of all kinds, says the editor of EastWest Magazine. See more.

Theresa May defeat in general elections: Why Euroscepticism didn’t pay off

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 09:19:17 +0100

, – The 8 June general election shows that, despite appearances, the British people want to stay firmly in Europe See more.

UK polls: Voting knot

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 07:56:55 +0100

, – Cartoon. See more.

UK snap election: From “hard” to “hostile” Brexit?

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 10:28:30 +0100

SGI news, Gütersloh – The forthcoming general election in the United Kingdom will to a large extent centre on what sort of exit from the European Union the country might be able to achieve. How could an enhanced mandate for Prime Minister Theresa May affect the negotiations of Brexit? See more.

Social Rights: A plan to strengthen the social dimension of Europe

Tue, 06 Jun 2017 09:10:03 +0100

Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso Transeuropa, Trento – The European Commission's proposal to create a European Pillar of Social Rights is a step towards an integrated and coherent framework on social rights at the European level. This will also provide member states with a frame of reference for developing their own individual policies. See more.

France and the EU: Can Macron restart Europe?

Wed, 31 May 2017 07:46:30 +0100

Alternatives économiques , Paris – If the new French president wants to reform the EU, he will have to persuade Berlin to change its course on permanent austerity and to end its deflationary employment policies. A hard, though not impossible, job, says the editor of Alternatives économiques. See more.

Europe-US: Parting beds

Tue, 30 May 2017 15:41:06 +0100

Trouw, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

Macron faced with legislative elections: The French president is not in the clear yet

Tue, 23 May 2017 17:41:13 +0100

, – Emmanuel Macron has reached a milestone after being elected President of France. To effectively govern, however, he needs to obtain a majority in the National Assembly, which presents him with a conundrum in view of the elections on 11 and 18 June. See more.

France: The new Macron collection

Fri, 19 May 2017 13:08:06 +0100

De Volkskrant, Amsterdam – Cartoon. See more.

Europe and France’s new president: Will Macron make the Erasmus generation dream come true?

Wed, 17 May 2017 15:55:59 +0100

Bloomberg View, New York City – If anyone can restore faith in the vision of a federalist Europe, it's France's new president. But it will not be that easy, warns Ferdinando Giugliano. See more.