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What’s the matter with eastern Europe?

He was a rich businessman, an outspoken outsider with a love of conspiracy theories. And he was a populist running for president.

In 1990, when Donald Trump was still beyond the furthest outskirts of American politics, Stanislaw Tyminski was trying to become the new president of post-communist Poland. He shared something else with the future Trump: nobody in the political elite took Tyminski seriously.

That was a mistake. He was the standard-bearer for a virulent right-wing populism that would one day take power in Poland and control the politics of the region. He would be the first in a long line of underestimated buffoons of the post-Cold War era who started us on a devolutionary path leading to Donald Trump. Tyminski’s major error: his political backwardness was a little ahead of its time.

https://mondediplo.com/openpage/what-s-the-matter-with-eastern-europe

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Posted by on December 7, 2017 in European Union

 

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Germany’s crisis means uncertainty for Europe. But it won’t be fatal

The collapse of Germany’s coalition talks is the latest shock to hit Europe. No one saw it coming. Of course the blow is of a different nature from the banking crisis, the war in Ukraine, the refugee crisis, Brexit, Trump, Poland and Hungary’s democratic backsliding, or Catalan secessionism. Germany’s politics look upended but the fundamentals are still in place: the postwar democratic set-up is hardly under threat. Still, this is rattling stuff. Europe’s powerhouse is in unknown political territory at a time when so much remains unresolved across the continent. And Germany’s political uncertainty means yet more uncertainty for the EU. Yet doomsayers shouldn’t assume that this crisis has to be fatal.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/21/germany-political-crisis-uncertainty-europe-macron

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in European Union

 

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Catalogne-Balkans, une inspiration mutuelle

L’éclatement de la Yougoslavie il y a un quart de siècle, resté synonyme de « balkanisation » et de conflits nationalistes, est depuis longtemps une source d’inspiration pour les dirigeants indépendantistes ­catalans. Inversement, la déclaration d’indépendance de la Catalogne suscite dans les Balkans des lectures contrastées, et réveille au passage des velléités chez des nationalistes insatisfaits de la carte de l’après-Yougoslavie.

Dès 1991, Jordi Pujol, l’ancien président de la Généralité de Catalogne (1980-2003) et figure historique du nationalisme catalan, avait trouvé dans l’éclatement simultané de la Yougoslavie et de l’Union soviétique l’annonce d’une nouvelle ère des nations. Si la Croatie avec ses quatre millions et demi d’habitants, l’Estonie avec son million et demi pouvaient ­devenir indépendantes, pourquoi pas la Catalogne qui en compte sept millions ? Pujol, qui parlait alors d’« auto-affirmation » (et non de sécession) de la Catalogne, dut quitter la scène politique pour fraude fiscale. Mais son successeur, Carles Puigdemont, a repris l’argument.

http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2017/10/28/catalogne-balkans-une-inspiration-mutuelle_5207291_3232.html

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2017 in European Union

 

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EU must take initiative on independence movements

Listening to the mock outrage and dire warnings of violence pouring from politicians and broadcast media over the next steps in Catalonia, the Gospel of Matthew seems strangely relevant. Rarely, in the modern age, has a moment of political transformation revealed more about the preoccupations of onlookers than the “Catalan situation”. Of course, no-one knows precisely what will unfold as the Spanish government seeks to assert its authority on the parliament, police, education system and civil service of the autonomous region turned independent state of Catalonia. And since the Scottish independence referendum was an official affair, whose outcome was always going to be legally binding on both sides, neither Europe nor the UK has had to prepare for a unilateral declaration of independence like the one announced last week.

http://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/lesley-riddoch-eu-must-take-initiative-on-independence-movements-1-4600123

 

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2017 in European Union

 

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L’escapada va arribar fins al final, però a la meta hi havia l’article 155

L’independentisme ha arribat fins al final i ha aconseguit proclamar (o gairebé, per l’ambigua declaració aprovada) la República catalana. Puigdemont ha complert el seu compromís, milers de catalans van sortir al carrer i van celebrar un vell anhel que feia anys que perseguien: poder dir que han viscut la República catalana. Però la festa es va acabar de seguida. Game over. La realitat és l’article 155 de la Constitució i les eleccions del 21-D. El mateix Carles Puigdemont va intentar evitar la declaració d’independència fins a l’últim moment, ja que era molt conscient de les dificultats amb què s’enfrontarien per l’aplicació immediata de l’article 155 i per la impossibilitat de portar a la pràctica la pròpia República. Dies abans, Jordi Sànchez, el dirigent de l’ANC detingut, havia enviat un missatge clar des de la cel•la de Soto del Real al mateix Puigdemont i als membres de l’ANC aconsellant que es convoquessin eleccions i que no es declarés la independència. Sànchez, una de les ments més assenyades de tot el complex entorn que ha tingut Puigdemont aquests mesos, va transmetre que des de la presó poc es pot fer i que el més important era defensar bé la institució de la Generalitat.

http://www.lavanguardia.com/politica/20171030/432471740670/en-diagonal-escapada-final-meta-article-155-carles-puigdemont.html

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2017 in European Union

 

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Glyphosate: une bonne lecon de democratie

Faut-il prolonger ou interdire l’usage du glyphosate, plus connu sous le nom de Roundup ? Depuis deux ans, les gouvernements européens tergiversent. Car, depuis mars 2015, l’herbicide le plus vendu dans le monde est aussi classifié « cancérogène probable » pour l’homme par le Centre international de recherche sur le cancer (CIRC). Cette agence des Nations unies est arrivée à cette conclusion sur la base du travail mené pendant un an par un groupe d’experts indépendants.

Jusqu’à mercredi 25 octobre, pourtant, il n’était question, pour la Commission européenne et la plupart des Etats membres de l’UE, que de renouveler pour dix ans l’homologation du « best-seller » du groupe américain Monsanto. En d’autres termes : de prendre la décision de continuer à exposer leurs concitoyens, les agriculteurs en premier lieu, à un pesticide jugé probablement cancérogène par l’agence scientifique internationale de référence.

http://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2017/10/26/glyphosate-une-bonne-lecon-de-democratie_5206240_3232.html

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2017 in European Union

 

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The Banality of Crimes against Migrants

Agnes Callamard, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions, presented animportant new report to the UN General Assembly on Friday. The report is on “Unlawful Death of Refugees and Migrants” — already an unordinary focus for her mandate. In recent years, her office has focused nearly exclusively on counter-terrorism, particularly on deaths by drone attacks.

As she explains, the report concerns “an international crime whose very banality in the eyes of so many makes its tragedy particularly grave and disturbing.” The contention is rather dramatic, and we believe that it is indeed historic, at least as far as reports by UN bodies are concerned.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/editorial-on-crimes-against-migrants-a-1175239.html

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Lesbos’s Ghosts, Europe’s Disgrace

ATHENS – In 2015, hundreds of thousands of refugees landed on Greece’s island shores. Many had perished at sea. Today, the international public has been lulled into believing that Greece’s refugee crisis has abated. In fact, it has become a permanent scourge blighting Europe’s soul and brewing future trouble. The island of Lesbos was, and remains, its epicenter.

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/greece-lesbos-refugees-inhumane-conditions-by-yanis-varoufakis-and-george-tyrikos-ergas-2017-10

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2017 in European Union

 

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There’s a dangerous and popular fashion in Europe to be antisemitic and pro-Zionist at the same time

On 24 October 2017, Viktor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary, was reported to have called Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) “a zone without migrants”. He claimed this at the celebration of the anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution, which began on 23 October 1956.

According to him, the countries of CEE have succeeded in rebuffing illegal migration and it is the only zone on the European continent that is free from migrants.

“The Poles, Czechs, Slovaks, Romanians and Hungarians should unite in this process,” Orban claimed. He is sure that every upcoming election in Europe will show citizens reflecting his views.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/antisemitic-zionist-jewish-identity-muslim-islamophobia-immigration-migrants-racism-a8022726.html?amp

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2017 in European Union

 

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Once upon a time in 1989

I imagine a cosy dining room somewhere in eastern Europe, in Bucharest or perhaps Zagreb. But it could be Timișoara or Bratislava as well. It is Sunday, and a family has gathered for lunch around a big table, as they often do in my part of the world. Usually, first comes a beef or chicken soup with home-made dumplings, then a hearty meat dish and potatoes from the oven, garnished with vegetables, followed by cake and coffee. There are three generations around the table. Mother and father are about my age, born some time in the early 1950s. Their children were born in the 1980s – just in time to remember a little bit of life under communism, that is. And their grandchildren are too young to care.

Source: Once upon a time in 1989 – Eurozine

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2017 in Europe, European Union

 

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