Did You Know?

In recent years both Europe and the USA, have increasingly witnessed fears about the impact of immigration that have almost managed to rip apart the European Union. Yet scientists are delivering new answers to the question of European identity and ancestry. Their findings suggest that the continent has been a melting pot since the Ice…

Forty countries are competing for the Eurovision Song Trophy in Vienna this year, with the Grand Final due to take place on 23 May. Although the contest has strict rules, according to which participants promoting political messages are banned from the competition, it also has a history of songs just on that thin line between activism and pure cheesiness. Most recently, social issues have been a potent underlying message, including respect for equality and human rights, culminating with the victory of the woman with facial hair in 2014, the Austrian Conchita Wurst. This year’s edition combines political and social activism with reference to the UK’s exit from the EU, the Armenian genocide and LGBT rights to equal citizenship in modern European countries.

The ECB enters a new era in monetary policy

The European Central Bank (ECB) is to start buying up sovereign bonds from 9 March. Its president, Mario Draghi, believes that the programme of unprecedented monetary stimulus in the Eurozone will succeed in stemming the threat of deflation in the region. Next week will see an enormous machinery set in motion for the purchase of public debt on a mass scale from the 19 countries in the monetary union. Known as quantitative easing (QE), this has now been renamed by the ECB as the Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP) and will consist of bond purchases up to €60bn per month.

1. Podemos has become the preferred political option in Spain.
Podemos (“We can”) is the only party in recent history to rise at the top of national electorate preferences in less than a year. If elections were held in Spain tomorrow, Podemos would win a decent, although probably not absolute majority in the country’s parliament (a poll published in January by EL País ranked Podemos first, with 28% of the vote). The party was officially founded in 2014, and was born out of the Indignados movement, an heterogeneous platform created in Spain in 2012 to lead protests against the established political system. In less than a year, Podemos gained over 300,000 members and the potential support of almost 3.5 million voters through the set-up of an Internet-based network. The party already won five seats out of Spain’s 54 in the European Parliament at the May 2014 elections.

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