The focus on terrorism is obscuring the issues of refugees, and it is important to consider its impact on Europe, after the shock of Paris. Of course, the impact of terrorism in the daily life of ordinary citizens is going to increase the culture of checks and control in place since September 11, 2001. Since the New York massacre, the 10,000 planes that take off daily carry citizens who go through vexing security check, and cannot bring liquid on boards, etc.
“It’s Europe Day!” my wife called out when I showed her the invitation flier to Kriek & Frites party on May 8-9 at Place Jourdan in Brussels. Neither the flier nor its typically Belgian offer implied any connection with the EU. Given my early school days were spent in the Soviet Union, I associated the dates rather with the end of World War II. So what’s this Europe Day anyway? I distantly remembered that it had something to do with the day on which France and Germany decided to unite their coal and steel industries, hoping that this would prevent them if not from ever again piling up tanks and cannons…
On his first official trip to Europe, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited France and Germany from 10 to 14 April. His charm offensive had a central economic rationale, promoting India as an attractive investment and technology transfer destination through his “Make in India” campaign. Interesting to note that Mr. Modi’s European purchases, especially of the Rafele jet fighters, means that developing and poor India is supporting developed France with an injection of hard-earned cash
Talks between the “six powers” (US, Russia, China, UK, France, Germany plus the EU) and Iran successfully concluded in Lausanne, Switzerland with agreement on key parameters to draft a of a Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to be drafted by 30 June 2015. Joint Statement by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad…
As the Saudi-led air strikes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen were starting on 26 March 2015, Federica Mogherini, the EU foreign policy chief, issued a statement saying that she was convinced that military action was not a solution. Did anybody listen? Apparently not the UK and France, who along with the US are providing support to the Saudi-led coalition. In view, though, of the risks and inconsistencies involved, Europe should be taking the lead in bringing armed hostilities to a halt and convening the international community and the Yemeni parties for immediate negotiations within fair parameters.
On 16 March 2015 the Iranian Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, was in Brussels for talks with High Representative Mogherini and the Foreign Ministers of France, Germany and the UK. This was part of the six-power talks (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) with Iran on the latter’s uranium enrichment programme. 16 March was also the day of the EU Foreign Affairs Council (EU Foreign Ministers) in Brussels, chaired by Ms. Mogherini.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel paid a one-day visit to Brussels on 4 March, and met with the European Commission President and the entire College of Commissioners. One wonders whether that would have happened if any of the other 27 EU member state leaders had been visiting. Of course, nobody doubts the prominence that Ms. Merkel has, because of the special weight that Germany carries in the European economy and politics, but also because of her own personality and leadership skills.
J’ai eu la chance d’effectuer deux semestres d’Erasmus consécutifs. Le premier en Italie, à Forli (à 70 km de distance de Bologne) et le suivant en Angleterre à Stoke on Trent. Je pense que de toutes mes études universitaires cette année là a été la plus formatrice tant humainement qu’académiquement.
By Jasmina Dimitrieva
Are elections and democracy one and the same thing? Not only voters, but also elected officials sometimes confuse democracy with elections. Such mental attitude sees the internationally guaranteed right to public participation in decision-making reduced to elections. The inherent risk is that public participation in the formulation and implementation of public polices for common good, as enunciated in the constitutions of Europe, remains a philosophical concept, with the elections as a sole manifestation of democracy on the physical plan. While looking at the other side of the coin, it seems beyond imagination nowadays to have in place a democratic system of governance without first holding elections, and without a meaningful parliamentary opposition.