Tagged Italy

No more excuses: either our continent really unites or it is destined to fall apart under external and internal strains. The ongoing refugee crisis is one more demonstration of the need for a Europe with one voice, one plan and pooled resources. Huge damage has already been done by interventions in countries like Iraq, Syria and Libya, with the acquiescence if not active participation of some European countries: interventions of dubious legality lacking a plan for the day after.

On Monday, 4 May, the Italian Parliament voted on legislation aimed at reforming the country’s electoral system. The overhaul, proposed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, seeks to put an end to a fragmented political scene that has ushered in four different governments since the beginning of this decade. A jubilant ruling coalition welcomed the Parliament’s approval of the bill by a vote of 334 to 61. Soon after the secret ballot came to a close and the votes were counted, an enraptured Renzi tweeted: “Commitment kept, promise fulfilled.” “Mission accomplished”, stated Reform Minister Elena Boschi

ISIS ante portas, and behind…

The recent beheading of Egyptian Copts working in Libya by ISIS and the subsequent air bombardment by the Egyptian air force of ISIS installations in Libya show how close the war and ISIS have come to Europe. If Syria and Iraq are considered still far from the EU heartland, Libya is only a few hundred nautical miles away from the coasts of Italy, Malta and Greece. This is too close for comfort. What can Europe do to address these emerging threats that are getting closer and closer to its soil? What it can certainly not afford to do is stay idle and wait. In this article I suggest a few measures that should at least be considered by the European leaders and the EU Institutions. One may think that such measures would move the EU closer to integration in defence and security matters, and that would probably be right, but that should not constitute a reason for panicking. On the contrary, one should start to worry about the future of a Europe facing determined enemies that stays fragmented and expects the US and others to do the heavy lifting for its security.

After a week of non-stop meetings by the Greek Prime Minister and his Finance Minister, Messrs Tsipras and Varoufakis, an apparent rift exists between Greece and Germany. With the ECB’s action to cut off the Greek banks from the ESM and instead use the ELA mechanism for liquidity, and Jeroen Dijselbloem’s outright rejection of a ‘bridge loan’, the situation is now at a standstill. While Greece sees the first demonstrations in support of its government, the current bailout programme ends on 28 February and Grexit re-enters the public discourse.

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