Chancellor Angela Merkel has given the green light for criminal proceedings against German satirist Jan Böhmermann. His “smear poem” about Erdoğan is now the subject of a criminal investigation on charges of insulting a foreign head of state. Is Merkel kowtowing to Ankara?
The European Commission unveiled its long-awaited strategy to support the digitalisation of industry on Tuesday (19 April), aiming to mobilise around €50 billion to help European manufacturers catch up in the global race for the fourth industrial revolution.
Pope Francis has visited the Greek island of Lesbos and drawn attention to the fate of drowned refugees. When he returned to Rome he took three Syrian families with him. Commentators say his gesture sends a strong message.

Meeting room in the Dutch maritime museum where finance ministers will gather on Friday

Coming to terms with painful truths can take a long time, and the EU’s struggle to acknowledge an original sin built into its banking regulations is a case in point

The grand coalition in Germany on Thursday announced a new integration law aimed at facilitating refugees’ access to work and education. It also, however, foresees penalties for those who refuse integration measures, as well as residency restrictions. Is this law a breakthrough?

Monday 11 April saw the launch of an impartial and independent review: the EU referendum and the UK environment. Authored by 14 international experts – and led by the three of us – this review draws on the findings of over 700 publications to investigate how has EU membership affected the UK and what might change in the event of a vote to Remain or Leave in the forthcoming June 23rd referendum.  The launch of the review was followed by a roundtable event in London which brought together senior representatives from the UK environmental sector to debate its findings.

Austria has begun construction work at the Brenner Pass, where it plans to reintroduce border controls and erect a barrier to stop refugees coming from Italy. After closing the Balkan Route the country is taking further measures to seal itself off. While some commentators strongly criticise Vienna, others voice understanding for its approach.
Refugees and realistic European options

The EU Commission needs to satisfy both a majority in the European Parliament and a qualified majority in the Council of Ministers.

Protest poster at PEGIA demonstration( Patriotic Euopeans againt Islamisization of the West).

Portugal: there is intelligent life beyond austerity

Portugal appears to be saying goodbye to an implacable crisis. Beyond its shaky economic recovery, the political and social relevance of the current ongoing debate on austerity should be acknowledged. Português Español

Members of parliament vote to elect the national assembly’s president during its first session on Oct. 23 2015, following the Oct. 4 general elections. AP Photo/Armando Franca

You first: EU and Turkey in stand-off

EU and Turkey in Aegean stand-off

We citizens of the Member States of the European Union, of the Schengen Area, the Balkans, of the Mediterranean, and of the Middle East as well as citizens of other countries in the world, who share our concerns, are launching an emergency appeal.

Press Association/Benjamin Girette. All rights reserved.T

 

EU acting like ‘human trafficker’ of refugees, says Austrian minister

Foreign minister Sebastian Kurz says restoring Dublin and Schengen agreements must be priority

Austria’s foreign minister has accused the European Union of “acting like a human trafficker” by ushering refugees straight to the centre of the continent.

Speaking exclusively to the Observer before Monday’s crucial EU-Turkey summit, Sebastian Kurz said that “in Greece refugees are being waved through to the heart of Europe. That is simply unacceptable in the long run. The European Union cannot act like a human trafficker.” Restoring the Dublin and Schengen agreements, he said, had to be a priority at the meeting between the EU leaders and Turkey.

From Pondi to Paris: Pondicherry’s marriage market

Marriages between Pondicherrians who took French nationality in 1962, and those who chose to remain Indian, reveals a complicated range of ‘marriages of interest’ taking place today.

 

Debate: How can Ukraine end its crisis?

Ukrainian parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Groysman is to replace Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who resigned on Monday. But unless the geopolitical wrangling over Ukraine comes to an end and judicial reforms are finally introduced he has no chance of steering the country in the right direction, commentators stress.
In addition to mentioning the British and Icelandic prime ministers, the Panama Papers contain the names of many European VIPs and politicians. Is tax dodging using offshore companies mainly a Western phenomenon?
Criticism of the ECB’s zero interest rate policy is growing louder. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on the weekend that the loose monetary policy was contributing to the growing popularity of the national-conservative AfD party in Germany. The press discusses the accusation and the effectiveness of the relaxed monetary policy.
Vienna wants to reintroduce border controls at the Brenner Pass and erect a 250-metre barrier meant to stop refugees coming from Italy. The press fiercely criticises the plan.

The EU must not leave Greece to solve the migration crisis

Still, the boats come. Detention, as a solution to this, would have to be on a scale hitherto unimaginable in the EU. We need alternatives, and migrants need to be part of them.

Refugees arriving on Lesbos, November 2015. Flickr/Charles-André Habib. Some rights reserved.Refugees arriving on Lesbos, November 2015. Flickr/Charles-André Habib. Some rights reserved.One after another, the opened borders of south-east Europe have slammed shut.

 

Refugee and migrant arrivals in the EU in 2016: who are we talking about?

A thoughtful analysis should deconstruct narratives portraying migrants as a ‘weapon’ and identify them for what they are: people looking for international protection or, at most, better living conditions.

Greek coast guard officer tries to calm Syrians who are part of the the largest refugee flow the continent has seen since WW11 Greek coast guard officer tries to calm Syrians who are part of the the largest refugee flow the continent has seen since World War II.Thanassis Stavrakis / Press Association. All rights reserved. T

Italian Islam in Mainstream TV: Either Invisible or Visibly Othered

This piece reflects on reputed Italian TV programmes and how they tackle issues of terrorism, Islam and Muslims. Reference will especially be made to these particular programmes and dates, though they do not differ from what I have seen from them for the last six years or so of my stay (studies and work) in this country: Porta a Porta (14/11/2015), Virus and Virus Speciale Parigi (15/11/15; 18/11/15), Ballarò (18/11/15; 24/11/15), Linea Notte TG3 (20/11/15), L’Arena (22/11/15).

Brussels Briefing: Greek guessing game

This is Wednesday’s edition of our daily Brussels Briefing. To receive it every morning in your email in-box, sign up here.

Alexis Tsipras, the Greek prime minister, in between meetings at his office last week

Debate: Refugees stranded in Greece

The situation in Greece is coming to a head: thousands of refugees are still flooding into the country but are being prevented from crossing the border into Macedonia to head for other destinations. The EU Commission has announced a 700-million-euro aid package to help those member states worst hit by the refugee crisis. Can this prevent a disaster in Greece?
France would cease keeping migrants in Calais and tempt bankers to relocate from Britain if the country exits the European Union, economy minister Emmanuel Macron told the Financial Times Wednesday (2 March).

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During his visit to Berlin Croatia’s Prime Minister Tihomir Orešković announced that his country will convert to the euro in four years’ time. In view of Croatia’s huge debts and poor economic statistics commentators doubt his plan will work out.

Uber: a route out of the French banlieues

Ride-hailing apps have created jobs for Paris’s poorer youth, but a regulatory clampdown looms

Countdown to re-run elections starts in Spain

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Countdown to re-run elections starts in Spain

Spanish Socialist leader Pedro Sánchez yesterday failed in his first bid to be voted in as new Prime Minister. As a result, we now have a hard deadline: if no candidate can be elected Prime Minister by May 2, re-run elections will have to be called. Open Europe’s Vincenzo Scarpetta looks at what lies ahead for Spain.

Still the enemy within: the strike that split Britain

‘Still the Enemy Within’, on the 1984-5 Miners’ Strike, will be screened at London’s Somerset House on 7th March. Two filmmakers who worked on the award-winning documentary tell the story.

From the archive. Part of openDemocracy’s partnership with the Unorthodocsprogramme of documentary screenings and events, which asks why so many award-winning documentaries never make it onto British TV. Buy tickets for ‘Still the Enemy Within’ here.

The Brexit Debate

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Britain belongs with the European Union, despite their differences.

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