Eurosphere roundup: The new autocrats in Eastern Europe [includes one from Turkey]

Eastern Europe: the new autocrats

From Hungary to the Czech Republic, and from Romania to Turkey, democracy is being tested by a new generation of authoritarian leaders. Click on the faces below

Eastern European autocrats pose new test for democracy

From Hungary’s Orbán and Czech Republic’s Zeman to Erdoğan in Turkey, a new breed of democratic strongman is emerging

The heat is still on Hollande

The president?s team is hoping that ?something will turn up? to boost French exports. It is not an elegant posture

MAIN FOCUS: London and Madrid squabble over Gibraltar | 13/08/2013

The UK and Spain are both adopting a hard line stance in the dispute over Gibraltar. London sent warships for a naval exercise off the coast of the British overseas territory on Monday, while according to media reports Spain now intends to take the matter to the UN. Commentators blame domestic policy issues for the escalation and urge the two EU members to reach an agreement.

The legacy of the indignados

Much has been written about the indignados, what was new about them and what is, or will be, their legacy. It is time to acknowledge that the indignados have redefined how ? and where! ? we engage in politics.

Brussels suspends funding to Hungary

Budapest says its risks losing $2bn in EU assistance due to shortcomings over controls amid strain between the commission and the Orbán government

German growth leads the eurozone out of recession but can it really lead the eurozone out of its crisis?

As has been widely covered today, the eurozone exited recession in the second quarter of this year, growing by 0.3% (over expectations of 0.2%).

See you in Court? UK-Spanish dispute over Gibraltar rumbles on


The HMS Westminster leaving Portsmouth for Gibraltar

A week on there appears to have been no progress on the Gibraltar front – the Gibraltarian authorities are still not budging over the artificial reef, the Spanish are maintaining their additional burdensome controls and the UK is still “considering” a legal challenge under EU law.

On the trail of Britain’s undercover police

Recent revelations have exposed the routine embedding of undercover police officers within environmental and social justice campaigns. But piecing together the public evidence on undercover police tactics brings as many questions as answers.

Romania condemns irredentist statements by Hungarian politician

Romania’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has strongly condemned a recent statement made by the leader of the Hungarian radical nationalist party, Jobbik, claiming that Hungary should seek autonomy for the Hungarian-populated Székely Land in Romania.

According to the Hungarian agency MTI, Gábor Vona, leader of the Hungarian radical nationalist party Jobbik, accused the government of Viktor Orbán of failing to raise issues regarding the peace treaty of Trianon on the autonomy of the so-called Székely Land  – or Szecklerland – with international fora.

EU blamed for French egg crisis

French farmers? associations have accused the European Commission of responsibility for the ?lack of regulation? which has led to an overproduction of eggs and a drop of prices below production costs.

Angry French farmers have destroyed hundreds of thousands of eggs to protest against falling prices, asking for measures at national and European level to redress the situation.

Greece appeals to Russia over natural gas prices

As we reported in today?s press summary, there were some interesting reports circulating in the Greek press this morning about Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras sending a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin to request assistance with cost of Greek gas ? namely the gas which Greece imports via Gazprom.


Gibraltar: Spain ‘can’t trust’ UK

A top Spanish foreign policy official has said it is difficult to trust the UK, amid a dispute between the two countries over Gibraltar.

The size of the British opt-outs

The British government is currently preparing the negotiate further opt-outs of the UK in order to find a new status in the EU that wins the support of the British people. But already the United Kingdom is the country that is most detached from the core of EU integration, most notably of course by staying outside of the Eurozone. The next step will be using an opt-out clause out of large parts of the EU?s justice and home affairs policies. For an article I am writing on the future prospects of the UK in the EU, I therefore wanted to know, how far has the UK already distanced itself from the EU? And in what extent has it made use of its opt-in rights?

Catalan separatists side with UK against Spain

One of the main pro-independence parties in Spain’s northerly Catalonia region has fuelled the country’s growing row with Britain over Gibraltar after expressing sympathy with “bullied” residents in the British territory.

The separatist Esquerra Republicana party (ERC), a junior coalition partner in the Catalan regional government, wrote to Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo deploring the “improper” behaviour of Spain’s central government.

Czech PM resigns, early elections to be held

The Czech cabinet dominated by allies of leftist President Milo? Zeman resigned yesterday (13 August) after losing a confidence vote last week, clearing the way for early elections that could resolve a political deadlock.

The main parties have been locked in battle with Zeman since June, when he named ally Ji?í Rusnok, against their wishes, to head a new cabinet after the previous centre-right government collapsed under the weight of a spying and bribery scandal.

Central European economies lacking ?consumer optimism?

The Czech Republic escaped from recession in the second quarter while the European Union’s other bigger eastern economies improved, though still looking short of consumer optimism needed to drive a stronger upturn

Headline numbers today (14 August) showed the Czechs as expected firmly back in positive territory with growth of 0.7% compared to the first quarter. Hungary grew 0.1% on the quarter and Poland 0.4%.

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