Eurosphere agenda: Juncker presents investment plan…Pope’s Haggard Europe…


VIDEO: Pope claims Europe appears ‘elderly’

Pope Francis warns that the world sees Europe as “somewhat elderly and haggard” during a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
Pope complains of ‘haggard’ Europe

Pope Francis warns that Europe appears “somewhat elderly” and less and less a protagonist, in a speech to EU politicians in Strasbourg.
Germany and the disinformation politics of the Ukraine crisis

Putin Merkel .jpgLooking at both the historical and current pro-Putin segment of German public discussion, one can identify the target groups and methods of Russian disinformation politics


Europe’s German Ball and Chain

In 2012, when a financial storm engulfed the eurozone, it was Germany that kept the European ship off the shoals of financial disaster. But Europe’s anchor has become a brake, hindering forward movement.

Why Summits Matter

It is easy to be skeptical about the kind of meetings that a small army of global and regional leaders swept through this month. But November’s three summits – the APEC summit in Beijing, the East Asian Summit in Naypyidaw, and the G-20 meeting in Brisbane – should have the skeptics eating their words.

The European Parliament rejected a motion of censure against Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s team today (27 November), the result being better than the one he obtained when the Commission was initially voted on, two weeks before the Luxleaks scandal erupted.


In the December 2014 issue of “European Union Politics” there is a  paper by Fortin-Rittberger & Rittberger* titled “Do electoral rules matter? Explaining national differences in women’s representation in the European Parliament“ (an earlier version in open access here).

Looking mainly at data from 2009 (and 2004), the key question of their paper is, in my summary:

Why is there a difference in gender representation between lower houses of parliaments of EU member states and the gender balance in the national delegations of MEPs from the same country?

What should an energy union cover?

The events of the last year, and in particular the risk that the fighting in Ukraine could jeopardise Russian energy supplies to Europe, have highlighted the absence of a co-ordinated European energy policy. Donald Tusk, the incoming president of the European Council, has talked of the need for an ‘energy union’. What kind of policy co-ordination should European leaders undertake?
Where do migrants to the UK come from the EU or non EU?

David Cameron’s hopes of getting back on the front foot on migration have been dealt a blow this morning – ONS figures show that immigration is up, and specifically immigration from the EU is up as well.

Greek services paralysed by strike

A 24-hour general strike over austerity measures shuts schools and public offices in Greece and heavily disrupted transport.

Mr Juncker called for an ‘inter-institutional agreement’ to fast track his 10 priorities, while Pope Francis warns of the EU’s ‘bureaucratic technicalities’. Moving on next week from leading Poland, the new Council President could improve country involvement, starting with a clear narrative around innovation, writes Christophe Leclercq.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday presented a 315-billiion euro investment plan for stimulating the EU economy. A large part of the money is to come from private enterprise, with the European Union providing just 21 billion. Brussels has come up with the right answer to the lethargy of certain member states, some commentators write in praise. Others believe the plan will fail due to a lack of incentives for investors.


After Angela Merkel delivered a trenchant foreign policy speech in Sydney on 17 November, the German chancellor took part in a follow-up discussion. Her comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin were not only highly critical of his actions over recent months. Merkel also said she was not convinced that he would stop at Ukraine, writes Judy Dempsey.

US President Barack Obama announced the resignation of his Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Monday without giving any reasons. According to a report in the New York Times Obama forced the Pentagon chief to step down. Some commentators see an internal dispute over the strategy against the terrorist IS as the reason. Others believe Chuck Hagel was no longer viewed as the right man to tackle the Herculean tasks in the Middle East.

BBC reports is is

Former Cabinet Minister Owen Paterson has just made a hard hitting speech on the UK’s relationship with the EU. He made a familiar case that the EU is as much a political union as an economic one. He concluded that the UK should remain in the ‘economic’ Single Market but remove itself from the political union.

Greenpeace Activist Injured in Confrontation with Spanish Navy

Playa de Corralejo, en Fuerteventura, con la silueta de Lanzarote al fondo, cerca de la zona de prospecciones. Foto de la autora.Playa de Corralejo, near the prospecting site in the Fuerteventura biosphere reserve of the Canary Islands, with the silhouette of Lanzarote in the distance. Photo by the author.

Paris looks to a future without love locks


Paris is slowly, oh-so-slowly, moving toward a love lock-free future.


LONDON — A fire broke out in a train carriage at a central London train station platform Sunday, closing it for two hours

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