Posts Tagged ‘Islam in Europe’

Eurosphere agenda: “UK aims to become centre for Islamic finance…

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2013 at 15:46

UK aims to become centre for Islamic finance

Global Islamic finance market is valued at $1.3tn and is growing faster than the conventional banking sector

 Germany hits back at US criticism

Germany hits back at the US Treasury’s criticism of its export-led growth model, describing the attack as “incomprehensible”.

Spying leaks should not interrupt cooperation with Europe: US

The US administration is eager to continue discussing intelligence-gathering operations to alleviate the concerns of European leaders

‘Nationalism and xenophobia’ on rise ahead of European elections

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has warned against nationalism, xenophobia and racism ahead of European Parliament elections

France angered by prostitution petition

A petition against the abolition of prostitution has created uproar in France, fuelling an already intense debate on buying and selling sex.

Rutte: Don’t blame voters for anti-EU sentiments – blame politicians

Dutch PM Mark Rutte is often seen as a key UK ally who is able to maintain warm relations with both the Liberal and

Conservative sides of the coalition. In London today to deliver the Isaiah Berlin lecture he talked about the big challenges facing Europe, making the following key points:

 NSA surveillance confirms the realist paradigm, and I am not happy about that

Only a few days ago I briefly presented the research of my life, which I have just started and deals with the influence that human rights make on foreign policy making in Europe. In particular, at the moment I am reading and thinking about why countries choose to embrace and foster certain human rights norms rather than others. Right when I was about to accept that principles, ideas and identities play a significant role in the construction of national interests and, therefore, in the way countries interact with each other (“anarchy is what states make of it” and so on), we read in the papers that the US has been spying on foreign allies for a good number of years.

Kick starting a movement against mass surveillance

Next week will see a public meeting discussing what we can do about the rise of mass government surveillance. Anthony Barnett outlines why this is a crucial issue, and why you should be there.

Harmonizing Europe’s Elections

The EU should consider an audacious idea: synchronization of Europe’s political clocks, so that all national elections are held within the same year – or even the same month. A common election calendar would free up scarce resources and focus policymakers’ attention more effectively, thus maximizing the benefits of vital programs.

Germany wants Snowden spying details

The German government says it is keen to hear directly from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden about the US spy agency’s activities.
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Eurosphere roundup: Far-right victories in Norway and France… “Europe threatened by power outages this winter

In Uncategorized on October 14, 2013 at 17:35

Europe threatened by power outages this winter


Renewable energy is blamed for jeopardising Europe’s energy security this winter, a new study has found. EurActiv France reports.


The French multinational company Cap Gemini warned in their European Observatory of Energy Markets that energy security in Europe was under threat and that the region could soon be exposed to massive power outages during the winter, due to a lack of production capacity. They blame wind turbines.

UK manufacturers want to stay in the EU


Eight out of 10 British manufacturers would choose to stay in the European Union if a referendum on membership of the 28-nation bloc were held today, says a survey released today (14 October).


The poll, for the EEF, the manufacturing sector’s biggest trade body, found that 85% of those asked would choose to stay in the EU, if given a say in a referendum.

Van Rompuy scorns direct election of Commission president

Herman van Rompuy


Having public candidates for the Commission presidency during the next EU elections is not the panacea for Europe’s credibility woes, says European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.


While European parties look for figureheads for their EU election campaigns, the president of the European Council feels this will not resolve Europe’s democratic deficit.

The Myth of German Euroskepticism

According to conventional wisdom, the eurozone crisis has reduced citizens’ trust in the EU and in European institutions in general across all member states, with several recent reports claiming that the German public, in particular, has turned its back on Europe. But the conventional wisdom is simply wrong.

Islam’s disruptive visibility in the European public sphere

Contemporary Islam in Europe, its modes of public expression and the visibility of associated religious signs and symbols are all much discussed in the European public sphere. But, writes Nilüfer Göle, religious agency itself remains a blind spot in the current debate.

French far-right candidate wins key local by-election

National Front candidate Laurent Lopez won a hotly-contested local council by-election in the southern town of Brignoles

French far right sweeps to victory in local election

Blow came despite calls from President François Hollande’s Socialist party for its supporters and other leftist voters to rally behind a rival candidate

The Norwegian shift to the right: 10 short lessons on The Progress Party

Norway seems to have taken a sharp turn to the right, and some have warned of right-wing extremism in a bastion of social democracy. A ten-step guide to understanding The Progress Party.

A Czech election with consequences

With a number of new parties seeking to win seats and an anticipated victory of the left, the upcoming parliamentary elections in the Czech Republic might lead to the biggest change in the country’s political map since the 1989 revolution.

Monti: EU countries need grand coalitions in times of crisis


The best way to pass the difficult reforms that many EU countries need is to install a grand coalition such as the one that helped save Italy from economic disaster, former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti said at a public event on Friday (11 October).


Monti said the biggest problem facing European democracy was what he called “short-termism”, the fact that politicians were focused on their performance at the next election rather than on finding solutions to their country’s or society’s problems.

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Eurosphere roundup: anti-Nazi protest turns violent in Athens; Record public debt in France; Reding slams France for using Roma as election scapegoats

In Uncategorized on September 26, 2013 at 15:11

Athens anti-Nazi protest turns violent


Greek police fired tear gas at anti-fascist protesters who hurled petrol bombs and stones near the Athens headquarters of Golden Dawn on Wednesday (25 September) following the killing of an anti-racism rapper by a supporter of the far-right party.


Thousands of Greeks marched towards the party’s offices earlier on Wednesday in the biggest show of public anger at Pavlos Fissas’ stabbing. Rampaging protesters set garbage cans on fire and smashed bank windows.

Greek protests against Golden Dawn

Thousands of people join protests against Greece’s third largest party – the far-right Golden Dawn – amid a wave of anger after a musician was killed.
Commission says its Gibraltar inspection ‘not a PR stunt’


A team of EU inspectors arrived in Gibraltar yesterday (25 September) to investigate a border dispute that has strained relations between Britain and Spain. A Commission spokesperson said the effort wasn’t “a PR thing”.


In a row which began over fishing waters, Britain and Gibraltar complained to the EU that Spain was applying overly zealous border controls, causing long lines for workers and tourists entering and leaving the British territory, a rocky outcrop near the tip of southern Spain.

EU-US trade deal to include ‘corporate bill of rights’


SPECIAL REPORT / Controversial rights for multinational corporations to sue states, likely to be included in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), are causing a political headache for EU and US negotiators, but may also set a precedent for future trade agreements, notably with China.


The TTIP currently being negotiated includes so-called “investor-state” dispute clauses empowering EU and US-based corporations to lodge private legal cases directly against governments.

MAIN FOCUS: Record public debt in France | 26/09/2013

Despite plans for cuts running into the billions, France is heading for record debt levels. The Socialist government of President François Hollande on Wednesday discussed the 2014 budget, with which total debt is set to reach 95 percent of the GDP. Commentators criticise the planned tax hikes and call for increased cuts in the bloated government sector.

Q&A: Austria parliamentary election

Austria prepares to pass judgement on its government
Austrian right wing gains strength off Europe fears ahead of elections


Austria’s far-right Freedom Party (FPO) appears likely to raise its share of the vote in Sunday elections, drawing on fears over bailouts for needier eurozone countries and the cost of supporting asylum seekers.


Social Democrat Chancellor Werner Faymann’s government coalition may well survive, but opinion poll trends suggest the FPO could overtake his conservative junior partner, the People’s Party. Austria’s overall prosperity at a time of hardship in Europe has done little to dampen historic unease at immigration.

Reding slams France for using Roma as election scapegoats


Commission Vice-President Viviane Reding has strongly criticised the “electioneering” rhetoric of French Interior Minister Manuel Valls, who has called for Roma from Bulgaria and Romania to sent back where they came from. reports.


“If I am not mistaken, elections are in the air in France. Whenever in this country doesn’t want to talk about important things like the budget or debt, they talk about the Roma,” Reding said yesterday (25 September) onFrance Info radio station

UK lines up another court challenge against EU financial regulation

Last week, the UK launched another legal challenge at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) against an unwanted piece of financial regulation – this time, the bankers’ bonus cap. This comes in the wake of some favourable legal assessment from a UK point of view, on short selling and the FTT (though both those cases are  still pending), as well as a win on benchmark regulation.

The German Election: what does it mean for Europe?

As predicted, Sunday’s German federal election resulted in a resounding victory for Angela Merkel. But with growing German euroscepticism and hesitation about the country’s future role in the Union, the results for Europe are not yet in.

Sisa: is meth use the latest face of the catastrophe in Athens?

Meth – or Sisa, as it has been called on the streets of Athens – has become the drug of choice for a rising number of drug addicts in Greece. After Golden Dawn and rampant poverty, is meth use the latest face of the catastrophe in Athens?

Britain sues EU over banker bonus cap


Britain has launched a legal challenge to the European Union’s cap on bankers’ bonuses which London fears will hurt its financial industry.


Finance minister George Osborne has long argued that Brussels has gone too far with reforms aimed at preventing a repeat of the financial crisis. But EU financial services chief Michel Barnier said the bonus cap was legal.

The EU law will limit a bonus to no more than a banker’s fixed salary, or twice that level with shareholder approval.

The UKIP class of ’09: Where are they now?

The removal of Godfrey Bloom’s whip this week, in the wake of his comments to the annual conference, reminds me that the role of MEPs in UKIP has long been an unhappy one.

Greece’s Primary Budget Surplus: How far from reality?

Recent data from Greece’s central government has showed a primary surplus for the first seven months of this year. This is the first time this development appears in debt-ridden Greece since 2010 and the first rescue package of the Greek economy. The government lies on that argument for the negotiations with troika in order to avoid an additional package. But is this surplus efficiently reclaimed?
Tymoshenko is the big unknown in EU-Ukraine talks

There are some steps left to be done for the successful signing of the Association Agreement. In particular, President Viktor Yanukovych persuades that legislation on public prosecution and elections needs to be adopted and also the “issue of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko” needs to be solved. Mr Yanukovych also reminded that the Cox-Kwasniewsky Mission is working on the Tymoshenko case.

Berlusconi faction sparks political crisis

Centre-right group in Italy’s coalition vows to quit parliament if Senate committee votes to strip former prime minister of his Senate seat

Merkel’s Victory, Everyone’s Loss: The Burden Of German Mercantilism On Europe

John Weeks

The electoral victory of Angela Merkel brings bad news to the rest of Europe. Without doubt it means the continuation of the national economic policies that have all the other euro zone countries suffering from recession. While the Christian Democrats and their Bavarian allies narrowly missed an absolute majority, the probability that a coalition partner would moderate austerity polices is close to zero.

More than a lobby: finance in the UK


Finance and the British state are mutually embedded to the point that it can be hard to tell where one stops and the other starts. Here, Tamasin Cave of Spinwatch gives us a brief tour of the tangled web that is public life in the UK.

AfD: The party of the youth?



AfD chief Bernd Lucke on the campaign trail

It’s barely been half a year since the German anti-euro party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) emerged onto  the political scene (and we were one of the first to flag up the then-unknown party), but its ascent has been rapid.

Anti-fascist protests in Greece amid neo-Nazi crackdown

Greek parties and unions on Wednesday were to hold anti-fascist protests in Athens and other cities

Islam’s disruptive visibility in the European public sphere

The spectre of Islam has haunted European public debate for the last three decades. Moreover, Islam’s visibility in the contemporary European public sphere raises crucial political questions that concern the very fabric of secular society, writes Nilüfer Göle.

EU team investigate Gibraltar row

A team of European Union inspectors are visiting Gibraltar to investigate a border row that has caused recent diplomatic tensions between the UK and Spain.

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Eurosphere roundup: Germany elections aftermath… “Swedish police confirm illegal Roma database

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2013 at 10:37


Eleven Turks enter German Parliament

Eleven lawmakers of Turkish origin have been elected to the German Bundestag

Merkel faces tough coalition talks

Chancellor Angela Merkel is triumphant but must now form a new ruling coalition, with the Social Democrats (SPD) seen as likely partners.

As focus shifts to German coalition negotiations, who are the key players to watch?

After a surprisingly manic election night the focus in Germany now shifts to the tricky task of forming a government. As we noted yesterday, many options remain possible. Merkel looks unlikely to gain a majority on her own while the FDP and AfD are certainly out of the Bundestag.


Don’t expect leap in German EU policy: analysts

Analysts say it would be wrong to expect a bold leap forward in the German leader’s euro zone strategy, even if Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU does end up, as expected, in a coalition with the staunchly pro-European Social Democrats (SPD), giving her a dominant majority in parliament.

Merkel has emerged from Sunday’s German election with the closest thing to a governing mandate since Helmut Kohl rode to victory in 1990 on the feel-good wave of reunification.

MAIN FOCUS: Merkel triumphs | 23/09/2013

Angela Merkel scored a clear victory in Germany’s parliamentary elections on Sunday. The conservative CDU and its sister party the CSU came just short of an absolute majority. Commentators expect Germany’s influence in Europe to grow and urge the chancellor to use her new leeway to push for reforms in Europe as well as at home.

Will homophobia rain off Serbia’s parade?

Gay pride week begins September 21, but it is unclear whether the Serbian government is willing to expend the political capital to secure it, despite external pressure.


Commission ‘buckled under pressure’ for soft energy labels

The European Commission has succumbed to heavy lobbying from the electric heating industry and is set to approve an energy labelling scheme that misrepresents its appliances’ true efficiency performance, according to environmental and consumers groups.

Around 20 million gas and electric heaters are sold in Europe each year and from 2016, the Commission wanted them to display colour-coded energy performance labels, which have bars ranging from a green ‘A’ to a red ‘G’ class.

But electric heater manufacturers – which make up over 80% of the market – fought against any direct comparison with gas and other heaters, most of which are more than twice as efficient.

Skopje and Athens are ‘brothers in crime’ on Macedonia name dispute

The stalemate on the Macedonia name dispute between Athens and Skopje is a “lose-lose game”, and the two governments are “brothers in crime” on the issue, says Radmila ?ekerinska, vice president of the opposition Social Democratic Union of Macedonia. EurActiv Greece reports.

A majority of EU countries recognise Macedonia with its constitutional name – the Republic of Macedonia –, but many others side with Greece in rejecting this term, calling the country Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

Russia’s response to Ukraine’s European choice: what is next?

Great hope remains that after the Vilnius Summit in November, Brussels will keep its word and will not leave Ukraine one on one with Russia, whose president, Vladimir Putin, will aspire for geopolitical revenge and a return of Kyiv to the Eurasian area at any price, writes Roman Rukomeda.

Roman Rukomeda is a Ukrainian political expert


What Merkel’s Victory Means for Europe

With Sunday’s victory Angela Merkel now has the chance for a fresh start on Europe. Whatever coalition emerges following the election, the chancellor shouldn’t squander her victory, writes Judy Dempsey.

Judy Dempsey is a nonresident senior associate at Carnegie Europe and editor in chief of Strategic Europe.

More Of The Same From Germany Or New Directions For Europe After Merkel Triumph?

Denis McShane

Ten questions…

1)  Angela Merkel is as utterly triumphant as any European political leader has been in recent years. Unlike Tony Blair in 2005 or Margaret Thatcher in 1987 when both leaders won a third victory but on a smaller vote her third election victory has seen her win an extra 3.5 million votes.  Even so the CDU/CSU total share of the vote is lower than the combined Union vote won between 1949 and 1994. And as with Thatcher in 1987 or Blair in 2005 it is a third time win for Mrs Merkel but will it be the last time?  Voters love her don’t rock the boat, continuity, no change style. Like the do-not-much British Conservative prime minister, Arthur Balfour, a century ago Mrs Merkel believes that ‘Nothing matters very much and most things don’t matter at all.’ Like early 20th century England, early 21st century Germany is rich, ordered, well-run, socially one of the fairest EU member states, confident in its democracy, freedoms and rule of law and not a little self-satisfied. Why buy new shoes when the ones you have are comfortable, water-proof and look OK?

CU  and EU – what’s in a letter?Moscow’s recent overtures to Ukraine and Armenia concerning membership of  the Russia-led Customs Union have been heavy on threats and hard-ball politics, and rather short on attempts at actually explaining the benefits of joining the Union instead of pursuing European Union integration. Which offer is best, asks Luke Rodehaffer


German Election Outcome for Energy: Bring on More Coal?

Frau Merkel won big in Germany’s federal eelctions on Sunday, but not big enough; and that has negative implications for German energy policy, among other things.

Merkel’s third time around as German Chancellor will require a grand coalition that produces the typical lowest common denominator style decision-making that such coalitions bring. That doesn’t bode well for decisively addressing Germany’s outstanding energy issues, namely, runaway electricity costs and the future of shale gas development.

German Elections: The European Reaction

Mixed Reaction in the Med

Spanish daily El Mundo runs with the headline “Merkel, Merkel über alles”, while an article in the paper argues that a Grand Coalition (composed of Merkel’s CDU/CSU and the centre-left SPD) “would lead, to a certain extent, to a relaxation of the austerity Merkel imposes on Europe.”

Merkel’s slow and steady wins, for now

The Germans who went to the polls Sunday were, by and large, a contented lot. Two-thirds of them felt that their prosperous country was “well” prepared for the future, according to a leading exit poll. Four out of five believe — accurately, according to all the economic statistics — that they are better off than their neighbors in Western Europe.

Swiss canton votes to ban burka

In a referendum on Sunday, 65.4 per cent of voters in Switzerland’s Italian-speaking canton of Ticino vote to ban the wearing of full-face veils

German elections launch Martin Schulz towards Commission President

The German elections have propelled the firebrand social democrat Martin Schulz, the present European Parliament President, into pole position to be the Party of European Socialists candidate to succeed to José Manuel Barroso as Commission President, EurActiv has learned.

A possible ‘Grand Coalition’ agreement between the German social-democrats and the centre right CDU/CSU would include the nomination of Schulz for German Commissioner, a leading social democrat (SPD) German MEP told EurActiv.

“If we get a grand coalition, the SPD will want to have the next Commissioner for Germany. That could be Martin Schulz if our political family finds a majority to select him as candidate for European Commission president,” MEP Jo Leinen told EurActiv in a phone interview last night.


Merkel is now Europe’s leader

There have been a lot of comments in recent years complaining about the lack of a powerful leader in European politics

Swedish police confirm illegal Roma database

Swedish police have confirmed that they have kept an illegal registry of more than 4,000 Roma people living in Sweden.

The newspaper Dagens Nyheter, which broke the news, says Swedish police hold 4,029 names of Roma people living across the country.

Stakes high for farmers as EU risks CAP delay

Farmers could miss out on huge EU payments if ministers and parliamentarians fail to complete the last set of negotiations for Europe’s new agriculture policy today (24 September).

Ministers and a delegation from the European Parliament will attempt to smooth out legal issues during the last round of negotiations over the EU’s reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

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Eurosphere roundup: “France says it was no victim of Prism…”How to write about the Balkans

In Uncategorized on September 5, 2013 at 00:14

France says it was no victim of Prism

The French Ministry for Foreign Affairs has told EurActiv that its diplomatic network system is protected and secure, and could not have been a target for the NSA. Human rights organisations have however filed complaints against Apple, Google and Facebook.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied allegations by the German magazine Der Spiegel that France was a target of the NSA’s Prism program in 2010.

Barnier backs more ambitious pensions reform in France, green tax

In an interview with, the EU’s internal market commissioner expresses his desire for an even more ambitious pension reform than the one presented by Paris last week and for an “energy-climate” charge that does not raise citizens’ tax burden.

Michel Barnier encouraged the French opposition to show support for the Socialist government’s pension reform proposal, if it were to become law after the parliamentary debates this autumn.

The EU wades into the murky world of shadow banking

The European Commission this morning unveiled its initial proposals to regulate ‘shadow banking’ and money market funds (MMFs) – the press release is here and the FAQs arehere and here.

Spain strikes back at austerity doubters

Spain’s nascent recovery shows eurozone’s austerity measures have worked, economy minister says, offering riposte to voter backlash

UK Home Office launches a truly shameful immigration campaign

Illegal immigration is a contentious issue. But it’s only made more so by this nasty little campaign on display in immigration reporting centres in Glasgow and Hounslow, west London.


How to write about the Balkans

A handy guide for journalists on how to write about this mysterious and brooding region

Europe pushes own digital ‘cloud’ in wake of US spying scandal

The European Commission will redouble efforts to promote EU-based cloud services this autumn – including the urgent drafting of a new charter – amid mounting evidence that the US Prism spying scandal may damage the global market share of US-based tech companies involved in the cloud computing sector.

In June and July 2013, the Cloud Security Alliance, an industry group, surveyed members and other cloud computing stakeholders about their reactions to the US Prism spying scandal.

‘The twain shall and do meet’: narrating conversion to Islam in Britain

Being British and being a Muslim have previously been seen as two identities in opposition. Does the conversion of British people to Islam create a perspective that embodies not one or the other, but both?

EU enlargement: economic consequences for Ukraine from the experience of the new members

EU enlargement since 2004 has proved not to be as successful as it seemed in those years. Quantity not always turns into quality. We cannot say that the idea of EU enlargement was a mistake but many good intentions still remain on the paper. As a result, we have the EU split into two camps – “the old” and the “newcomers”. And also we should remind about “eternally waiting” Turkey and Ukraine that also declares its intention to become an EU member in the future.

What are Ukrainian opposition representatives to tell Europe?

Brussels is continuing consultations with Ukrainian politicians in the view a possible signing of the Ukrainian association with the European Union (Association agreement) at the summit in Vilnius.

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Eurosphere roundup: Shameful Miranda Investigation… Germany elections… Ukraine and Europe…

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2013 at 09:43

Czech communists to return in office for first time since 1989

The Czech parliament voted yesterday (20 August) to dissolve itself, triggering an early election that could hand the Communist Party a share of power for the first time since a bloodless revolution ended the party’s totalitarian rule two decades ago.

Opinion polls show that the centre-left Social Democrats will be the biggest party, but they will need support from other groups to govern. Party leader Bohuslav Sobotka said he would talk to the Communists about forming a partnership.


Spanish Government’s Complaint Box Causes Boomerang Effect

The Spanish Minister of Employment and Social Security, Fátima Bañez, has launched a “complaint box” to combat workplace fraud. The government is encouraging citizens to anonymously report cases of fraud committed by companies and individual workers for further investigation by the Office of Labor Inspection.

Swedish women protest attack with headscarves

Sweden women from different faiths, including politicians and TV hosts, have started posting photos of themselves in headscarves in solidarity with a woman attacked for wearing a veil

Greece’s third bailout rocks German election campaign

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said on Tuesday (20 August) for the first time that Greece will need another bailout, triggering a storm of protest from opposition parties five weeks before an election in Europe’s biggest economy.

While analysts have long predicted Greece will require more aid, albeit on a smaller scale than previous bailouts totalling about €240 billion, Chancellor Angela Merkel has tried to keep Greece out of her campaign for re-election to avoid angering German voters who fear they will foot the bill.

Germany as “euro conductor” of investments in Ukraine

Economic interests have joined Ukraine and Germany long ago. Although on the results of 2012 the volume of foreign investments in Ukraine from German investors decreased from $ 7.3 billion to $ 6.3 billion, Germany remains the second country in the rating of foreign investors in Ukraine. Its share accounts almost 15% of all foreign investments of the EU to Ukraine.

The attractiveness of integration to the EU for Ukraine

In the context of Ukraine’s prospects of European integration there can be different attitudes to today’s economic problems in the EU. Recent statistic data isn’t too encouraging and it becomes a news topic for supporters of Ukraine’s joining to other integration structures. In fact European economy is in a recession and according to the prognoses of the European Commission Eurozone will be able to return to the trajectory of growth only next year. With this the situation on the labor market continues to deteriorate. The experts of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development expect that the rise of unemployment rates will be at 12% and over.


U.K. Ordered Guardian to Destroy Snowden Files Because Its Servers Weren’t Secure

After NSA insider Edward Snowden absconded with thousands of sensitive U.S. government documents from unsecured NSA servers earlier this year and gave them to the Guardian newspaper, a U.K spy agency forced the paper to destroy hard drives containing copies of the documents because the agency said the newspaper’s servers were not secure.

UK requests destruction of sensitive Snowden files, EU silent

The European Commission has declined to comment on whether pressure exerted by UK authorities on the Guardian newspaper to destroy sensitive documents leaked by whistleblower Edward Snowden constituted an attack on media freedom.

A spokesperson for Viviane Reding, the European Commission Vice President responsible for Justice and Fundamental Rights, avoided questions on the issue at the EU executive‘s daily press briefing on Tuesday (20 August).

Miranda interrogation, Guardian raid: Britain now the Iran of Europe

Glenn Greenwald with David Miranda at Rio Airport, Brazil

Britain may now be categorised as a pariah state. Over the last 24 hours it was revealed that the offices of one of the world’s most respected newspapers, The Guardian, was raided by members of the British Security Service, who demanded the editor destroy hard drives containing alleged files and documents pertaining to information sources by whistleblower Edward Snowden. On Sunday the partner of Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who coordinated the Snowden stories, was seized by British Intelligence when in transit at Heathrow Airport, held for 9 hours, threatened with imprisonment and had all his electronic devices taken for examination.

David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face – Alan Rusbridger – 8/19/13 2:30 PM – In a private viewing cinema in Soho last week I caught myself letting fly with a four-letter expletive at Bill Keller, the former executive editor of the New York Times. It was a confusing moment. The man who was pretending to be me


European jihadists: The continuation of a historical trend

Reports have circulated for months about the growing number of foreigners fighting alongside Islamists in places such as Libya and Syria. European authorities will intensify counterterrorism efforts, but preventing all attacks will not be easy, writes Stratfor.

Stratfor is a Texas-based global intelligence company.

“In April of this year, EU Counterterrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove estimated that some 500 European citizens were fighting in Syria, most of them from the United Kingdom, France and Ireland. A survey by the International Center for the Study of Radicalization at King’s College London found that up to 600 Europeans from 14 countries, including Austria, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Germany, have participated in the Syrian conflict since it began in early 2011, representing roughly 7 to 11% of the total number of foreign fighters in Syria. The study showed that the largest contingent of foreign militants – somewhere between 28 and 134 – came from the United Kingdom. (The number of foreign fighters could be higher considering that many likely cycled through the fighting arena and returned home in a very short time.)

The rise of women in Italian politics

From Laura Boldrini and Cecile Kyenge to Emma Bonino, Italian politics has recently been revitalised by a new generation of active female politicians. Can they be a force for good in Italian politics?

In Ukraine, it grows on trees …Ever since becoming Ukraine’s president in 2010, Viktor Yanukovych has been preparing for his next election in 2015 – and this time he intends to win without the support of the oligarchs. But he needs cash, lots of it, and this, as Sergii Leshchenko reports, is where “self-made” Serhiy Kurchenko comes in.

The myth of Weimar Europe

Since the start of the Great Recession, it has become received wisdom that the far right is on the rise across Europe. But not often is the ‘economic-crisis-breeds-extremism’ thesis confronted with actual facts.

Greece bursts into German election

Germany’s finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble says further funds will be needed to help country ‘get over the hill’ of debt financing it still faces

Olli Rehn throws hat into ring for Commission President’s job

Olli Rehn, the European Commission’s vice president in charge of economic and monetary affairs, has reportedly told the Finnish press that he may run to head the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group’s list in European elections next year, so becoming their candidate to be the next president of the EU executive.

According to the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Rehn may run for “the number one spot” as ALDE leader in the next European Parliamentary elections, scheduled for 22-25 May 2014.


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In the mean time, EU tries to figure out how to react to Egyptian crisis… A Eurosphere roundup…

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2013 at 14:41

MAIN FOCUS: EU plans crisis meeting on Egypt | 20/08/2013

In reaction to the violence in Egypt the EU’s foreign ministers plan to discuss sanctions on Wednesday. Meanwhile Washington is sticking to its policy of supplying the country with military aid. The US, like Israel, is more interested in stability than democracy in Egypt, some commentators say, warning that new elections could plunge the country into real chaos.

 Swedes don headscarves after assault

Swedish women post photos of themselves in traditional Muslim headscarves in a show of solidarity with a woman attacked apparently for wearing a veil.

EU ministers to meet on response to Egypt coup

European Union foreign ministers will hold an emergency meeting this week to forge a joint response to the recent violence in Egypt

 Norway’s audit of developing world debt could inspire EU


A new audit of the debt pile owed by developing countries to Norway, published last week, was the first of its kind anywhere in the world and should inspire other European countries to do the same, campaigners said.

The audit, carried out for Oslo’s Foreign Affairs Ministry by the Deloitte consultancy, found that Oslo violated UN principles on responsible lending in four of its 34 loan contracts with Egypt, Indonesia, Burma, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.

Ukraine: the EU’s soft power vs. Russia’s brutal pressure

After failure its  diplomatic efforts to stop an EU-Ukraine Association agreement signatureRussia began trade war against Ukraine. The game in diplomacy is over – Kremlin starts to use more traditional instruments.

Brussels to enter Gibraltar dispute

British officials gather evidence from the border with Spain in preparation for a possible legal challenge in the European courts, says Downing Street

Slovakia ‘anti-Roma’ wall riles EU

Officials in the Slovak city of Kosice pledge to remove a wall separating Roma (Gypsy) families from majority Slovaks, after a complaint from the EU.

What the Egyptian crisis tells us about the (in)effectiveness of EU aid

As the crisis in Egypt continues to intensify by the day, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Commission President José Manuel Barroso warned in a joint statement yesterday that the EU would “urgently review in the coming days its relations with Egypt” – including the new aid package worth around €5 billion that was pledged to Cairo last year.

Labour migration from Ukraine to the EU: the problem or opportunity

European officials are considering the possible uncontrolled migration to be one of the most serious challenges on the way to visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union states. Including the ones, that originate from the territory of our country. Europeans fear a rampant labor migration to the EU countries of Ukrainians themselves as well as that Ukraine will be used by third-country nationals to penetrate to the EU. But the analysis of the current situation shows that this problem is more contrived than real. Ukraine is not only a part to the readmission agreement with the EU and with Russia, but also continuing to strengthen its external borders, in order to prevent the transit of illegal immigrants to European Union or their settling in our territory.

Slovakia told to tear down Roma segregation wall


European Commissioner for Education and Culture Androulla Vassiliou has sharply criticised the authorities in the Slovak city of Košice for constructing a wall to segregate the city’s Roma community.

In a letter to the city’s Mayor, Richard Raši, the commissioner says she was disappointed to read reports about the wall in Košice Zapad, the western suburb of Košice.

EU to send fact-finding mission to Gibraltar


The European Commission is to send a fact-finding mission to Gibraltar to examine the legitimacy of border controls imposed by Spain in a growing dispute over the British Mediterranean enclave.

The dispute broke out after Gibraltar’s construction of an artificial reef using concrete blocks in the bay off the tiny territory. Gibraltarian authorities say the move was necessary to help marine life recover from overfishing.

Tensions between EU and UK Law are having an effect on the free movement of EU citizens

Problems of EU citizenship in the UK Throughout the EU, implementing free movement law still poses significant challenges for Member States and exercising EU free movement rights is rarely as straightforward as one might wish for EU citizens and their families. These challenges are not only the obvious practical ones about the application of law

MAIN FOCUS: EU seeks common stance on Egypt | 19/08/2013

Senior European diplomats are convening today, Monday, in Brussels to discuss Europe’s reaction to the escalating violence in Egypt. Several member states have already frozen their financial aid to the country. But because Egypt’s most important sponsors are based on the Arabian Peninsula, this won’t do any good, some commentators argue. Others fear that the 28 members won’t be able to agree on a common stance.

What happens after the demise of ‘the Holy Trinity’ of Britain?

The BBC, the NHS and the monarchy all stand as the foundations of modern Britishness. As the former two lag behind, it has now given the monarchy an opportunity for greater power and influence. In view of Scotland’s impending referendum, what kind of Britain will this create?

Al-Qaeda ‘targeting European rail network’: report

Al-Qaeda is plotting attacks on Europe’s high-speed rail network, German newspaper Bild reported

Egypt: coup, or a course correction

Fadi Elhusseini During the past few weeks, I have been dismayed at the degree of intolerance and rigidity in the positions of quarreling parties in Egypt, with both taking defensive attitudes, unwilling to listen to the other. Hearts stiffened and minds were sealed giving cause for further deterioration. In our article today, we discuss the Egyptian case, review ideas and analyze facts objectively, with the aim of creating sound plans and choices.
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Eurosphere roundup: New Greece agreement… Bulgaria’s belated struggle for democracy…Erasmus student programme sets record

In Uncategorized on July 9, 2013 at 15:34

EU takes Russia to WTO for first time

EU officials say a levy to cover recycling costs is a protectionist ploy in environmental disguise because it only applies to imported vehicles


MAIN FOCUS: Help for Greece in dribs and drabs | 09/07/2013

After the conclusion of the troika’s review the finance ministers of the EU on Monday agreed to grant new loans to Greece. Athens is to receive 6.8 billion euros in instalments by October, however the payments are conditional on the country making progress with its reforms. The never-ending ritual of troika negotiations thus continues, commentators write mockingly, and see the danger of the euro crisis flaring up again.


Athens strikes another bargain in Brussels, but how long will this one last?

As we noted last week on CNBC, a deal was always likely this time round in Greece:

“We’ve got German elections coming up in September and no one wants to have that talk of how we’re going to fund Greece for the next three or four years. So they just want to kick the can down the road until after the elections…They will come to some agreement but it’s clear that Greece is well behind track on its programme once again and it’s only a matter of time before a new funding gap opens there.”


An end to austerity will not boost Europe

Policies to let budget deficits rise are dangerous and countries should instead combine longer-term debt reduction with short-term fiscal stimulus

Eurozone contagion: Greece lightening

There is no doubt that contagion has lessened markedly, but German elections will hold the key to any near-term developments

Documents ‘implicate Spanish PM’

A Spanish newspaper publishes what it alleges are documents showing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and other top politicians received illicit payments.

Healthcare in Britain – first they came for the immigrants

NHS and public sector trade unionists speak out in defence of universal health care.

We completely oppose the proposals from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to charge non-EU migrants for using the NHS.


Is Germany paying for southern Europe?

Germany is not paying for southern Europe. On the contrary, it benefits from it.

The following line is heard far too often not only in Germany but also across northern Europe: “The Germans will eventually be fed up with constantly paying for things”


Greece reaches bailout tranche agreement

Negotiators for ‘troika’ of lenders say the staff-level deal includes agreement on the most vexing issue – the reduction of public sector staffing

Germany Leads Europe in China

There are sharp contradictions in the fundamentals of the EU in its relationship with China. As usual in the EU, Germany is at the heart of the question. The weight of Germany in the EU’s relationship with China far outweighs that of other member states. This has major implications for EU policy on China. Just as German economic domination of the EU, or at least Eurozone, economy gives it the strongest voice in dealing with the Europe’s internal crisis, so Germany will expect to be primus inter pares in dealing with China. German policy will based on completely different interests compared to other member states and the EU institutions.

The EU’s bank is less ambitious than the US in restricting energy from coal

It may have been easy in the past for Europeans to bash the US for being retrograde when it comes to climate policies, but after last week it will get more difficult to do that.

by Anna Roggenbuck, cross-posted from the Bankwatch blog

Just as the world is abuzz with Obama’s new climate pledges, below the radar, the European Union’s house bank published draft guidelines for its future energy lending which are actually less ambitious than the US’ when it comes to coal.

From eurocrisis to a global new deal

The author of a new book on the ongoing crisis in the eurozone discusses the survival of the euro, the default alternative, who might gain from a failed austerity, and the prospects for global Keynesianism. An interview.

What’s really driving the EU-US trade deal?

Despite some inaccuracies from the BBC, the trade deal will deliver minimal economic benefit at best. What we are actually seeing is the framework for increased privatisation, investor protection, and a potential new era of finance in which tolls replace lending as the key profit stream.

Democracy protection in the EU revisited

Jan-Werner Müller deals with critical issues raised by his proposals for a Copenhagen Commission: an independent institution specifically tasked with alerting Europe to threats to democracy, the liberal rule of law and individual rights such as those currently seen in Hungary.

Bulgaria’s belated struggle for democracy

Our protests cannot match theirs in scale. But we demand our share, however small it might be. It is ideas and determination that unite all these events.

The 20th day of protests against Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski, which started after Oresharski appointed a controversial businessman as head of a security agency. Demotix/Johann Brandstätter. All rights reserved.

I feel really exhilarated, yet sad to watch Bulgaria’s ongoing protests from a distance

Erasmus student programme sets record (News)

The EU’s top education official, Androulla Vassiliou, has called for a revamped Erasmus student exchange programme to place more emphasis on youth employability in the coming years, as the European Commission reveals a record 253,000 students took part in the programme last year.

Nearly 253,000 students received Erasmus scholarships during 2011-2012, a rise of 7.5% on the previous year, receiving an average of €252 per month of European funds.

This meant that since its inception in 1987 three million students have received a grant from the programme, which has increased in size every year except for one (1996-1997). Demand also exceeded the availability of grants in most countries in 2011-2012.

Education or Exploitation? Channel 4’s Ramadan Broadcast Stirs Up Debate in U.K.

Ramadan, the Islamic holy month marked by fasting from sunrise to sunset, begins Monday evening in many parts of the world (just when continues to be the subject of debate). And in a intentionally provocative move, the British broadcaster Channel 4 has announced that it will be airing the call to prayer, or adhan, live every morning throughout Ramadan (an autoplay version will also be available on its website five times daily). The first call to prayer will air at 3:00 a.m. on Tuesday and “rogrammes in the schedule will be cut to accommodate the adhan.”


Eurozone ministers agree to unlock bailout cash for Greece (News)

Greece secured a lifeline from the eurozone and the IMF on Monday (8 July) but was told it must keep its promises on cutting public sector jobs and selling state assets to get all the cash.

The €6.8 billion deal, which spares Greece defaulting on debt in August, will see Athens drip fed support under close watch from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund to ensure implementation of unpopular reforms.


Croatia Fact Sheet

Source: Eurofound From the Introduction: Croatia became the 28th Member State of the European Union on 1 July 2013. It emerged as an independent state in 1991 from the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and was severely affected by the wars that followed between 1991 and 1995. This upheaval impeded economic

European Drug Report 2013

Source: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction From Summary: The major features of the European drug landscape have remained relatively stable in recent years. Drug use remains high by historical standards, but positive changes can be seen, with record levels of treatment provision accompanied by some signs of erosion


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Eurosphere roundup: Charlie Hebdo on Prophet Muhammad’s life…

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2013 at 15:32

French magazine illustrates the Prophet Muhammad’s life

Charlie Hebdo publishes a “halal” comic biography of the Muslim Prophet.


How the dominance of English kills the European debate

from Ideas on Europe by Ronny Patz
Spanishwalker has already argued some months ago that one of the problems of the European blogosphere is the dominance of English. He sees the problem in English being the gatekeeper language between blogging and writing in most other European languages.


“We’re standing up for Britain” or “We’re all in this together” – ways to explain the EU budget

from Jon Worth by Jon


Monti says he won’t run for Italian premier

from Hurriyet Daily News
Italy’s caretaker Premier Mario Monti said Sunday he won’t run in February elections, but if political parties..

US firms fall out of love with France, survey says

by EU-Digest
The return to power of France’s Socialist Party in the spring of 2012 after a 17-year absence has not gone down well, it seems, with American businesses with operations in the country.

Eurosphere roundup: Charlie Hebdo on Prophet Muhammad’s life…

In Uncategorized on January 1, 2013 at 15:32

French magazine illustrates the Prophet Muhammad’s life

Charlie Hebdo publishes a “halal” comic biography of the Muslim Prophet.


How the dominance of English kills the European debate

from Ideas on Europe by Ronny Patz
Spanishwalker has already argued some months ago that one of the problems of the European blogosphere is the dominance of English. He sees the problem in English being the gatekeeper language between blogging and writing in most other European languages.


“We’re standing up for Britain” or “We’re all in this together” – ways to explain the EU budget

from Jon Worth by Jon


Monti says he won’t run for Italian premier

from Hurriyet Daily News
Italy’s caretaker Premier Mario Monti said Sunday he won’t run in February elections, but if political parties..

US firms fall out of love with France, survey says

by EU-Digest
The return to power of France’s Socialist Party in the spring of 2012 after a 17-year absence has not gone down well, it seems, with American businesses with operations in the country.