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Analysis and Comment (65)

Power broker. Vladimir Putin. Power broker. Vladimir Putin. Fernando Bizerra Jr/EPA

MH17 was a victim of the new cold war’s first proxy conflict

It remains to be seen precisely how and why the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crashed over the territory of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. But whatever…
A tourist train from Sheringham to Holt steams past an offshore wind farm, one of many that have sprung up along the UK coast. A tourist train from Sheringham to Holt steams past an offshore wind farm, one of many that have sprung up along the UK coast. Gerry Balding/Flickr

UK shows how Australia can cut emissions without a carbon tax

Australia’s carbon price has gone – but a UK review released this week shows that to lay the foundations for a low-carbon economy, pricing carbon is far from the whole story. Over recent months, as Australia’s…
Italian striker Mario Balotelli is a pioneer in a society that still struggles to accept its multiethnic composition. Italian striker Mario Balotelli is a pioneer in a society that still struggles to accept its multiethnic composition. EPA/Kai Foersterling

Super Mario: can Balotelli defy racism to be Italy’s World Cup hero?

Mario Balotelli is already an international football star and has the potential to become one of Italy’s greatest ever strikers. But is Italy ready to accept a black player as its next football hero? Balotelli…
Installations of the main natural gas pipeline in the Boyarka village near Kiev. Installations of the main natural gas pipeline in the Boyarka village near Kiev. Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

Russia’s game of chicken with Ukraine leaves Europe on the edge

As with the previous Russia-Ukraine gas disputes in 2006 and 2009, how we describe the current stand-off between the two countries is a matter of semantics. Those earlier disputes found solutions based…
Why so negative? Mario Draghi at the ECB. Why so negative? Mario Draghi at the ECB. Arne Dedert/EPA

ECB’s negative rates experiment will buy time, but brings danger

When the European Central Bank unveiled a handful of unconventional monetary policies recently, one above all grabbed the attention. The inception of targeted long-term refinancing operations, preparatory…
A new benchmark to measure the economic response to climate change. A new benchmark to measure the economic response to climate change. Mario Sánchez Prada

Bringing the long game into climate change economics

The UK government’s senior adviser on science has made an entirely sensible call for researchers and policy makers to move the climate change debate towards workable strategies and solutions. The trouble…
In Warsaw, a newly unveiled memorial puts freedom of speech at the heart of Poland’s liberation from communism. In Warsaw, a newly unveiled memorial puts freedom of speech at the heart of Poland’s liberation from communism. Aleksandra Hadzelek

Liberation of Poland and Eastern Europe all started with a word

“It all started with a word,” said Polish president Bronislaw Komorowski at the opening of a memorial to freedom of speech, “and the word was ‘freedom’“. The event completed three days of commemorations…
Catastrophic floods in Bosnia could have the unexpected political benefit of bringing people together across ethnic lines. Catastrophic floods in Bosnia could have the unexpected political benefit of bringing people together across ethnic lines. Flickr/Ian Bancroft

Could devastating floods help Bosnians heal their war wounds?

The heaviest rainfalls ever recorded in the Balkans have led to catastrophic flooding in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Swelled by weeks of rain, the devastating floodwaters swamped more than 60% of the country…
Reflecting rising resentment of European austerity policies, people from Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece protested in 2011 at the European Central Bank. Reflecting rising resentment of European austerity policies, people from Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece protested in 2011 at the European Central Bank. EPA/Frank Rumpenhorst

End of the dream: how Europe lost its way between Rome and Kiev

European integration has been an enormous success since its inception in the Treaty of Rome in 1957. For the next five decades European Union (EU) member states enjoyed unprecedented peace and prosperity…
One of the attempts made by the parliament to engage young voters. Oddly, it doesn’t appear to have been a roaring success. One of the attempts made by the parliament to engage young voters. Oddly, it doesn’t appear to have been a roaring success. European Parliament

This election was to be different, but once again democracy in Europe is the big loser

“This time it’s different,” promised the European Parliament in an awareness campaign ahead of the May 2014 elections. And, judging by the headlines, it certainly has been different. Many in the media…
Heidegger’s Nazi ties and anti-Semitism are indisputable. Can the man be separated from his philosophy? Heidegger’s Nazi ties and anti-Semitism are indisputable. Can the man be separated from his philosophy?

Heidegger’s notebooks reveal an early blindness to the Nazis' reality

Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) is easily the most controversial philosopher in the 20th century. To a large extent this is due to his implication in Nazism, which is a scandal to some, a fascinating spectacle…
Austerity programs were put in place after European governments bailed out their banks. But are they fair on the everyday citizen? Austerity programs were put in place after European governments bailed out their banks. But are they fair on the everyday citizen? Ben Andreas Harding

Do we have austerity obligations?

Governments are reining in spending on welfare, education and health care right across the western world. With the Commission of Audit recommending austerity measures that seemingly point to a tough federal…
Perhaps the Quad can do a better job. Perhaps the Quad can do a better job. streetwrk.com

How the EU could help save Ukraine at the eleventh hour

Ukraine is disintegrating before our eyes, with escalating anarchy, civil war and proxy war with Russia, and dozens killed in Odessa on Friday. Acting President Alexander Turchinov officially declared…
Serbia’s new government will look to advance the country’s cause for EU membership. Serbia’s new government will look to advance the country’s cause for EU membership. Jonathan Watts/Flickr

Serbian election: after a landslide victory, is EU accession next?

After capturing 48% of the vote and 158 of the 250 seats in parliament at elections in March, the centre-right Serbian Progressive Party – led by first deputy prime minister Aleksandar Vučić – can form…
Historical records will be vital in deciding who has a Sephardic Jewish heritage and is therefore potentially eligible for Spanish citizenship. Historical records will be vital in deciding who has a Sephardic Jewish heritage and is therefore potentially eligible for Spanish citizenship. Flickr/michalska1

Spain moves to right a 522-year wrong, but still overlooks some

The Spanish government has approved a draft law that grants citizenship to Jews whose ancestors were expelled over 500 years ago. This follows the approval of a similar law in Portugal last year. In 1492…
Youth Club? Youth Club? EPA/Andy Rain

Handle with care: Europe’s fragile jobs growth

Unemployment in the euro area finally seems to be showing signs of a timid recovery, according to the winter forecasts from the EU, but that doesn’t mean that we can rest on our laurels. A bumpy ride lies…
No brainer. Funding for the Human Brain Project is secure until 2016. No brainer. Funding for the Human Brain Project is secure until 2016. Ars Electronica

What Swiss migrant referendum means for future of EU research

In a referendum on 9 February, the Swiss population voted against mass immigration. That outcome will have far-reaching consequences on the position of Switzerland in European research cooperation. As…
Police escort gay activists and supporters carrying a placard reading ‘I am voting against’ in a march in Zagreb on the eve of the referendum initiated to stop same-sex marriage. Police escort gay activists and supporters carrying a placard reading ‘I am voting against’ in a march in Zagreb on the eve of the referendum initiated to stop same-sex marriage. EPA/Antonio Bat

Creeping towards fascism? Croatia tests European ideals

Europe is filled with historical fault lines – the Greek-Anatolian, the Balkans, Iberian and central Europe. The European experiment, managed through the ever clunky apparatus of the European Union, has…
Sing it loud in Brussels, listen to it all over Europe. Sing it loud in Brussels, listen to it all over Europe. Lievan SOETE

Europe’s music fans sing in harmony, so why can’t industry?

Digital technology has transformed the music industry in Europe, making both distribution and piracy easier than ever. But regulators are yet to catch up with the pace of change, leaving them unable to…
“The euro has backfired: it is holding back growth and job creation; and it is dividing Europe.” “The euro has backfired: it is holding back growth and job creation; and it is dividing Europe.” Stefan Rousseau/PA

Nobel laureate: tough choices for a troubled euro

One of the most exciting things about working at the LSE is that we get to hear some of the world’s top thinkers and policymakers. One occasion that I recall vividly is the visit of two great Europeans…
If not you, then who? If not you, then who? mac_ivan

Dreams of a new Europe dashed in Ukraine

Mass protests in Ukraine have come one week shy of the 22nd anniversary of the USSR being signed into obsolescence. Ukrainians are protesting against a decision made by their government that will make…
Silvio Berlusconi’s grip on power in Italy - albeit a hold that is slipping - has relied heavily on using his own media empire to exploit the political system. Silvio Berlusconi’s grip on power in Italy - albeit a hold that is slipping - has relied heavily on using his own media empire to exploit the political system. EPA/Angela Carconi

Media, power and decadence: some disquieting trends

While Australians face the possibility of the first-ever Senate by-election, as well as stormy sittings of a new parliament wrangling over the pro and cons of scrapping a carbon tax, 16,000 kilometres…
Two thirds of children with cancer are in clinical trials. Two thirds of children with cancer are in clinical trials. Matter

New law will help drive more clinical trials for child cancers

Clinical trials provide the unbiased evidence essential for improving treatments in all areas of medicine. For children with cancer the development of safe treatments that work has relied on high quality…
In a show of solidarity, Catalans formed a 400km human chain to call for independence. How realistic are their chances of success? In a show of solidarity, Catalans formed a 400km human chain to call for independence. How realistic are their chances of success? EPA/Toni Albir

Catalans link up for independence … but will it happen?

An extraordinary event took place in Catalonia yesterday. Some 1.6 million people formed a human chain that covered the full stretch of the Catalan territory from north to south (400km), in a symbolic…
Kevin Rudd with a chart showing our net debt per capita. Kevin Rudd with a chart showing our net debt per capita.

FactCheck: is our debt and deficit going the way of the disasters in Europe?

“Mr Rudd can stand up and show us his chart and demonstrate that by comparison with some other countries, Australia’s debt and deficit position is not so bad. But it’s not what we’ve done, it’s where we’ve…
Storm’s-a-coming… Storm’s-a-coming… TEKN Photography/Flickr

The future will bring hurricanes to Europe

Damaging hurricanes are familiar along the US east coast, with the recent hurricane Sandy a dramatic example. In Europe we are unused to such dramatic weather and the widespread destruction that hurricanes…
Glasses, check. Passport, check. Cheque for £200? Glasses, check. Passport, check. Cheque for £200? Flickr/Justin Vidamo

NHS levy for health tourists - a good deal for migrants

Another argument has broken out between the government and doctors over a proposal to charge immigrants to use the NHS. The government claims a levy will make the NHS more fair and sustainable and stop…
Greek protestors take to streets after the ERT shutdown. Greek protestors take to streets after the ERT shutdown. Yanis Varoufakis

The view from the studio, as Greece’s state TV was shut

For those of us who grew up in the Greece of the neo-fascist colonels, nothing can stir up painful memories like a modern act of totalitarianism. When the television screen froze last night, an hour before…
1066 and all that: Britain’s early relationship with her European neighbours has long been fraught with difficulty. 1066 and all that: Britain’s early relationship with her European neighbours has long been fraught with difficulty. The Bayeux Tapestry

The princess and the pea (or why Britain and Europe make awkward bedfellows)

Foundation essay: This essay on Britain’s relationship with Europe by Ivor Gaber, professor of political journalism at City University, London and the University of Bedfordshire, is part of a series of…
There are three routes open to the Prime Minister. There are three routes open to the Prime Minister. Niccola Caranti

Explainer: renegotiating the UK’s position in the EU

With more than a hundred MPs voting to amend the Queen’s Speech this week, the UK’s role in Europe continues to confound politicians and citizens alike. Among all the chatter, it’s hard to get a sense…
On the noes: more than 100 Tory MPs voted for an amendment to the Queen’s Speech last night in a huge rebuff to the PM on Europe. On the noes: more than 100 Tory MPs voted for an amendment to the Queen’s Speech last night in a huge rebuff to the PM on Europe. PA Wire

Cameron in crisis as Tories' glass jaw exposed again by huge Commons rebellion

When more than 100 Conservative MPs vote for an amendment to their own government’s Queen’s Speech, it is more than a rebellion - it is historically unprecedented. And despite David Cameron’s insistence…
Google might soon seal a deal with the European Commission regarding alleged abuses. Google might soon seal a deal with the European Commission regarding alleged abuses. Jessica M. Cross

Google proposes to the European Commission, but hold the confetti

It’s taken nearly three years, but the European Commission and Google last week reached some form of agreement regarding alleged abuses of the search engine’s dominant position in the European Union. Google’s…
The plans of far-right Greek political party Golden Dawn to visit Australia have caused much consternation in the local Greek diaspora communities. The plans of far-right Greek political party Golden Dawn to visit Australia have caused much consternation in the local Greek diaspora communities. EPA/STR

Golden Dawn: Greek fascists come Down Under

Melbourne has long been known as one of the biggest cities for Greek diaspora in the world, and the “world’s most liveable city” is fast becoming the latest battleground for the swelling fascist movement…
Every Parent’s Nightmare tells the true story of Australian Jock Palfreeman, caught in Bulgaria’s corrupt legal system. Every Parent’s Nightmare tells the true story of Australian Jock Palfreeman, caught in Bulgaria’s corrupt legal system. ABC TV/AAP

The case of Jock Palfreeman and the human rights of Australians overseas

Australians running into trouble with the law overseas is a common topic in the news. The coverage is usually fleeting, ending with the announcement of a conviction or, less often, an acquittal. Belinda…
Wilders has a charming brand of right wing intolerance. Wilders has a charming brand of right wing intolerance. David Crosling/AAP

Who’s afraid of Geert Wilders? Populism and the politics of hate

Dutch populist politician Geert Wilders sure knows how to attract controversy. He also really, really hates Islam. Here in Australia on a speaking tour organised by the anti-Islamic Q Society, Wilders…
The EU faces more than just a debt crisis. The EU faces more than just a debt crisis. AAP/Patrick Seeger

In or out? Contemplating a British exit from the European Union

You can’t join a football club and then ask to play rugby. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius summed up negative reaction to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech about the EU on “the Continent…
Catalans marching in favour of independence. Catalans marching in favour of independence. Flickr/Rob Shenk

Catalonia: one step closer to independence?

On 25 November Catalans will go to the polls in what will be their 11th regional elections since Spain’s return to democracy after Franco’s death in 1975. This time, however, Catalans will be voting much…
Mitt Romney outside 10 Downing Street during his gaffe-plagued trip to Europe earlier this year. Mitt Romney outside 10 Downing Street during his gaffe-plagued trip to Europe earlier this year. EPA/Neil Munns

A Romney presidency: the implications for Europe

There is less than a week to go in the US presidential race, and the candidates are coming agonisingly close in various battleground states. Imagining Mitt Romney in the White House might turn a few Democrat…
Has the EU earned its Noble Prize for Peace? Has the EU earned its Noble Prize for Peace? Oliver Berg / AAP

Keeping the peace: Nobel win a legacy boost for European Union

I was minding my own business on the London Underground last Friday when I glanced at one of those free newspapers that litter the trains. That’s how I discovered that the EU had won the Nobel Prize for…
Catalans march though the streets of Barcelona demanding independence. Catalans march though the streets of Barcelona demanding independence. Maria Poblet

Catalonia: independent but united with Europe?

In the biggest rally for Catalan independence ever, an estimated crowd of 1.5 million people flooded the city of Barcelona with red-and-yellow striped flags on Catalonia’s national day, the Diada. Tax…
Over summer, the US has been dry and hot. It’s not alone. Over summer, the US has been dry and hot. It’s not alone. EPA/Larry W Smith

Northern hemisphere has another hot, hot summer

The 2012 northern hemisphere summer, like its two predecessors, has seen a wide range of climate extremes, many involving heat. In most recent summers there has been at least one part of the world with…
Generation Nothing: Spanish protestors against austerity in Cadiz. Generation Nothing: Spanish protestors against austerity in Cadiz. Aleksandra Hadzelek

Spain: dispatches from the frontline of the indignados movement

This week marked the first anniversary of the 15-M movement, a precursor of Occupy movements worldwide. 15-M again mobilised its supporters for a 4-day long program of street protests culminating in a…
German chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s new President Francois Hollande meet to discuss Europe’s economic woes. German chancellor Angela Merkel and France’s new President Francois Hollande meet to discuss Europe’s economic woes. EPA/Rainer Jensen

Hollande and Merkel: breaking up is hard to do

Europe is in economic dire straits and the two most powerful economies on the continent are, at least on paper, led by individuals with considerable differences. The previous French President Nicolas Sarkozy…
Francois Hollande will struggle to consolidate his left-wing base and tackle Europe’s economic woes. Francois Hollande will struggle to consolidate his left-wing base and tackle Europe’s economic woes. AAP/Ian Langsdon

France 2012: Sarkozy may be doomed, but Hollande faces an unenviable challenge

France went to sleep last weekend knowing that almost a fifth of those who felt compelled to vote in the first round of the presidential election chose a party formed on an openly neo-fascist platform…
Nicolas Sarkozy will seek another term as President of France this Sunday. Nicolas Sarkozy will seek another term as President of France this Sunday. EPA/Christophe Karaba

France 2012: Sarkozy’s ugly campaign

The first round of the French Presidential election is set to take place this Sunday. The latest polls show that right-wing president Nicolas Sarkozy and his centre-left contender François Hollande are…
Demonstrators in front of Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency offices in Paris 15 January 2012. Demonstrators in front of Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency offices in Paris 15 January 2012. AAP

Why we should be wary of ratings agencies

For decades, credit ratings agencies were largely ignored by the masses, but in recent months they have continued to hit the headlines again and again. The big three (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and…
Crowds in Prague mourn the passing of former President and national hero Vaclav Havel. Crowds in Prague mourn the passing of former President and national hero Vaclav Havel. AAP/Singer

Václav Havel: a biographer’s account

Václav Havel has died aged 75. A poet and playwright, a political writer, dissident and a politician, Havel was the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia, and the first President of the Czech Republic…
British Prime Minister David Cameron can’t escape domestic politics when it comes to Europe. British Prime Minister David Cameron can’t escape domestic politics when it comes to Europe. EPA/Olivier Hoslet

Euroscepticism at home ties Cameron’s hands in Europe

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s decision to veto the new European Union agreement for greater financial stability in the Eurozone reminds us that despite the talk of greater European integration…
Treasurer Wayne Swan is maintaining a slimmed down surplus for 2012-2013 - but storm clouds are rolling over the global economy. Treasurer Wayne Swan is maintaining a slimmed down surplus for 2012-2013 - but storm clouds are rolling over the global economy. AAP

Slimmed down surplus as Swan unveils mid-year budget: experts respond

The Federal Government is still aiming to deliver a slimmed down surplus next financial year, but has downgraded economic growth forecasts amid a slowing world economy and news that Europe may already…
Mussolini made the trains run on time. But having a strong leader is risky. Mussolini made the trains run on time. But having a strong leader is risky. Flickr/Galaxy FM

Forget politicians - be a dictator for a day and get the job done

“If I Ruled The World” was a tune made famous decades ago by English comedian and singer Harry Secombe who sang of making every day the first day of spring as well as other miraculous improvements. It…
Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy must take drastic steps to maintain the legitimacy of EU institutions. Angela Merkel and Nicolas Sarkozy must take drastic steps to maintain the legitimacy of EU institutions. AAP

It’s time for Europe to show some courage

The European Union is in crisis – yet again. If you enter “Europe in crisis” into Google, more than 655 million entries pop up. Europe’s current problems are being described as a Euro crisis – it is a…
The Greek Prime MInister is on the way out, but the new government has a lot of work still to do. The Greek Prime MInister is on the way out, but the new government has a lot of work still to do. AFP/Aris Messinis

New PM for Greece but will a new government save the country from the debt crisis?

The Greek Prime Minister will resign in an effort to save the bailout deal agreed by the European Union to dig the country out of its debt crisis. George Papandreou agreed to go following talks with the…
Martin McGuinness' candidacy for the Irish Presidency calls for voters to look to the country’s history. Martin McGuinness' candidacy for the Irish Presidency calls for voters to look to the country’s history. EPA/Paul McErlane

Ireland’s historic vote on the presidential ambitions of Martin McGuinness

The critical importance of the Irish presidency was underscored by current incumbent in an address to the Global Irish Economic Forum earlier this month. President Mary MacAleese welcomed 270 delegates…
French President Nicolas Sarkozy should be worried about the upcoming elections. French President Nicolas Sarkozy should be worried about the upcoming elections. EPA/Yoan Valat

France 2012: Sarkozy’s tough road ahead

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has a tight fight on his hands. He’ll be taking on the Socialist Party’s Francois Hollande in the elections next year. And he could struggle to get a second term. Four…
15-M started in Spain, but it has sparked protests around the globe. 15-M started in Spain, but it has sparked protests around the globe. EPA/Jesus Diges

15-M back on Spain’s streets as protest goes global

This weekend Spain will see the return of its “revolution”. Those involved in the 15-M movement will once again take to the streets en masse to demand urgent reforms. Under the motto “united for a global…
Greeks protest the austerity measures put in place during the ongoing debt crisis. Greeks protest the austerity measures put in place during the ongoing debt crisis. AAP

Hey buddy, can you spare a paradigm? European politics and bankruptcy

Europe is in crisis once again and this time it is deadly serious. At stake is not only the survival of the European currency, but also of the entire integration project. Collapse of the Euro could trigger…
The lawyer for the self-confessed Norway killer, Anders Breivik will enter a plea of insanity AFP photo/Facebook - Youtube. The lawyer for the self-confessed Norway killer, Anders Breivik will enter a plea of insanity AFP photo/Facebook - Youtube.

The lone mad man? Breivik’s lunacy label stops vital questions

Societies, if we are to take the Freudian line, prefer to subordinate chaotic urges in favour of dull order. Civilization implies stability. By the nineteenth century, human society was digesting a range…
Nicolas Sarkozy, Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel share a joke at Thursday’s Greece bailout talks. Nicolas Sarkozy, Christine Lagarde and Angela Merkel share a joke at Thursday’s Greece bailout talks. AAP

Greece is safe for now; but could Italy push Europe over the edge?

European leaders signed off on a second, 109 billion euro bailout for Greece overnight, while also establishing what has been described as an “infant monetary fund” to intervene if the bloc’s sovereign…
Many Greeks are ashamed by what has happened to their country. Many Greeks are ashamed by what has happened to their country. EPA/Orestis Panagiotou

Greece debt crisis threatens democracy

Athens is no longer considered by scholars as the birthplace of democracy but all of a sudden it has become the epicentre of a powerful political earthquake rocking the foundations of every democracy in…

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