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Analysis and Comment (87)

A soldier stands guard in Sevastapol, now under Russian control since the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in developments that some fear mark the start of a second Cold War. EPA/Zurab Kurtsikidze

Are Europe and the world slipping back into a second Cold War?

Bloodshed in Europe and the Middle East against the backdrop of a breakdown in the dialogue between major powers is of enormous concern. The world is on the brink of a new Cold War, some are even saying…
While the world watched European science in action, the EC’s top scientist lost her job. EPA

Why Europe needs a chief scientific advisor

The past week saw two significant events in European science. You know about the first one: the triumphant Rosetta mission which landed a probe on a comet. But the other event was less publicised, and…
The sense of a distinct identity is what drives Catalans to continue pushing for independence despite the obstacles. Aleksandra Hadzelek

Democracy in action as Australia’s Catalans vote for independence

On the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, another milestone in European history took place: the Catalan vote on independence. Downgraded from an official referendum – which would be illegal…
The heart of the matter. The container port at Long Beach. sunslate

Europe faces weapons of legal destruction in USA trade talks

Efforts to build a more effective trading regime between Europe and the USA can reasonably be called positive, both for growth and the ease of doing business. Currently, however, negotiations include proposals…
Wrinkles in the EU plan to drive innovation? Giampaolo Squarcina

Europe’s bid for investment could be bad news for big oil

The European Union might just have made a historically important statement of intent, aimed at laying the foundations to boost investment in the EU as a driver of full recovery and long-term growth. That’s…
Bulgaria’s parties fought for East and West in this month’s election. EPA

Russia’s borders: old ties pull Bulgaria in two directions

As part of our series on Russia’s relations with its European neighbours, we put the spotlight on Bulgaria. The country’s old tensions over commitments to East or West have come to the fore over the Ukraine…
Angela Merkel has thus far closed her eyes to the need for more spending, at her country’s peril. Reuters

Germany may be the biggest loser if it doesn’t start spending

There’s growing pressure on Germany to spend more to support Europe – and for good reason. But it’s proving to be a hard sell to the country’s leaders. Germany’s budget is balanced and the government insists…
Originally, to be honourable meant very different things for men and for women. Simon

Honour and violence in Europe, through the ages

Ideas about personal honour are a major key to understanding violence. This is so today, when “honour” is often replaced by terms such as respect - with “dissing” as its opposite. It was even more true…
The EU 28 are being sent a message from above. EPA

Juncker Commission line up shows he’s a man with a plan

Jean-Claude Juncker, the newly elected president of the European Commission, announced his nominated team of commissioners this week. Each represents one of the 28 members states and will take charge of…
Counting your blessings. A worker at a chocolate factory in Germany. Jan Woitas/EPA

German labour markets put Europe’s workforce in the firing line

Germany’s strategy for export-led growth has set the Eurozone up for a fall. Plans to introduce minimum wages in 2015 might be too little too late for European countries locked in a futile game of beggar-thy-workforce…
Ready, but not necessarily equipped. Phillip Capper

Was Europe really ready for World War I?

How prepared were the Great Powers for war in 1914? Too often, this question has been answered by pointing to expectations of a short war, and to muddle and inefficiency in its opening stages. The realities…
‘Memorial diplomacy’, on display in June’s D-Day commemorations, is a mode of symbolic soft power politics which uses sites of memory and commemorative events to boost relations. AAP

The WWI centenary in France and the diplomacy of shared memory

When French president François Hollande rose to deliver the keynote address for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day Landings earlier this year, he set in motion an unprecedented five-year cycle of commemoration…
Germans today have little appetite for constructing new national myths about the Great War, or reclaiming old ones, because of painful associations with the more recent past. Robert Scarth/Flickr

Why the Great War centenary will be a non-issue in Germany

There is not much of a question of who controls the national myth of the Great War in Germany today. Nobody in particular seems to want to claim it. More interesting, however, is considering who has sought…
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. 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. 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…
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. 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. 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. 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…
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? 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. 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…
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…
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. 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…
“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? 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. 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…
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…
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? 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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…
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. 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…
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. 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…
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…
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. 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. 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. 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. 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…
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…
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. 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…
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. 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. 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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