• Europe is everybody's business

      Europe is everybody's business

      Celebrating 60 years since the creation of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), we are forced to reflect on what we, European civil society have jointly achieved. But we must also reflect on what challenges lie ahead and what role we can play in shaping the Europe of tomorrow! There are indeed many challenges on the European horizon - between the negotiations on the new EU Multi-annual financing framework, the elections to the European Parliament, the final phase of the Brexit negotiations and a new European Commission - there will be a lot of turbulence over the next two years. 

    • Chemnitz as symptom

      Chemnitz as symptom

      Groups of young people march in the streets and chant “We are the people!” Other groups of young people go out into the neighbouring streets chanting “No to xenophobia.” In recent weeks, this has become a weekly event in the East German town of Chemnitz, whereas lately it has happened in neighbouring Koethen as well. In both cases the reason for turmoil was the death of a German after a conflict with migrants from the Middle East.

    • Let it be summer

      Let it be summer

      Great Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May put on her dancing shoes to bob up and down in a Cape Town school. Even her most vocal critics could hardly put her in a more awkward spot. She indeed became a laughing stock to the world. However, what May said for the record was even funnier: “Today I set out a new bold ambition. Before 2022, I would like to make Britain the leading foreign investor in Africa among the G7 states.” It seems that alongside the Brexit drama, Mrs May has overlooked the fact that Africa already has a leading investor, and it is not the UK but quite another former empire - China.

    • The ice is breaking

      The ice is breaking

      The ice is breaking, ladies and gentlemen of the jury! This is the favourite exclamation of fictional character Ostap Bender for situations where something interesting and thrilling is about to happen. And it indeed inevitably happens, courtesy of the unforgettable twists and turns in the novel The Twelve Chairs and its sequel The Little Golden Calf, written by the well-known Russian comedy masters Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov.

    • Is Germany breaking bad

      Is Germany breaking bad

      In the popular television series Breaking Bad, Walter White, a chemistry teacher recently diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, fears that his family will be unable to afford his treatment or to provide for themselves after he is gone. In despair, he starts to produce and sell drugs – beginning his descent into a spiral of crime ostensibly intended to sustain his business and protect those he loves. His noble cause eventually morphs into a criminal rampage that does more harm to his family than poverty and cancer ever could.

    • Why energy transition is excellent opportunity

      Why energy transition is excellent opportunity

      The energy transition offers huge potential for cities and regions to pursue new, innovative and effective policies at regional level and is a terrific opportunity to put the EU on the right track to achieving faster sustainable economic and social development. European organised civil society can play a significant role in transforming the way people think to help them embrace change.

    • The UK leaves the EU but not Europe

      The UK leaves the EU but not Europe

      It has been 10 years on [since Bulgaria’s accession to the EU] and Bulgaria has had the Presidency of the Council of the EU to recognise that. That is a great achievement and congratulations to the government and the people of Bulgaria. When we look back 10 years ago, some people had doubts about the accession of Bulgaria and I had my doubts, too. But some of the problems then still exist.

    • EU to Balkans: Playing hardball or playing with fire?

      EU to Balkans: Playing hardball or playing with fire?

      Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia had their work cut out by the General Affairs Council (CAG) to be able to formally open accession negotiations with the EU at the earliest in June, next year. This conditional offer reflects the rigour that presently defines the enlargement process, which seeks to prevent the Balkan countries from prematurely entering the EU.

    • Law and order

      Law and order

      Law and Order is a top-charter US TV series. At first sight it may seem paradoxical but it is exactly the issue of law and order, i.e. security, that could have nearly toppled German Chancellor Angela Merkel and along with that destroyed the European Union altogether. The invitation Merkel sent to refugees and migrants in 2015 was not only ill-judged or an act of folly. More than that – it amounted to something much worse: it is a mockery of justice and order which is “sanctum sanctorum” for the Germans.

    • At 6 months, Austria's coalition support remains stable

      At 6 months, Austria's coalition support remains stable

      Six months ago, on 18 December, the new Austrian government was sworn in. Its composition guaranteed international media attention: First, the 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, leader of the conservative People’s Party (OVP), became chancellor. Second, the radical right Freedom Party of Austria (FPO) returned to power. Its long-term leader Heinz-Christian Strache became Austria’s vice-chancellor. Last year, not only the FPO, but also the OVP put restrictive positions on immigration and integration at the centre of its electoral campaign. The parties of the left proved unable to respond effectively – the Social Democrats (SPO) lost the chancellorship, while the Greens were voted out of parliament completely. The OVP and FPO agreed on a coalition agreement that focuses on liberal economic policies and measures to reduce immigration.