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Category Archives: European Union
A truck filled with the decomposing bodies of migrants was found in Austria as European leaders were meeting nearby to devise ways to cope with the migration crisis.
Fortress Britain is no answer to the political and economic challenge of Syrian refugees, let alone a moral one
The refugee crisis, the tip of an almost unprecedented human migration from south to north, faces the EU with a moral challenge that it is proving ill-equipped to meet. The Europe of values, reflected in the obligation for countries applying for EU membership not just to meet economic tests but to have democratic institutions and a proven respect for human rights, is under strain. Economic recession, the threat of terrorism and the rise of the extreme right are all weakening its institutional underpinnings: high ideals are always at risk from low politics. But this is no abstract question. It is an all-too-real disaster for hundreds of thousands of Syrians and others who are fleeing war and persecution and have endured perilous journeys to reach the southern fringes of Europe. It could also be dangerous for the EU itself.
Germany, partly for reasons to do with its history and its growing demand for labour, is emerging as the champion of the moral case. On Sunday, in a significant demonstration of its commitment to Europe’s fundamental values, the government unilaterally suspended the Dublin protocol, which obliges refugees to seek asylum in the first safe country they reach, for all Syrians. On the same day, the foreign and economic ministers co-wrote a 10-point plan for a Europe-wide migration, refugee and asylum policy founded on the principle of solidarity and “our shared values of humanity”. On Monday, Angela Merkel and François Hollande reiterated support for a Europe-wide solution – adapting Germany’s own internal system of distributing refugees fairly throughout the country – that was comprehensively rejected in June. Meanwhile, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European commission, made his own call to arms, condemning in the name of Europe’s shared values those he accused of trying to cordon themselves off from “distress, fear and misery”, and the populist politicians who stirred up xenophobia in the name of winning votes.
Party formed after split from Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza, unlikely to succeed
An explicitly anti-euro, pro-drachma party has assumed the process of attempting to form a government in Greece, four days after prime minister Alexis Tsipras resigned to pave the way for snap elections.
Panagiotis Lafazanis, the Marxist former energy minister who on Friday formed his own movement of rebels after breaking ranks with Tsipras’s far-left Syriza party, was given a mandate to try to forge a new administration by president Prokopis Pavlopoulos.
The Islamic Republic is wary of foreign investors but will need them to ensure economic growth as sanctions are lifted
When I travelled to Tehran last summer to speak at an energy conference, I was inundated with a range of technical questions I couldn’t answer. Young men and women asked for drafts of my presentation, and later emailed me with queries, so revealing how educated and skilled is Iran’s rising generation.
The debate at the conference over Iran’s best model for economic growth – and whether it should expand ties with both Russia and the United States – illustrated a broad consensus in Iran on the importance of independent development and of attracting the kind of investment that will support this. The Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s slogan of “neither east, nor west” summed up this aspiration.
Political mood becomes even more poisonous as former PM Antonis Samaras accuses Alexis Tsipras of acting like ‘drunk captain of a rudderless ship’
Confusion over the timing of fresh elections in Greece has threatened to jeopardise the prospects for a smooth transition to a new government and the ability of the debt-stricken country to meet the conditions of its €86bn bailout.
The election campaign intensified over the weekend with officials preparing candidate lists and the appointment of a caretaker administration after the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras refused to participate in talks with other party leaders to form a new government.
Migrants head towards EU border in southern Hungary after being penned for days in Macedonia Thousands of migrants are heading north through the Balkans towards the European Union border in southern Hungary after Macedonian forces gave up on efforts to…
Two consecutive nights of violence force police to seal off shelter near Dresden as Germany prepares for biggest wave of asylum seekers since second world warNeo-Nazi protesters gathered to demonstrate against the arrival of migrants at a newly opened …
As Greece’s finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis won fans with his leather jacket, abrasive wit and swashbuckling battles with the EU. Six weeks on from resigning, and with a snap election just announced, what now for the bad boy of anti-capitalism?
The island of Aegina is just 17 miles from Athens, a mere 40 minutes’ dash on a hydrofoil. Owing to its proximity to the Greek capital, it’s less a tourist island than a second-home sanctuary for wealthy Athenians, but it boasts several impressive classical sites and a distinguished history. Not only was it briefly the capital of a newly liberated Greece in the 19th century but back in the 7th century BC it was the first Greek state to mint its own coins.
Given Greece’s current predicament, trapped in the euro and an ever-expanding debt crisis, that last fact is a monetary irony not lost on one particular wealthy Athenian on Aegina. Sitting on top of a hill a few minutes’ drive from the port is the holiday home of Yanis Varoufakis. He is the former finance minister of Greece, although that’s hardly a description that befits the man’s legend. Gikas Hardouvelis is also a former finance minister of Greece, but no one has heard of him.
We could treat asylum and labour mobility as questions of justice or opportunity, as some European states did in the postwar era
Amid all the panic over the EU’s mounting “migrant crisis”, let’s remember that we have been here before: in fact, a near-perpetual emergency has gathered force ever since the EU started closing its common external borders in the 1990s. Since that time, migration has come to be colonised by interior ministries and security forces as their field of action – with predictable results.
Patrol boats, military planes and drones now track people’s movements at sea; coastguards in biohazard suits lead them ashore; then internment awaits in vast camps guarded by men with guns. Overland migration has come to be framed as an emergency in need of a security response; witness this summer’s launch of an EU military mission targeting smugglers’ boats or the razor wire, tear-gas rounds and patrols keeping people back from Calais to the Balkan borderlands.
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Leftwingers see Tsipras as a sell-out, but many Greeks will feel sympathy for their broken prime minister
The Alexis Tsipras who appeared on Greek television to resign yesterday night was very different from the one who raised his fist to ecstatic crowds in Athens seven months ago; who marched in a jaunty open-necked shirt to claim his mandate from the president; and who stood alone with his hand on his heart before the memorial to left resistance fighters shot by the Nazis. He was different too from the sober man who spoke honestly last month about the bailout deal he had brought back from Brussels, the deal he didn’t believe in but felt he had to accept rather than cut his bankrupt country off from external support.
This week’s Tsipras looked exhausted, drawn, white under the pancake makeup; he sounded uncertain, and stumbled once or twice over his words. His speech was wooden, an election broadcast, trying to put the deal in the best possible light, pleading for people’s support because “the best is yet to come”.