Region Archives: EU

Finland and the Dying Left of Europe

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The Finnish election results available here are the final nail in the Greek coffin and are a lesson for the so-called anti-austerity parties throughout Europe. The core of the next Government will likely come from the rural and small town Centre Party and the less pleasant Finns’ Party, formerly True Finns. The Prime Minister elect more…

“…there is no debate because there can be no debate”

Charlie Hebdo

This from Belfast emigre Robert McLiam Wilson, via Henry McDonald: “I am feeling a touch of shame today. Cancelling such an event in the face of putative menace in a city that endured a 30-year torture of self-immolation seems worse than pusillanimous. Belfast? Seriously? This is not the city I remember. This cancellation says, with more…

Iceland: “but people ask why can’t I pay my mortgage? Why is my salary not going up?”

Whilst everyone else is focused on the tribulations of Greece, I would heartily recommend that if you don’t read anything else today, read this Reykjavik Letter (€) from Peter Geoghegan in today’s Irish Times: visions of Iceland as a Nordic Nirvana – burnt bondholders, jailed bankers, a crowd-sourced constitution – often clash with reality here. The Icelandic more…

So, what place a possible Brexit in Northern Ireland’s elections?

UK Book Launch

There was a time when Europe had a popular political champion in Northern Ireland. John Hume made a successful pitch for one of Northern Ireland’s three European seats in the first directly elected European Parliament, based as much on his personal commitment to developing NI PLC as to any sectarian pitch to nationalist voters. Since then more…

Sinn Fein pull another ‘reverse ferret’ on welfare reform (oh yeah, and Syriza)…

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So what have Gerry Adams and the megalomaniacal (and, let it be said, commercially successful) demagogically simplifying former editor of The Sun Kelvin McKenzie got in common? They are/were both aficionados of the Reverse Ferret. Wikipedia describes it thusly: …used predominantly within the British media to describe a sudden reversal in an organisation’s editorial line more…

Ukraine Crisis: the folly of false historical analogies

The ceasefire in Ukraine seems to be sort of holding. No one, however, seems terribly optimistic that peace is going to come. Certainly there is no sign of the displaced refugees returning home. The conflict has repeatedly been portrayed as a binary good vs. bad situation analogous to the most simplistic of cowboy films by more…

“it looks like they were repeatedly blocked from accessing vital pieces of evidence or pursuing certain suspects…”

The Guardian and Observer’s Berlin correspondent, Kate Connolly, reports on the campaign for justice by the family of Heidi Hazell, the 26-year-old German wife of a British army sergeant, murdered by the Provisional IRA outside her married quarters in Unna-Massen, a Dortmund suburb, on 7 September 1989.  From the Guardian report The following day the IRA claimed more…

In the teeth of an election is Germany finally relenting on domestic austerity?

So, having finally balanced its own budget in 2014, Schaeuble finally seems ready to start re-investing in Germany’s ‘crumbling’ infrastructure: German federal government said on Tuesday that it would spend an additional 5 billion euros (about 5.59 billion U.S. dollars) in the next three years to help local communities improve infrastructure and boost investment. The more…

Jean-Claude Juncker: “[Tsipras] must explain that some of the promises upon which he was elected will not be honoured…”

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As Mick has noted, at the weekend the under-pressure new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras took undiplomatic aim at the governments of Spain and Portugal [But not Ireland! – Ed] in an attempt to explain the outcome of European negotiations to his Syriza party coalition. The European Commission has been quick to step in to act as a “mediator” more…

“…the platform on which Syriza won the recent general election has been significantly reconstructed.”

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What now for “the Syriza experiment“?  The Irish Times reports that the Eurogroup of finance ministers have deemed the Greek government’s list of proposed reforms to be “sufficiently comprehensive” for a four-month extension of the Greek bailout programme which was due to expire on Saturday. In an official statement released after today’s conference call between more…

Is Eurozone membership slowly strangling the Greek economy?

In these digital days it is far easier to foment a revolution than it is to find the means to sustain one. That may or may not been the the Greek Syriza party has to learn in the coming weeks. Hanging hard against German based technocrats may yet pull off some important concessions, but without cash more…

“…complex issues cannot always be addressed via online petitions.”

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Sinn Féin, and others, agitating on behalf of “the Syriza experiment” following the recent elections in Greece, has more to do with positioning to blame the current Irish Government for the likely outcome [added link] than any professed desire for a resolution in Ireland’s favour. But there are a few things to note about the rise more…

Never use memory (or lack thereof) to justify cruelty: Holocaust Memorial Day 2015

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For the Holocaust Memorial Day 2015, the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, in cooperation with the Institute of Conflict Research, held a seminar event: “The Ethnics of Memory and Community Recovery”. The speakers were Daniel Greenberg and Lord Alderdice, chaired by the Attorney General for Northern Ireland, John Larkin. Lord Alderdice provided a distinction more…