Europe

Theresa May calls off MPs’ vote on her Brexit deal

Prime Minister Theresa May has called off Tuesday’s crucial vote on her Brexit deal so she can go back to Brussels and ask for changes to it. BBC As it stands the deal “would be rejected by a significant margin” if MPs voted on it, she admitted. But she said she was confident of getting “reassurances” from the EU on the Northern Ireland border plan. But European Council President Donald Tusk said the remaining 27 EU countries would not “renegotiate” ... Read More »

Brexit: UK can unilaterally revoke article 50, says ECJ

Britain can stop Brexit process without approval of member states, court of justice says Soverin Carrell The Guardian The UK can unilaterally stop the Brexit process, the European court of justice has said in a ruling that will boost demands for a second EU referendum. The court concluded that any EU member state can revoke an article 50 process without needing approval from every other member state, but only before its withdrawal comes into force. “The United Kingdom is free to revoke ... Read More »

Group led by Thomas Piketty presents plan for ‘a fairer Europe’

Manifesto by progressive Europeans calls for €800bn of levies to tackle inequality, disillusionment, climate change and migration. Jennifer Rankin The Guardian A group of progressive Europeans led by the economist and author Thomas Piketty has drawn up a bold new blueprint for a fairer Europe to address the division, disenchantment, inequality and rightwing populism sweeping the continent. The plan, crafted by more than 50 economists, historians and former politicians from half a dozen countries, includes huge levies on multinationals, millionaires and carbon ... Read More »

Blowing up the Parthenon: the power of a symbol

The Parthenon is one of the most famous and recognisable buildings in the world. Bronwen Neil The Conversation Designed as a testimony to Athenian greatness, visible miles from the Acropolis (the citadel) on which it stands, the Parthenon still stands proudly among the remains of a massive complex of buildings that celebrated Athens’s deities. It is a witness to the lasting legacy of the ancient Greeks and their architectural ingenuity. But it is also a very good reminder of the ... Read More »

Adapt or become obsolete, lead candidate Timmermans tells European Socialists

Dutchman becomes center-left nominee for Commission presidency. By MAÏA DE LA BAUME Politico LISBON — European Socialists will need to adapt if they don’t want to “become obsolete,” European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans told a party congress in Lisbon on… Timmermans’ nomination as the European Socialists’ Spitzenkandidat was a formality after fellow Commission Vice President Maroš Šefčovič, the only other contender, pulled out of the race last… The nomination makes the Dutch former foreign minister the Socialists’ official candidate to be the… Adapt or ... Read More »

Rights that protect against socioeconomic disadvantage are long overdue – the UK is already paying the price

In 2018, two anniversaries and a crucial decision loom large in the UK. We saw in the 70th anniversary of the NHS in July, while December 10 marks the 70th birthday of the adoption of the… Authors: The Conversation On December 11, the UK parliament will also vote on the prime minister’s EU withdrawal deal. The coming together of health, human rights and Brexit, raises questions of huge practical and… The recent UK visit of Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur ... Read More »

Economic hardship and nationalism are gutting climate action

What a difference three years makes. In December 2015, world leaders gathered in a historic display of species consciousness to sign the Paris climate accord to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Nathan Gardels The Washington Post Today, in December 2018, Paris is experiencing a winter of discontent, with a virtual uprising against a tax increase on fuel aimed at fulfilling France’s 2015 obligations. In a dramatic illustration of the battle between the present and the future, the mantra of ... Read More »

Armenia’s Revolution: A Flickering Light in a Darkening Europe

This is the first insurrection in a post-Soviet state that legitimately boiled up from the streets, free of influence from outside forces. Marc Cooper The Nation Next Sunday, on December 9, Armenians are expected to further consolidate their unique and vastly underreported “Velvet Revolution.” On that day, acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s “My Step” alliance is expected to win a large governing majority in the… Though this has been barely reported, if it all, in most of the Western media, ... Read More »

‘Dark day’: migrant rescue ship Aquarius ends operations

Médecins Sans Frontières says ‘smear campaign’ by European governments hampered work in Mediterranean Reuters The Guardian Search and rescue ship Aquarius, which has saved tens of thousands of migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean, has ended its operations, said Médecins Sans Frontières, the charity that runs the ship. MSF and its partner SOS Mediterranee said they were forced to terminate its operations due to a “smear campaign” by European governments. The ship has been blocked at the French port of ... Read More »

Syria: is Europe’s influence in the region finished?

The Assad regime has inched closer to winning the Syrian conflict during 2018. Richard Youngs The Conversation With Russian and Iranian support, the regime has reestablished strong and authoritarian rule, at least outside the deescalation zones where its remit is still curtailed. With a new UN envoy to Syria now taking office and the EU confirming it will host another donor conference for the country early in 2019 – designed to mobilise humanitarian aid and other assistance from the international ... Read More »

New scholarship honours Aboriginal Elder who led protest against Nazis

A lucrative new scholarship will honour the life and activism of Yorta Yorta leader William Cooper. NITV SBS A university in Victoria has announced a new scholarship that celebrates the activism of Aboriginal and Jewish communities by honouring the life of Yorta Yorta leader William Cooper. On 6 December 1938, Mr Cooper, aged 77, led a march from his home in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs to the steps of the city’s German consulate. It was a protest against Kristallnacht, the ... Read More »

U.S. Military Tests Russia at Sea Days After Warning From China

The U.S. military has sent a message to Russia by sailing through a disputed waterway near Japan. Tom O’Connor Newsweek The move came only a week after China mobilized its own vessels in response to a perceived transgression by the Navy. Navy Lieutenant Rachel McMarr, a spokesperson for the Pacific Fleet, told CNN Wednesday that Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS… The Navy considered the move one of its “freedom of navigation” operations, which are outlined in the 1982 United Nations Convention on ... Read More »

What moves markets more, Twitter or traditional news?

Can a single tweet make a country’s currency depreciate by 16%? Apparently it did on August 10, when Donald Trump tweeted that US tariffs on Turkish steel and aluminium would rise sharply. Authors: The Conversation Amid 36,100 retweets, and calls by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for his people to dump foreign assets, the Turkish lira plunged. It’s not just the president of the United States that has such Twitter power. Around the same time, Elon Musk’s infamous tweet about ... Read More »

The rise and fall of Macron’s European revolution

Recent events have shown not much is left of French president’s vision. By MATTHEW KARNITSCHNIG Politico BERLIN — When Emmanuel Macron was elected French president by a landslide in May 2017, many in Europe sensed a new dawn. After years of crisis, Europe now had a leader who would deliver it from the malaise and turmoil. The youthful Frenchman had a fiery rallying call (En Marche!) and the vision to rebuild the European house, renewing the battered Continent’s spirit of fraternité. ... Read More »

Solzhenitsyn as he saw himself

Stephen Kotkin on the turbulent life, exile and writing of the Russian author. TLS Listen to the best journalism: Download the Audm app for your iPhone. One hundred years ago this month, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born in Kislovodsk (“acidic waters”), a curative town in the North Caucasian foothills of Russia, which was then wracked by civil war. Earlier that year, 300 miles north at Novocherkassk, the capital of the Don Cossacks, former tsarist officers had proclaimed the formation of a… The ... Read More »

Vox shakes up Spain

Far-right party does better than predicted in Andalusia’s election, and is already causing big problems for the government. Diego Torres Politico MADRID — The far right has arrived in Spanish politics. Vox, a party founded in 2013 that had suffered one electoral failure after another, pulled off a coup on Sunday when it won nearly 11 percent of the vote and 12 seats in a regional election in Andalusia. It was a better performance than any poll had predicted and it ... Read More »