Europe

Brexit in the Context of British History

How should Brexit be seen against the broad backdrop of British history? Patrick Cockburn CounterPunch Analogies multiply, with the crudest coming from prominent Brexiteer MP Mark Francois who denounced the head of Airbus for writing a letter stressing the negative economic impact for Britain of leaving the EU. Francois claimed that this was yet one more example of teutonic arrogance, adding pugnaciously, “My father, Reginald Francois, was a D-Day veteran. He never submitted to bullying by any German. Neither will his son.” With this, he ... Read More »

INF nuclear treaty: Russia plans new missile systems after pullout

Russia says it is planning to develop new missile systems after both Russia and the US suspended their involvement in an arms control pact. BBC The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) banned the pair from using short- and medium-range missiles. The US has long accused Russia of violating the pact, and last week US President Donald Trump announced he would exit it. Russia followed suit. The moves have raised concerns about a new arms race. The INF was signed during ... Read More »

France declares day marking ‘Armenian genocide’

France has declared a national day of commemoration to remember the 1915 Armenian genocide. The announcement is set to provoke an angry response from Turkey. DW French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday declared April 24 to be a national day to commemorate the 1915 Armenian genocide. Macron made the statement at an annual dinner of the Coordination Council of Armenian Organizations in France, fulfilling a 2017 campaign promise. France was among the first countries to denounce “the murderous hunt of ... Read More »

Anxiety on rise among the young in social media age

YouGov survey shows 18% of young people in UK do not think life is worth living Robert Booth The Guardian The number of young people in the UK who say they do not believe that life is worth living has doubled in the last decade, amid a sense of overwhelming pressure from social media which is driving feelings of inadequacy, new research suggests. In 2009, only 9% of 16-25-year-olds disagreed with the statement that “life is really worth living”, but ... Read More »

How EU Leaders Can Prevent a No-Deal Brexit

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s strategy of threatening a no-deal Brexit requires a hard deadline that forces her opponents to capitulate. Anatole Kaletsky Project Syndicate Without that, “running down the clock” becomes “kicking the can down the road,” which more accurately reflects May’s paradoxical combination of robotic inflexibility and exasperating indecisiveness. LONDON – Has British Prime Minister Theresa May outmaneuvered all her opponents? By defeating Parliament’s effort to rule out a disorderly “no-deal” rupture between the European Union and its ... Read More »

Europeans fear Trump may threaten not just the transatlantic bond, but the state of their union

BERLIN — As President Trump prepares to deliver his second State of the Union address, the leaders of the United States’ closest allies in Europe are filled with anxiety. Dan Balz and Griff Witte The Washington Post They are unsure of whom to talk to in Washington. They can’t tell whether Trump considers them friends or foes. They dig through his Twitter feed for indications of whether the president intends to wreck the European Union and NATO or merely hobble the ... Read More »

Dutch former anti-Muslim politician converts to Islam

Joram van Klaveren is the second ex-PVV politician to convert. A former member of Geert Wilders’ far-right Dutch party announced Monday that he has converted to Islam. Eline Schaart Politico Joram Van Klaveren said he made the switch from critic to convert while writing a book about Islam. “During that writing I came across more and more things that made my view on Islam falter,” he… Van Klaveren was a member of parliament for the Freedom Party (PVV) from 2010 to ... Read More »

Is authoritarianism bad for the economy? Ask Venezuela – or Hungary or Turkey

Democracy is at risk worldwide. And the economy may be, too. Seventy-one out of the world’s 195 countries saw their democratic institutions erode in recent years, according to the 2018 year-end report by democracy watchdog Freedom House, a phenomenon known as “democratic backsliding.” Authors: The Conversation Signs of backsliding include elected leaders who expand their executive powers while weakening the legislature and judiciary, elections that have become less competitive and shrinking press freedom. When government institutions erode like this, it ... Read More »

How countries use ‘migration diplomacy’ to pursue their own interests

The story of Rahaf Mohammed, the Saudi teenager granted asylum by Canada on January 11 after barricading herself in a Bangkok hotel room, sparked headlines around the world. Authors: The Conversation The decision to grant asylum to Mohammed, the daughter of a Saudi town governor, was the latest episode in an ongoing spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia. Commenting on the decision, the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, said: Canada is a country that understands how important it is to ... Read More »

George III Lost America. Theresa May Could Lose the United Kingdom Over Brexit.

Brexit has shown the world a British parliament and a political class that resembles a ship of fools without a captain. Clive Irving The Daily Beast Britain is locked in the most serious peacetime crisis in its modern history, the increasingly desperate attempt to secure the nation’s orderly departure from the European Union. Brexit has shown the world a British parliament and a political class that resembles a ship of fools without a captain. One veteran of Margaret Thatcher’s cabinet ... Read More »

‘This is about saving capitalism’: the Dutch historian who savaged Davos elite

Rutger Bregman never intended to take billionaires to task over tax at World Economic Forum Larry Elliott The Guardian Rutger Bregman had not really intended to stick it to the global elite. He never meant to have a pop at the idea that inequality could be solved by philanthropy or inviting Bono to Davos. But when the Dutch historian decided to go off-piste at the World Economic Forum and tell the assembled billionaires they should stop avoiding paying tax, he became an ... Read More »

Surge in rough sleepers prompts call for more action to tackle crisis

Call for action also prompted by record number of families living in overcrowded homes across England Patrick Butler and Robert Booth The Guardian Campaigners have called for renewed action to tackle Britain’s housing crisis after official figures indicated a surge in rough sleeping in England’s cities, coupled with record number of families living in overcrowded homes. Charities said welfare cuts, soaring rents and shortages of affordable homes were behind steep rises in street sleeping in London, Birmingham, and Manchester. There were 1,283 ... Read More »

Reuniting the Parthenon marbles is nothing to do with nationalism

Alexi Kaye Campbell responds to Jonathan Jones’s article on the British Museum director’s claim that the marbles’ removal from Greece in the 19th century could be seen as ‘a creative act’. The Guardian Plus letters from Pierre Makhlouf and John AK Huntley As a member of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles who recently argued (and happily won) against Jonathan Jones at the UCL debate which he mentions in his recent article (Let’s not lose our marbles over the British ... Read More »

INSTEX: Europe sets up transactions channel with Iran

Germany, France and the UK have set up a payment channel with Iran called INSTEX, to help continue trade and circumvent US sanctions. DW Washington has cautioned EU nations against such actions. Several European countries have set up a new transaction channel that will allow companies to continue trading with Irandespite US sanctions. The announcement was made on Thursday. The channel, set up by Germany, France and the UK, is called  INSTEX — short for “Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges.” “We’re making ... Read More »

Brexit: Capital takes flight from UK amid crisis – leader comment

EU will not compromise its fundamental values so British MPs need to stop opposing everything and make a choice between May’s deal and a second referendum. The Scotsman An answer to the Irish border question posed by Brexit could risk the Good Friday Agreement and the integrity of the European Union’s single market. So when MPs decided to send Theresa May back to Brussels to renegotiate not the answer itself, but the ‘backstop’ arrangement in the event that one cannot ... Read More »

Europe PANIC: The EU is getting ‘more FRAGILE DAILY’ amidst single market BREAKDOWN

THE European Union is getting more fragile every day and they will consequently stop at nothing to preserve their weakening single market, according to former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis. Freddie Jordan Express The politician spent an enormous amount of time negotiating with the EU during his time in the Greek government. But the bloc’s fragility might also encourage a no-deal Brexit, Mr Varoufakis explained. He told BBC Newsnight on Wednesday evening: “The EU feels more fragile daily and they would much rather ... Read More »