• The European Nation

    30 September 2015, by Ludger Wortmann

    Europeans are bound together by geographical proximity, economic and political interdependence and common values. This requires common institutions. In order for them to be democratically legitimate, we have to form a community of equals - something like a nation. But we have to watch out carefully which type of nationalism we choose.

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  • The European Nation

    30 September 2015  15:50, by giuseppe marrosu

    I agree to most of the article. A language should be democratically chosen, however, to be intended as the official common language, not replacing the existing ones but rather acting as a vehicle of communication so that all europeans can understand each other. The traditional existing languages would be not only be allowed but people would be encouraged to actively preserve them and keep them alive, including those that are endangered now by a linguistic dominator (catalan vs. spanish for example). Unity in diversity.

    More stress should be put on democracy: we europeans need to get to participate actively in european politics. We need a European republic. Monarchies are problematic because they contradict the notion of all people being equal, because they tend to identify with the nation and because it is hard to imagine a king, Queen Elizabeth say, as a european citizen loyal to an elected european president.

    Canada or Australia (or Tunisia, Taiwan, S. Korea or the US) would be welcome in the EU as far as I am concerned if they ever wanted to join. Russia too if it became reliable, pacific and democratic.

  • France, Germany, Italy and Luxembourg want more EU

  • A spectre is haunting Europe – The spectre of Jeremy Corbyn

    25 September 2015  19:21, by Karl G.

    It’s interesting to see, how after so many years Lenin is still such an important issue. In Germany, where I live, there are always news about Lenin statues or busts and even art projects about him as iconographic icon: www.leninisstillaround.com

  • Jeremy Corbyn Vs Europe

    21 September 2015  23:07, by Richard

    The Labour Party doesn’t have 600,000 members, let alone that many new members.

    It has attracted a large number of “affiliated members” and “registered supporters”. These are persons who paid the nominal £3 fee in exchange for the right to vote in the leadership ballot.

  • Why is the Syrian Refugee Crisis Different ?

    14 September 2015  12:06, by Suzana Carp

    Good article on several points, especially as it emphasizes that many of the Syrian asylum seekers (!) are highly skilled/qualified/urbanized.There are 2 factors which haven’t been mentioned: 1. Angolan migrants to Portugal and Somalis in Sweden often integrate along church-based groups (there are studies on this); 2. Daesh/Isis in conjunction with populism have created a fear of Islam in Europe. This is also why the situation is different (also, the other migrations weren’t labeled as a ’crisis’ because the crisis now is on both ends (origin & receiving end).

  • The European Perspective: Europe and the influx of refugees

    4 September 2015  14:20, by Marcel Wollscheid

    Dear Iwantout, I try to answer some of your questions with insight from the situation in Germany:

    - Political asylum is anchored in the German constitution (Grundgesetz Art. 16): Therefore, there is no legal upper limit to the acceptance of refugees who are fleeing from political persecution. But of course, there are limits to the capacities of countries, which leads to the demand of a distribution of asylum seekers within the EU.

    - In Germany, there are different forms of rights of establishment for EU-citizens, Non-EU-citizens, asylum seekers in particular, which can include or exclude free movement and residence in the EU. The member states could work together to harmonize their legal setting to make the distribution work.

    - The decision about asylum in Germany is handled by officials of the BAMF (Department for Migration and Refugees) case by case in interviews with the asyulm seekers. It is a difficult, challenging task indeed, but we need to trust those officials to do their job.

    - Which is why there is a strong political movement in Germany to declare Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania as safe countries of origin. The federal government also recently published campaigns in the Balkan countries to emphasize that there is hardly any chance for asylum in Germany for citizens of these countries. Last month, the number of asylum seekers from the mentioned countries decreased by 30%.

  • The European Perspective: Europe and the influx of refugees

    4 September 2015 13:16, by Chris Powers

    Let people in first, ask questions later. These numbers are great, but how about the numbers of refugees actually being taken in by the EU compared to tiny Lebanon. We are a continent built on humanitarian and liberal principles, and no country more so than the UK. So I find it desperately sad that the UK is a.) The dark bastion of euroscepticism, and b.) The rhetorical sewage pipe of anti-migration rhetoric.

  • The European Perspective: Europe and the influx of refugees

    3 September 2015  22:23, by Iwantout

    Three questions and two facts.

    Ultimately how many refugees / migrants can be accepted by the EU or is there is no upper limit?

    How does a distribution system work when a person distributed to any country in the EU has the right as an EU citizen to immediately transfer themselves to any other country in the EU?

    Given that many refugees / migrants destroy their papers how is it determined which are genuine cases worthy of the support described and which should be quickly returned to their home countries as economic migrants?

    42% of asylum applicants registered in Germany until up to and including July 2015 came from Albania, Kosovo and Serbia.

    Eurostat figures for 2014, when the current wars were already in full swing, show that those fleeing Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Eritrea made up 38% of all asylum seekers. The remaining 62% came from countries such as Nigeria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, Algeria, Gambia, China etc.

  • How to Govern Disorder at Europe’s Borders

    24 August 2015  20:48, by Iwantout

    I wonder sometimes whether the realities of situations are actually considered by those with soaring visions of a federal Europe.

    “With its own army, Europe could react more credibly to the threat to peace in a member state or in a neighbouring states”. Six countries in the EU are formally neutral. Are we to suppose that any decision to use / threaten military force is to be on a QMV basis and the voices of those who have democratically decided not to belong to a military part are to be ignored? And in what circumstances would the EU see fit to deploy EU military resources to an EU member state?

    “The measures for the stabilization of the euro have proved unquestionably successful”. Perhaps the transformation of Greece into an EU protectorate and the undermining of the democratic process in the Netherlands and Finland to achieve the necessary votes for the third bail out are just characteristics of success in this context. By the way has anyone heard whether the IMF has agreed yet to participate in the bail out? Last I read they were refusing unless there is significant debt write off which of course was unacceptable to a number of EZ countries. Only a minor problem I am sure.

    Then the mention of “political unification”, anyone seen any evidence at all that a majority of people in any EU state is prepared to move in this direction? Certainly I see evidence of many states backing away from any mention of this. An enforced unification without a clear mandate is not likely to be stable or sustainable. I wonder at anyone who could suggest that the UK could be engaged in this, and as the second biggest economy in the Union its removal would fundamentally alter the balance of the Union itself.

    The question of refugees and migrants is clearly urgent and difficult. Without doubt genuine refugees should be helped. This would include equitable distribution between countries with safeguards to all member states of by removing the ability of refugees to move freely within the EU. (Failure to do so after all renders any distribution mechanism meaningless.)

    But economic migrants fleeing from poverty towards better opportunities, however understandably, are a different matter entirely. Given the growth of public hostility (not least in Sweden and Germany) it seems probably that the overwhelming majority of such individuals will have to be returned promptly to their originating countries if support for genuine refugees is to be maintained. It is a hard and unpleasant truth, but it is not a supportable proposition that everyone who wishes to enter the EU can be allowed to do so.

  • Europa and the bull: The significance of the myth in modern Europe

    21 August 2015  10:59, by Dustin

    Id say it has a connection with Lillith, Adams first wife before Eve. She would be more plausable here riding Satan.. As she was the one who flew out of the garden to be away from Adam.

  • Migration at the Channel Crossing

    2 August 2015  14:18, by Iwantout

    Let us assume that all the countries of the EU agreed a united policy of migrant “burden sharing”. Once the migrants have been allocated to ‘Country A’ what is to stop them deciding to use the freedom of travel to transfer immediately to any other country? Or is it being suggested that these migrants will be detained forever in the country the EU has assigned them to? Your solution is not any solution at all in a Union with freedom of travel.

    The situation of the migrants is of course wretched, but many (most?) seem to be economic migrants rather than genuine asylum seekers / refugees. At no point do you mention returning these individuals to their home countries promptly to address one aspect of the crisis and potentially reducing the pull effect we currently see.

    Nevertheless with the demographic issues facing much of the EU many migrants should still be welcomed and given the opportunity to settle. But the question really is how many new arrivals can be accommodated? Who decides that figure and what happens to the numbers who arrive in excess of that? Your item examines none of these critical points. Really what you seem to be advocating is the removal of all form of control which I suspect would be unacceptable to most people.

    Sorry to see you are having technical problems with your web site, hope you can fix them soon.

  • Europe at the point of no return

    19 July 2015  22:15, by Iwantout

    This article was clearly originally written before the result of the Greek referendum and the subsequent EZ treatment of Greece which has been widely recognised as vindictive and humiliating.

    Obviously the NO vote won despite the interventions of Chancellor Merkel and President Juncker which tells you something about how they might be perceived by the Greek public. There then followed what was described by one EU official as “mental waterboarding” of Tsipras to force him to acquiesce regardless of the voice of the public.

    The fact that Germany was actively suggesting ‘temporary’ exit of Greece from the EZ illustrates that despite claims to the contrary, the euro is not irreversible and is merely a fixed exchange rate system. A position reinforced by the many EZ comments that they had plans in place for a Greek exit from the euro.

    The IMF was engaged in the Greek crisis because the EU institutions and many major states wanted it. The overwhelming majority of Greek debt is to the ECB and EZ governments. It is the refusal of the EZ to tell its tax payers that tens (hundreds?) billions euros have been lost supporting Greece that is at the core of this problem. Austerity alone can never resolve the problem nor recover the money. Until this is addressed the Greek crisis has not been solved, just momentarily paused.

    The IMF, who are the global expert on national insolvency, has described the new ‘third bail out’ deal as unrealistic without “debt relief measures that go far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far.” Indeed they have indicated that without such debt relief they are not willing to be involved in this bail out. But Germany (and others) entirely reject such debt relief as distinct to possibly extending time scales yet still want IMF involvement.

    As a final aspect of the ongoing crisis, the decision of the EU to use the EFSM funds for the emergency bridging loan to Greece despite solemn promises to non EZ states in 2010 that this would never happen is destructive of the trust that is supposed to exist between members of the EU, even allowing for the security guarantees for non EZ states.

    As you say, The EU (which is entirely distinct from Europe) reached the point of no return and stepped beyond it. Certainly reviewing the media across the EU suggests deep unhappiness about the actions of the EU Institutions and certain states, together with shock that a member state could be treated the way Greece has. I think we can all agree that the EU abandoned the pretence of “principles of solidarity and humanity” on the 13/07/15.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    15 July 2015  18:35, by Giuseppe Marrosu

    There is a problem of democracy: Greece said “no” to the compromise that was offered; our representatives at government level in the other 18 Euro countries were not ready to give anything better than that. Today the greek parliament could contradict the referendum result by accepting what the people rejected. That could save Greece, but it would be a black day for democracy.

    There is also a problem of equality: for Greece, but also for the UK, it is about living by the rules that apply to everybody else. Some of my taxes go to the EU. I don’t see why someone with the same economic status as me should pay less, only because he lives in the UK, as long as the UK is a member of the EU.

    Look, I am for an inclusive EU. Every free territory that meets the requirements, wants to join and accepts the rules MUST join, even if it is a Muslim Country in Sub-Saharan Africa. But those who join must stick to the rules or leave, even if they’re the craddle of our civilization, or one of the top net contributors.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    8 July 2015 19:05, by Chris Powers

    Indeed you should make sacrifices for the things you love, and therefore the creditor countries should sacrifice a little now, to make sure all countries remain in an ever closer union, as per the Treaty of Rome. The Greek opposition to austerity and support for a fiscal union shows they are more in favour (and in need) of Europe than most. I certainly don’t agree with or endorse everything Syriza is doing and saying, but I disagree with austerity even more.

    I suppose there is an ideological difference here between a smaller and faster integration process and a much slower but more inclusive European project with the same ambition as those charged with rebuilding Europe from the ashes of WW2.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    8 July 2015  18:54, by giuseppe marrosu

    I’m sorry Chris but if you say you love something you should also be ready for all sacrifices its defence requires. The greek are not willing to do that anymore.

    Austerity was necessary for a Country living above its means like Greece and it was beginning to work, too. But even if you think it was wrong, I say Greece could have chosen a better strategy to convince its partners to put it aside: fight privileges, extend sacrifices for a few months, until a new agreement was reached, avoid insulting, provocking and blackmailing your partners and flirting with rivals like Putin, cutting spendings on arms, agreeing to proposals to give Bruxelles control over the budget (they could have counter-proposed to generalize that to all EMU Countries, they turned down the idea as an attack to their independence)...

    There is still hope but time and margins for a deal are running out.

    Also, a smaller group of countries willing to respect the rules might make a better Union than a larger but unruly federation.

    I say if the rebels - Greece, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark and off course (sorry) the British Islands left the EU or accepted all the rules that apply to Portugal, Italy or Estonia, we would be much stronger and better set for more integration.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    6 July 2015 00:36, by Chris Powers

    Giuseppe don’t be so pessimistic. The Greeks have rejected austerity, not the EU, or even the Euro. Greek people love both, they want to remain with both.

    Hopefully this will force people to reevaluate why we are embracing an old ideology that has never worked, and will never work if you want a federal Europe.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    6 July 2015  00:32, by giuseppe marrosu

    Now it’s 8-7 (Referenda score of Anti-europeist forces vs. Europeist forces in the EU since 1992), Iwantout. Congratulations to you and all Anti-europeists (so-called Eurosceptics) out there. We lost Greece. We might lose the UK.

    But we won’t give up.


    6 July 2015  00:18, by giuseppe marrosu

    Dear Mr. Andreou, now that the people spoke, I hope you’re happy: Greece will soon be out of the Euro and the EU (time to concede candidate status to Macedonia, oops sorry FYROM).

    Maybe one day you’ll admit that you only have yourselves to blame for your problems and you’ll recognize how much we did to try and save you.

    Or you’ll just find some other foreign power to blame for the sufferings of all the Magdas of Greece (which is next. Russia? China?).

    When we come again to your rescue we’ll better have Athens give up to Bruxelles all major decisions on your budget. Maybe they’ll sell a couple of your warplanes so they can heat up Magda’s home at the expenses of your oversized armed forces.

    Goodnight, Mr. Andreou, goodnight Greece, goodnight Europe.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    4 July 2015  18:06, by giuseppe marrosu

    To Iwantout 2/2 “other euro countries are not prepared to suffer the loss, no fellow feeling there. (Germany is owed 68.2bn euros, France 43.8bn, Italy 38.4bn, etc)” over 150bn euro “no fellow feeling”? Are you joking? How much did the UK give? We will take Greece’s debt on ourselves when we have more control on how Greece spends its money, just like the USA has on Lousiana or Detroit, or Germany on Berlin. But Greece has so far refused that. So if it fails they will be to blame, not us.

    “I am at a loss to understand why you feel it is dishonourable to cancel a treaty using the legal means that are available if you no longer believe the treaty is in your best interests” Not all that is legal is honourable. But go ahead and do it if that’s what you want. Off course we might also cancel some of the treaties benefiting you if we conclude they are no longer “in our best interests”. Maybe you will find that’s honourable, too. “You hope that the requirement for ‘Ever Closer Union’ will not change...” yes I do “...and that we will be forced” Nooooo! I don’t want to “force you” to do something you do not want! I NEVER said that! Please stop painting me as an antidemocratic!

    “Paragraph 27 of the EU Summit Communique 27/06/14” I am dismayed. But I can see the language is very generic and I could give the following interpretation: we respect the will of some countries who do not want to go ahead: but they’ll have to be suspended or leave the EU. You’ll note that the principle of “ever closer union” is not questioned. “You say we want special conditions” you have special conditions: the EU-UK rebate, no Euro, no Schengen. “we just want a trade relationship plain and simple” it might surprise you but I would be ready to accept that, if that’s really what you want. But in that case, no UK EMP, no UK officials in EU institutions, and so on. And we’ll go ahead and build a European State, if we can find the popular support.

    Best regards from the Eurozone.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    4 July 2015  18:04, by giuseppe marrosu

    1. Dear Iwantout, english seems such a difficult language... “Your lack of faith in the public and unwillingness to allow them to control their future really does not surprise me”. I think the people should have the control over their future. I never said the opposite. BUT I just say that the majority is not always right. And sometimes is dead wrong. Call me a Demosceptic. You try to hold your point to technicalities like Hitler or Mussolini not having being elected directly or their use of violence, but you certainly do not ignore their huge popularity in their respective countries even before overtaking power really made them the most obvious “people’s choice”. Chavez and Tsipras had/have the wrong agenda for their countries. It’s not me telling it, it’s economics. Both earned their seat through the polls, was that a wise choice?

    EU referenda: I don’t understand (or I understand all too well) why you want to start from ’92, but in that period I counted 7 “No” and 7 “Yes”. The score becomes 9-16 if we also count EU accession referenda and the Swiss referendum on foreign workers (you excluded referenda on the EU held outside of it). Of the 6 “No”, 3 were unfortunatelly followed by renegotiations with the two small countries that held them (instead of simply excluding them from further integration) and by 3 reruns with an easy victory, 2 were totally accepted contrary to your claim (so there is no Euro in Denmark or Sweden despite Maastricht treaty requiring the latter to adopt it) and in only 2 cases the EU “ran around them” even if it respected them formally (France and the Nederland said “NO” to the Euroconstitution... not a tragic loss... Spain and Luxembourg said “YES”, though, so a compromise was eventually found).

    “With regards to the election of Eurosceptic to the EP, in every election since 1999 in the UK the winning party has been Eurosceptic [antieuropeist]...” I do not doubt it, but I just checked the 2014 European elections results for the UK: what you call the “winning party” got less than 30% of the vote. While it made it to No. 1, the No. 2 and 3, the truly Eurosceptic, not outright Anti-europeist, Conservative and Labour almost got 50%. You cannot pull the UK out of the EU with 30% of the UK vote! That’s what I meant.

    On Greece again, I have been sympathetic with them until Tsipras won. Austerity has certainly be harder than needed and all of us will have to respond to history for our mistakes. But, despite that, Greece’s trouble are not the fault of the rest of the world. We in the Eurozone in particular helped them more than anyone else, we made sacrifices. But Greece’s case is so bad we could not bring back the prosperity they enjoyed. In part because it was a fake one based on debt.

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