The Green Observatory provides a round-up of perspectives on a current political issue from the Green European Journal’s partners around Europe. This first edition focuses its lens on Brexit: how is the referendum on UK membership being discussed in different countries? And what could be the potential consequences on the ground in the case of a vote to leave the EU?
Populist and radical movements are on the rise in Europe while grassroots and democratic movements also gather strength. In this interview the Green European Journal asks Gaël Brustier to reflect on the reasons behind and triggers for these developments. Brustier calls for seizing the opportunity to build the progressives’ discourse around democracy and for the Greens to show citizens they are all about the material realities of daily life.
The prospect of the use of bank notes and coins becoming severely restricted, or even eliminated altogether, is one we should scrutinise closely. Making all transactions electronic could have a profound impact on the lives of many people, while giving banks even greater control over the flow of currency.
The Eurozone has been troubled by stagnating growth and low inflation since 2013 and we still haven’t fixed problems of high national debt. In order to evade another economic earthquake similar to or even bigger than the Greek crisis and to reinstate the trust in the Euro, the European Central Bank (ECB) took extraordinary measures to boost growth, raise inflation and indirectly lower the indebtedness of the Eurozone Member States: they started the Quantitative Easing (QE) program.
Viewed with suspicion, TTIP hangs over us like a dark cloud. Deemed as a threat to social rights, welfare, the environment and constitutional sovereignty, a civil society resistance movement continues to gain traction. In light of a recent leak by Greenpeace Netherlands further exposing these threats, it is time now to reassess the state of play.
The Polish Catholic Church Has Become Intertwined with Euroscepticism and the Promotion of Conservative “National Values”
After a surge of support in the Presidential and General Elections last year, the right-wing national conservative Law and Justice Party now dominates Polish politics. The government’s relationship with the Polish Church and its role in fuelling religious Euroscepticism and supporting draconian abortion laws and the close alliance shows there are mutual benefits and the Catholic Church does not easily give up its spiritual, moral and social authority.
Climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, and of course many other effects that will occur over several decades or longer. Some changes of the climate are unavoidable; however, we can reduce the risks we will face and prepare for the changes that are already under way. Now, we must address how a possible Brexit might impact climate change and future climate negotiations at the national, European and global levels. Our decisions today will shape the world our children and grandchildren will live in.
For decades a wave of privatisation has been rolling across Europe, making many investors, banks and consultancies rich but making few citizens happy. The great neoliberal promise of privatised utility companies providing water, power and transport more cheaply to their customers has regularly been shown to be deception and even, in many cases, a lie.
The concept of loss and damage due to the impacts of climate change first entered into the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiating text in 2008. Eight years on, the issue still appears to be little known to people outside of a specific community of policy actors, NGOs and academics working on the issue.
As a Bruxellois, confronted with the terrible events in Zaventem and the Maelbeek metro station, terrorism has reached my doorstep. More than ten years after September 11th, my reaction to these attacks is very different to the one I had back then.
It would be an illusion to believe that irregular migration will come to an end as a result of the legally dubious deal agreed between EU leaders and Turkey on 18 March 2016. Instead, we should recognise that migration is a natural human phenomenon, which has to be managed as such, and reform the dysfunctional EU framework on asylum and migration.
The recent Austrian elections show there is a lot of discontent with the governing parties and their management of the crises of recent years; in particular the migration crisis, which is an obvious boost for the far right. Nevertheless, to really understand what is happening, one has to consider not only the past and the present, but especially the future.
Even if tax scandals have been in the European media for years now, the Panama Papers revelations take the problem to a whole new level. This Panama Papers leak is an unprecedented event, by the size of the consortium of journalists coordinating the investigation (376 journalists from 109 media outlets) but also by the scope of the revelations, involving politicians, stars and many other celebrities.
As the Panama Papers revelations lay bare in unprecedented detail how the rich and powerful are avoiding taxes, it is tempting to think of the bankers, financial lawyers, accountants and consultants who assist them in doing so as evil psychopaths. This idea is extremely popular: ‘homo financialus’ as a monster. Think of the classic Wall Street (‘greed is good’), of the mass murdering banker in American Psycho, and more recently, of the blockbuster Wolf of Wall Street.
On April 6, the Dutch electorate voted on the ratification of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. At the end of the day, 61.59% had cast their ballot against ratification with a voter turnout of 32.2%. In the aftermath of the referendum, doubts remain on why voters chose to vote as they did. Uncertainty also remains on what steps the government should take to adequately respond to the result of the referendum. What explains the result, what solutions are likely and what is the way ahead?
A crisis point has emerged, whereby the figure of the ‘irregular’ migrant is seen as both a security threat to the European Union (EU) and its borders and as a life that is itself threatened and in need of saving by the EU and its agencies. This contradiction leads to paradoxical situations in the field of EU border politics whereby humanitarian policies and practices frequently expose ‘irregular’ migrants to dehumanising and sometimes lethal security mechanisms.