Third Print Edition
Stress Tests: The European Project Under Pressure
On a sunny terrace on the borders of the river Oder, which flows between Germany and Poland, a small group of activists, journalists and politicians from different European countries decided in the late summer of 2011 to start a new magazine that would contribute to building a European public space and at the same time empower the green movement. The real architect of this project was its future and first editor-in-chief, the journalist and philosopher Benoît Lechat, who died much too young at the beginning of this year.
The idea of a European Community, based on a promise of shared peace and prosperity, was dealt a strong blow this summer, in a way that we couldn't have expected even months before.
My parents educated us according to the maxim that "we are as many times human as languages we know". As when learning a new language, one must throw oneself into the discovery of national political sensitivities, at the risk of not comprehending everything, but nevertheless making the effort to put one’s own political references in the background, to genuinely enter into the world of another.
The European Project lacks any significant ingredient of emotional bonding. In the absence of a “European soul”, the existing rational, bureaucratic structure is doomed to remain a distant presence for the citizens of Europe.
Instead of bringing regional officials to Brussels, the EU needs to bring Brussels to the regions. Local and regional bodies need to debate EU issues at home. Heather Grabbe and Stefan Lehne propose a solution to narrow the distance between the EU and the individual.
Throughout his time in the European Parliament, Philippe Lamberts has been campaigning and working towards a fairer and more human system of financial regulation for the EU. Nevertheless, it appears the financial orthodoxy is still calling the shots in Europe. With the new parliament term underway, he gives his assessment of the progress made so far, and the outlook for the future.
In what kind of world does the political artist work? Sociologist Saskia Sassen spoke at the first Life Hack of the art project Hacking Habitat. Her theme for the evening: invisibility. This concept was explored in connection to a range of ideas including expulsion, complexity and violence in the global economy.
The EU submitted its contribution (INDC) to the global climate change agreement in March, which is due to be adopted in Paris in December. It is worth noting that the EU was the first of the major economies to present its offer for the Paris agreement. Nevertheless, the extent to which the offer paves the way to an ambitious climate deal in Paris is questionable indeed. This article was first published on the Heinrich Böll Foundation's website.
For Americans, much more so than for Europeans, security trumps freedom. The NSA is beyond the control of the President and of Congress; and the US, in the role of the benevolent protector, imposes its own ethical standards onto its allies in order to extract both economic profits and strategic political information. These differences between the US and Europe do not call into question the continued viability of NATO, but they do, however, negate both the desirability and the feasibility of forming a "Transatlantic Internal Market". This article was first published as a Madariaga paper in 2013.
The aftermath of the Ukrainian crisis, the Russian military intervention and the undeclared war in eastern Ukraine brought about a crucial change in the EU’s foreign affairs. The new understanding of a conflict-oriented and imperial rationality-based attitude of the Russian leadership caused a substantial shift in the EU’s Russia-politics – and raises security questions not only at European level but also on the global scale.
Many inhabitants of the Maghreb have no other choice than to leave their homes, and start a new life abroad. Instead of treating these people as criminals, the EU should try to work on a functioning policy for the region. This includes looking at problems from an environmental perspective.
Today voters can only choose between Coca-Cola and Pepsi Cola. This in turn leads to the depolitisation of people and a lack of interest in what is going on in our societies. If a Green party cannot present an alternative to the current neoliberal system it won't be able to connect the struggles, argues Philosopher Chantal Mouffe in an interview with the Green European Journal.
The European Union today is witnessing an ideological battle over its economy and politics. A cycle of austerity, fuelled by short-sightedness and irrationality, is creating a major setback for European integration and driving disillusioned citizens to turn away from the European project in even greater numbers. While dissenting voices and visions are silenced, this amounts to an attack on democracy and solidarity. An interview with Mar Garcia Sanz and Ska Keller.
Europe is dead. Or is it long live Europe? There are those who believe the threat of paralysis and dissolution remains, and those who optimistically seize any small positive sign as a reason to announce (yet again) that Europe’s crises can serve as a springboard. But what is lacking is a deeper sense of history, which would help us to understand the current crisis as a turning point in a process that has lasted over 50 years.
For many people it seems easier to imagine the end of the world, or even the end of capitalism, than to imagine the end of growth. To break this spell of growth, we bring you some of the policy proposals that are derived from the theory of degrowth. This article originally appeared on The Press Project on January 7.