03. April 2017
by Fiona Fritz
Closing borders, limiting immigration and a faster expulsion of criminal asylum seekers. These topics currently dominate the discourse on migration all over Europe. The numbers of people seeking refuge in Europe has been on the rise for the last 5-10 years. But since 2015 this topic is on the front pages of news outlets in Germany almost every single day. Merkel’s “Wir schaffen das!” (We’ll make it!) was met with scepticism by parts of the population and many politicians. In the recent debates, however, the issue of integration is too often neglected. This is partly due to the fact that ‘integration’ is a fuzzy and unclear concept. Who is responsible for integration? What does it mean to be integrated? In my opinion, integration requires time and effort by both the host societies and their new members.
20. March 2017
It was a sunny and beautiful day in Sarajevo on 2 March 2017. The city was full of blue and yellow flags, signs of celebration from the day before – Independence Day. Flags were left hanging from buildings a day longer, probably on purpose – to gently sway and greet very important guest our country was about to receive: Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission. Her visit to Sarajevo was part of her Western Balkan’s tour of countries that are EU member state candidates/candidates-to-be. The plan was to meet with the members of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), to talk about the country’s current issues and problematic path toward EU candidacy and also, to give a lecture on the same subject to the academic community of the University of Sarajevo.
8. March 2017
As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let’s take a second to reflect on the opportunities for change ahead of us. While the current European Commission will soon celebrate its mid-term, the gossip surrounding the makeup of the next College of Commissioners is already picking up speed.
As the speculations and wheeling and dealing for creating the next Commission continues, here’s a shout-out to the power parties of Europe – and in particular to the ones that talk big about gender equality: make an official commitment that in 2019 at least 50% of the commissioners will be women, and that anything below that number is unacceptable!
15. December 2016
The Greek tragedy of European social democracy turned into a soap opera last October, after the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party’s (PSOE) leader, Pedro Sánchez, was forced to resign. The offensive was led by former socialist Prime Minister Felipe González, when he declared in Spain’s most popular morning show that he felt fooled by Sánchez. He argued that in the days following Spain’s June election Sánchez had privately assured him that he was going to respect the wishes of many in the PSOE by dropping his objection to allowing Mariano Rajoy, the leader of the conservative Partido Popular (PP), to form a minority government. Despite this promise, Sánchez refused to give in to the pressure, saying he would do nothing to facilitate the formation of a government led by such a corrupt party as the PP.
15. December 2016
Coral bleaching; record-breaking temperatures; the Artic melting; the El Niño phenomenon becoming stronger; despite the success of the Paris Agreement one year ago, scientific evidence of the worsening impact of climate change is piling up. 2016 has even left us with a clear-cut evidence of the irreversibility of some damages: Melomys rubicola, a small rodent endemic to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, holds the dubious honour of becoming the first mammal to be wiped out by human-induced climate change. The fight against global warming has entered a critical phase, which needs a united Europe ready to make the difference.
8. December 2016
by Christopher Wratil and Giulia Pastorella
Already before Matteo Renzi had lost his constitutional referendum, media around the world claimed that a ‘government of technocrats’ was the most likely option to follow Renzi in case of electoral defeat. Drawing on their analysis of all technocratic governments appointed in 30 European democracies after 1977, Christopher Wratil – FutureLab Europe Member – and Giulia Pastorella estimate a rather low probability of 12-18% for the next Italian administration to be led by a technocrat. A technocratic government is therefore definitely possible but not as likely as suggested by the media.
21. October 2016
Since UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced that “Brexit means Brexit”, many wonder how the process of negotiating Brexit will unfold. What governments and EU institutions do, will in any case be controlled by parliaments. But not only Westminster and the European Parliament try to shape Brexit negotiations and the future relationship between the UK and the EU-27: The case of Wallonia and CETA shows that other parliaments – national or even regional – matter when it comes to Brexit. The influence of these parliaments related to Article 50 TEU is limited, but a free trade agreement or another form of association between the UK and the EU-27 would need their consent. This blog post argues that European parliaments should strengthen the coordination with each other in order to avoid lacking information on the different strands of the negotiations on Brexit.