20. June 2016

20 December – 26 June: the Spanish journey towards political plurality…and the end of PSOE?

by Germán Jiménez Montes

german-jimenez-montes20 December was indeed a turning point for modern Spanish parliamentarianism, when the journey towards the break with bipartisanism started. Time was then naturally needed to build a new balance of power in a far more pluralist parliament. Thus, the electoral processes of December and June can both be understood as being part of the same voting campaign that is meant to last approximately seven months and whose aftermath has been unavoidable from the beginning: a government coalition. The question is which one.

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24. May 2016

Are UK citizens losing out in Brussels? Not really

by Christopher Wratil

christopher-wratilChristopher Wratil first moved to the UK for a university exchange year back in 2008. Since then he has spent about half of the time in the country, and the other half in Germany and Brussels.

When I came to the UK eight years ago, ‘Brexit’ was not a recognized term and the EU was low on the country’s agenda. I came for the same reason most EU university students come to the UK: I was seeking high quality education. As it happens my specialization was European Union studies. I aspired to learn from the Brits about their perspective on the Union and Brussels. I soon realized that this was an unrealistic plan: ‘European Governance’ at Oxford had 14 students. I was one of three Germans, we had an Italian, a Czech, a Slovak, two US Americans and a Swiss – but only one British girl. The seminar was lead by a Polish professor and my thesis supervisors were a Dane and a Spaniard. I had arrived inside the ‘EU community’ in the UK. It consisted of people from everywhere – but one place…the UK!

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14. April 2016

The worn leather of a suitcase

by Maël Baseilhac

Mael BaseilhacNowadays, in a world in which top news stories are replaced in daily succession and in which information has become yet another product to consume and to entertain, we, unfortunately, no longer take the time to consider the weight of words.

After the media landscape had been dedicated solely to the “migration crisis” in Europe for some time, the most recent events have now literally replaced this extremely essential and fundamental question of how to define our societies and our identity.  From the perspective of a Frenchman living in Morocco, the handling of the inflow of migrants was disastrous at all levels, both at a practical level as well as at that of political instrumentalisation. Conjuring up a subjective parallel between the Moroccan and the French situation, “I”, as La Rumeur wrote in 2002, “let the worn leather of a suitcase speak from a corner […], spewing at fate that it did not come in vain …”

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10. April 2016

Brussels – will it ever be the same?

by Darija Maric

I will never forget the first time I went to Brussels. I was part of a leadership development programme and we were presenting our project in the ‘capital of Europe’. After our seminar was over, we did the whole tourist experience – we ate waffles at the Grote Markt, posed for pictures in front of the Place Royale and took a walk through Parc du Cinquantenaire. I remember Manneken Pis was a bit disappointing for me (I expected it to be bigger!) but I found some comfort in excellent Belgian beer, which we all had together in the famous Delirium bar. After that, the image of Brussels that stuck in my head was this photo we all took together in front of the Saint Michel Cathedral. I remember it was raining horribly that day and the wind seemed to plan to blow us all away, but nevertheless we were all so happy and relaxed, smiling under a big yellow umbrella and holding our thumbs up.

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09. April 2016

Is Europe losing it?

by Sandra Grindgärds

sandra-grindgards Observing how Europe manages the current influx of migrants, I wonder, is Europe losing it? How much longer can we hold on to our credibility of being a society built on human rights, tolerance, equality and social capital? Growing racism, justified hate-speeches and human beings being marked as security risks all indicate that an enhanced ‘we versus them’ culture is rising. A culture that says some human beings are superior to others, that compromises social capital and the ability to trust each other.

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