Major policy and legal chances have happened in a range of European countries in 2013 and early 2014, and the coming months will see some major votes on the question. How does the “abortion debate” look like in Europe today and what does it say about European societies and politics?
Talking of the decline of the Left and the Right has become commonplace in European politics. The message is the same: they are are “old” categories which make little sense nowadays. If we accept as true the common knowledge of the convergence of the Left and the Right, there are two questions to be asked about it: the first is “why could this have happened” while the second is “is there anything that can be done about it?”
Thatcher’s TINA-Principle (“There is no alternative”) seems to apply in the European fabric of austerity measures. Economic refugees, downright cuts in public spending for welfare, health, pension and educational systems are their severe consequences. These are policy issues that traditionally concern the Left that leaves the policy room yet untrodden. How come?
In many European nation-states, traditional left and right-wing parties are increasingly challenged, by voters who express their dissatisfaction by not going to the polls or voting for newly emerged and/or extremist parties, and by these parties, which present themselves as an alternative. But neither of these challenges has fundamentally threatened neither the left-right cleavage nor the existence of traditional left and right wing parties in any member state.
After 5 long years of recession (which included a change in Westminster from a Labour to the first coalition government since WWII of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats), dissatisfaction with politics is high, populism thrives and identity politics is ripe - not only in Scotland that may leave the UK after the referendum this summer.
A failed deal, riots, a high death count, an emergency meeting of the European Council, multiple NATO discussions, threats of sanctions - this would be a short summary of the events that have taken place in Ukraine in the past month. And there is a good chance that a new emergency meeting of the European Council will be called in the coming week, because, despite what some people had hoped, the conflict in Ukraine is not settling. On the contrary, it is escalating.
Protests in Ukraine, from Euromaidan to separatists in the East, have been all around the news lately. But who are the people behind the news? Olena Chernova, a lawyer, President of the NGO Kyiv Initiative Group Alpbach and one of the many people on Maidan Square, talks about a generational divide and explains the current situation from a citizen's perspective.
The radical right in the coalition, protests in the East of the country, crisis with the sister state Russia: the provisional government has lost control over the situation in Ukraine. Helplessness and a lack of transparency seem to have replaced reconciliation and pacification under Arseniy Yatsenyuk's government.
A few weeks ago, Crimea was annexed by Russia. It followed a regional referendum closely watched by Russian troops on Ukrainian territory. Arnoldas Pranckevičius, External policies adviser of European Parliament President Martin Schultz, went to Ukraine many times on special missions before and during the crisis. In this interview, he sheds light on what it represents for the Europeans.
Danièle Nouy may not be a well-known name to many Europeans yet, but she has an important role: starting in 2014, the European Central Bank (ECB) will be responsible for the supervision of the major banks in Europe. This is only a first element of the ‘Banking Union’ that Europe has called for since the financial crisis. Others have to follow - otherwise the ‘Banking Union’ will remain toothless.