Articles

The German grand coalition: governing without opposition?

By Isabel Winnwa | 3 January 2014

After two months of negotiations, the German election has finally led to the Grand coalition desired by some and feared by others. Chancellor Merkel commands a majority of 504 out of 631 members of the Bundestag, the remaining 127, composed of Die Grünen and Die Linke, form the opposition of 20% of the votes. Merkel autarchy and opposition pro forma, is this democratic? Hardly. 

Season’s greetings from Eastern Europe

By Heli Parna | 29 December 2013

For many people, Christmas is about buying presents, a tree, decorating the house and eating good food. The picture of chubby Santa from the Coca-Cola commercial is familiar to everyone all over Europe. However, for those who grew up in Eastern Europe, Christmas memories can be very different. So what are the various Christmas traditions in  Eastern countries? Thanks to my friends and family I have gathered here some examples of Christmas traditions, menus and customs.

The Challenges for Europe’s Defence Council

By Matteo Ricci | 12 December 2013

On the 19th and 20th of December the first European Council in six years dedicated to the theme of defence will take place in Brussels. This article looks at the objectives of the Council meeting and analyses the challenges facing Member States, which will have to choose before closer integration, or a steep decline in Europe’s defence capabilities.

In the Land of Schnitzel, Coffee and Newspaper Bags

By Katharina Moser | 4 December 2013

Postcard-pictures of crispy brown Schnitzels and majestically dressed empress “Sissi” have circled the globe so many times that they have become the first images popping up in everyone’s mind when thinking of Austria. But what do you find when you dig a bit deeper, from the well known clichés to the real ‘typical’ traits of Austria? 130 young Europeans have given their answers. 

The Merkel Paradox

By Jérémie Gagné | 4 December 2013

On 22 September 2013, the German federal election was held in the very eye of a European storm. While people throughout the Eurozone were debating whether or not the visibly dramatic effects of fiscal austerity policy in Southern countries would eventually be outweighed by the long-term benefits of structural adjustment, indifferent Germans enjoyed the warm breeze of relative economic well-being on their way to the polls.

Interview with MEP Leonidas Donskis

By Claudia Louati | 13 October 2013

MEP Leonidas Donskis is a Lithuanian philosopher, political commentator and one of the leading human rights and civil liberties advocates at the European Parliament. A member of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), he takes part in the European Parliament Committee on Development and Subcommittee on Human Rights, as well as in the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. He kindly accepted to share with us his views on the Lithuanian Presidency, its ambitions and priorities.

Interview with Einar Wigen - Turkey at the crossroads: has the country been drifting away from democracy?

By Gizem Ozturk Erdem | 25 September 2013

From May 27th, 2013 we have been witnessing protests at Gezi Park in Istanbul, that were started by only 50 Environmentalists who were against to a plan to redevelop Istanbul's Gezi Park into a complex with new mosque and shopping centre. At a conference in Istanbul in June, EU Commissioner Štefan Füle echoed the statements of many other political leaders and claimed “Peaceful demonstrations constitute a legitimate way for these groups to express their views in a democratic society. Excessive use of force by police against these demonstrations has no place in such a democracy.”   

The controversies over the Pantheon (of Great Poles)

By Dorota Szeligowska | 16 September 2013

Today, Sławomir Mrożek will be buried in Kraków. While he died a month ago, the burial was delayed in waiting for the new section of the (Kraków‘s) Pantheon, in the crypts of the Church of Saints Peter and Paul, to be ready. This article will present a short outlook on the recent developments in the domain of Polish Pantheon(s), putting them in their historical, sometimes relatively controversial, perspective.

L’Etat, c’est moi - Subsidiarity as a recurring principle in national discourse

By Nikki Ikani | 12 September 2013

Right before the Europeans started packing for their annual holiday, the Dutch government proposed its ‘subsidiarity review’ in June. This review states that the European Commission is not supposed to have a greater say over topics concerning criminal law, social security or pensions, and that the Commission should set broad objectives, but leave its implementation to the European member states. Where does this resort to subsidiarity come from? And in what way does a focus on subsidiarity matter? This article will explore the principle of subsidiarity, discuss its shortcomings and underline its potential. 

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