Bursting the Bubble

Italian elections, Grillo, populism and (fake) Euroscepticism

4 March 2013 | by

WARNING: this article is meant to be an anxiolytic for all the people foreseeing that, following elections, Italy will leave the EU/Euro.

If you read newspapers or browse through websites regularly, you might have noticed that we finally have the definitive results of Italian parliamentary elections. Before the actual elections, some commentators have described them as the most important elections since 1945. Well, I do not know if that is the case, but they were definitely the most interesting and surprising ones for a long time. With an upper chamber split in three, there cannot be a unitary and solid majority – the country is in a deadlock. That is a  fact. Fact number one. It is also a fact, fact number two, that the centre-left coalition, which had a 10% advantage over all opponents in January, has probably run  the worst electoral campaign in the history of humanity. Also, fact number three, Berlusconi still has appeal over Italians, and that also is a fact, not an opinion – like it or not. Monti and his austerity policy were strongly punished by Italian voters, and that is our fourth fact. We then have the last factor of these elections, Beppe Grillo. Continue reading

Farewell to Stéphane Hessel, the man who gave ideological substrate to the social unrest

28 February 2013 | by

The ‘Indignados’ movement’s participants in Spain, throughout their breakaway yet inclusive attempts, refused to wear any political labels. “We are neither left, nor right,” they used to emphasize during their first spontaneous assemblies in 2011. Instead, they proudly exhibited an intellectual affiliation with a 95-year-old rebel – Stéphane Hessel.

Hessel died on the 27th of February, leaving as a posthumous gift for his followers, his new and last book: No os rindáis. Describing his life is telling a story full of big words and events. In fact, through his memoir, Danse avec le Siecle, the contemporary reader can sneak through his recollections of some of the most remarkable events of the twentieth century. Continue reading

The Migrant’s Journal, Vol.1: Voting Rights

26 February 2013 | by

“A man without a vote is a man without protection”, according to Lyndon B. Johnson. About 3% of EU citizens live in a EU member state other than their own, according to Eurostat. A very simplistic Aristotelian syllogism at this point would lead to the conclusion that almost 3% of EU citizens live with only partial protection. Let us start off by saying that the fact that voting is one of the most important political rights individuals have is not an opinion but a matter of fact. It is enshrined in Art.1 of the Italian Constitution. It is enshrined in Art.38 of the German Grundgesetz. It is enshrined in the first three articles of the French Constitution.

Yet, it is not enshrined in daily life of EU citizens who decide or are forced to move to another member state. Continue reading

Island-Nation or Island-Notion?

25 February 2013 | by

On Jan. 23rd 2013, the British Prime Minister David Cameron gave-in to Eurosceptic pressure and promised to hold a referendum on British EU-membership, should the Conservative Party win a parliamentary majority in 2015. This decision is a gamble with the British economy causing waves of uncertainty across the Union. The reasons for this move are complex, but I will try to give an outline of what set Britain on this dangerous and unwanted path. It is my belief, that this decision was not driven by the fact that Britain is an Island-Nation, but by an Island-Notion. Continue reading

Americans interested in EPA??

25 February 2013 | by

Both in the United States and in Europe, I constantly get asked why an American should have any interest in the European Union or Europe in general besides just as a vacation destination. Why on earth would an American study European Public Affairs? While many of my American friends at University have decided to specialize in Political Science or International Relations for their Master’s degree, I chose instead to specialize in European Public Affairs. For some Americans, it is hard to fathom what exactly it is that I study. For Europeans, it is hard to fathom an American having a true passion for the topic. Continue reading