Bursting the Bubble

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

The European Citizens’ Initiative; A Laborious Start

25 February 2013 | by

Yesterday (10 February 2013), the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘Water is a Human Right’ succeeded in collecting 1 million signatures of EU citizens. It is the first of the 15 open ECIs to reach the required amount of signatures.

The ECI has been created by the Lisbon Treaty* to enhance participatory and direct democracy, addressing the EU democratic deficit. It took more than one year after the entry into force of the Treaty, on December 2009, for the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union to adopt a Regulation setting out the rules and procedures for the ECI. Then, in April 2012, the first ECI, ‘Fraternity 2020’ was launched. A successful ECI, after its registration and the certification of its online collection system (OCS), must gather at least one million EU citizens’ signatures (statements of support can be on paper and/or online), coming from at least 7 out of the 27 member states, within 12 months. Continue reading