Bursting the Bubble

The Fantastic and Magnificent Magic Comedy Show of the Spanish Government

8 March 2013 | by

I am very happy to be able to share my views, thoughts and feelings on what is occurring within the European Union and the Spanish policy making sphere through this blog.

In this article, my first for European Public Affairs, I have to satisfy a personal need. I need to eliminate the rage, impotence and stupor I harbour, before being able to find the objective perspective required to analyse  further issues.

In a way, a lot of the occurrences in Spanish government seem like a comedy act. Is the Spanish government laughing at all of us when there are no cameras recording them? This is the feeling that the average Spaniard could have, particularly when the evening news – at least it is the feeling that I have, one of being in a magic comedy show. Continue reading

EU-Ukraine Summit: empty words or a step forward?

8 March 2013 | by

A couple of days ago – on the 25th February 2013– Ukraine was once again at the heart of Brussels dialogue. Another incident with Missis Tymoshenko, or a gas crisis with Russia you might think? No, it was simply the 16th EU-Ukraine summit. Simple or not, let’s reflect on who said what and why? Continue reading

The Dog Chasing its Own Tail

6 March 2013 | by

In the village where I was born and raised, Stezzano, my neighbor had a dog, Zorro, who used to entertain himself chasing his own tail. I read somewhere that this is a natural behavior among puppies whereas it is not normal for adult dogs. When I went to Italy in December, I sadly discovered that Zorro had died from the disease that this behaviour was announcing.

In December 2012, in the EU-27 the youth unemployment rate was 23.4 % (Eurostat). Considering 32 European countries -EU27 plus Croatia, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey- the majority reduced public funding in higher education since 2008. Seventeen European Governments have reduced their public budgets for higher education, thirteen restricted financial aid programs for students, and five have restricted university governance autonomy. I believe that the correlation between these two statements goes beyond intuition: it is a causal link that goes in both directions. Continue reading

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