POLITICS & POLICY

The refugee crisis remains one of the top priorities of European politicians. On Monday, Katja Keul, a member of the German Green party, said that some 25,000 refugees are still waiting to be relocated inside the European Union. Consequently, she claimed that the process is proceeding at a slower pace than initially planned by European institutions. Meanwhile, the Institute for the German Economy (IW) argued that the integration of newcomers might decrease the average level of skills within the country. The IW researchers claim that a large part of migrants completed their education in their home countries. The lack of officially recognized qualifications might lead to low incomes for citizens with a migrant background.

On Saturday, Alexander Gauland, a member of the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party, said that the German government should block Muslims from entering the country, if they do not come from conflict zones. Gauland’s words have been criticised by Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democratic party. Schulz blasted the AfD, claiming that the right-wing party offends the fundamental rights written in the German constitution. Meanwhile, the Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz, pledged for the establishment of more refugee camps outside of the European Union’s borders.

In other news, Brexit keeps making the headlines in Britain and Europe. On Saturday, the British House of Lords said that the UK is not obliged to pay into the EU budget if it will not agree on a deal with the European institutions. Similarly, Britain will not be able to claim any share of the European budget. These declarations of triggered a harsh reaction from the European Parliament, where the leader of the Socialist & Democratic (S&D) group, Gianni Pittella, accused the Lords of having a “bullying attitude”. However, the UK upper chamber also said that ending the free movement of EU citizens would not provide a solution to the problem of low wages in Britain. Moreover, it pledged for a gradual introduction of any new migration policy.

The debate on the future of the European Union continues to be one of the main concerns of politicians across the continent. On Monday, Bulgarian socialist MEP Peter Kouroumbashev released a controversial statement claiming that any “two-speed” Europe would turn the Union into a regime of “modern apartheid”. Kouroumbashev added that after last year’s terrorist attacks and Brexit, a multi-speed Europe would be another step towards the breakup of the integration project.

The Greek debt crisis continues to be a cause of concern for institutions in Brussels and Athens. On Saturday, the Greek newspaper Ekathimerini reported that talks between the parties have entered a new phase of tension. In particular, international creditors require the Greek government to redraft a set of economic measures aimed at offsetting austerity measures. However, Greek deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis defined the requests of the European partners as “totally irrational”.


THE STATEMENT

I will do everything to prevent Marine Le Pen from winning the next French Presidential elections

Francois Hollande, President of the French Republic

Source: EurActiv, 06.03.2017


NUMBERS

26 million

The amount of euros the Portuguese public health care service owes to the country’s private hospitals.

Source: Portugal Resident, 06.03.2017


Photo Credits CC CAFOD Photo Library


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