POLITICS & POLICY
Recent political developments in Hungary are making the headlines all over Europe. After the Hungarian government decided to promote a bill to shut down Central European University, a private higher education institution financed by philanthropist George Soros, civil society organizations and ordinary citizens took the streets of Budapest in protest. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Viktor Orban continues his offensive against non-governmental organizations. On Friday, the government proposed a new bill requiring all NGOs in the country to disclose the names of their financial supporters. On Monday, European Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova called for civil society organisations to not give up to the many attacks on pluralism within the country. Referring to Hungary and Poland, Jourova said that there are “worrying trends going on in these countries”.
The refugee crisis continues to be one of the main worries of European politicians. After the terrorist attacks that hit London and Stockholm over the past few weeks, many politicians are pointing their fingers at the nexus between immigration flows and security. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven called for a more stringent expulsion system for migrants who are denied asylum, as it emerged that the main executor of last week’s attack in Stockholm was not entitled to stay in the country. At the moment, some 12,000 undocumented migrants are estimated to live in Sweden. Meanwhile, in Germany, many non-governmental organizations warned that a growing share of underage migrants are ending up in the prostitution business in Berlin. Stephan Mayer, a MP from the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), called for the Federal government to shut its southern borders with Switzerland in an attempt to halt the arrival of new immigrants to the country. Across the Channel, in the UK, Downing Street pledged to set in place some modification to its relocation scheme within the country. Recently, the The Guardian revealed that some 60% of destitute asylum seekers are sent to the poor neighbourhoods of the country, ultimately increasing migration-based tensions among the population.
Brexit is still under the spotlight. On Monday, 50 members of the European Parliament, mainly from the Green Party, signed a letter offering support to the Scottish government in case of a future EU membership application as a newly independent country. Over the past few weeks even the Spanish government – somehow unexpectedly – said that it would not veto a Scottish accession request. Meanwhile, the UK government seems to revise its strategy on immigration controls. After Theresa May asserted that free movement could continue for a transition period even after the Brexit negotiations will be finalized, other UK government representatives followed in her footsteps. On the occasion of a conference on Healthcare and Science in Lyon, Emily Hamblin, the regional manager of the UK Science and Innovation Network for Western Europe, claimed that it will be essential for Britain to preserve free movement of talented scholars and researchers to the country in the future. Similar concerns have been raised by Virginia Acha, Executive director of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.
The French electoral campaign continues. According to recent polls, support for Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the presidential candidate of the radical left movement La France Insoumise, has increased dramatically, reaching a staggering 20%. Polls suggest that Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron are still leading the race with about 23-24% each. Socialist Party candidate, Benoit Hamon, lags behind in fifth position. Bad news also for Francois Fillon, who seems unable to recover from the scandals of the past months.
“We have to ensure safety within the Schengen area but not by causing so much bad feeling among people and damage to our economy”.
Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of Slovenia
Source: EurActiv, 10.04.2017
The hourly minimum wage to which UK Labour Party’s leader Jeremy Corbin has committed in case of an electoral victory in the 2020 general elections.
Source: The Guardian, 10.04.2016
Photo Credits CC European Parliament
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