POLITICS & POLICY
The German electoral campaign is under the spotlight. A recent poll revealed a slight drop in voter preference for the incumbent Chancellor, Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, her Christian Democratic Party (CDU) still holds a considerable advantage over the Social Democratic Party (SPD) led by former EU Parliament President Martin Schulz.
Over the past few weeks, Schulz has tried to gain support from foreign leaders in France and Italy on topics such as European governance and the refugee crisis. Indeed, the latter is a priority in the eyes of a majority of German citizens, according to a recent Eurobarometer survey. However, another survey conducted by YouGov showed that among the centre-left electorate “social care” and “social justice” remain the most relevant topics.
Meanwhile, the race for third place promises to be quite tight. The radical leftist Die Linke, the Liberal Party (FDP) and the right-wing populist party Alternative für Deutschland (AFD) are all expected to obtain close to 10% of the vote. An alliance between the CDU and FDP is currently considered to be the most likely outcome of the September election, along the lines of the coalition formed in the North-Rhine Westphalia land after that the CDU won the elections ahead of the SPD, earlier this year.
In other news, the refugee crisis continues to make the headlines across Europe. A report from the German newspaper Der Spiegel revealed that minor refugees are currently held in local police stations and prisons in Greece. According to the report, minors are often at the risk of physical and sexual violence.
Meanwhile, European Member States started to relocate asylum seekers to Greece, as the European Court of Justice (ECJ) put an end to the year-long exemption from the so-called Dublin regulation. However, the Greek Minister for Migration, Yiannis Mouzalas, said that only a few migrants would effectively be returned to the country.
Meanwhile, the migrant crisis continues to be a reason for concern in the Northern neighbourhood of Paris Porte de la Chapelle. While local and national police authorities lifted migrants from the streets earlier this year, irregular camping sites continue to appear all over the place.
On Wednesday, smugglers are understood to have forced some 120 migrants to jump off their boats short of the shores of Yemen. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) at least 29 persons died.
Brexit continues to be one of the main concerns of political and business leaders in the UK and across Europe. Last week rumours spread that the UK Government would be ready to pay €40 billion into the EU budget as its “exit bill”. However, on Monday Downing Street denied any such claim. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Scottish authorities claimed that the UK Government is planning to centralise many of the competences repatriated as a result of Brexit, instead of sharing them with the devolved administrations.
In other news, according to David Davis, the UK Brexit Secretary, the EU suggested that British citizens living in the EU should be granted only “residence rights” in their host member states. According to this proposal, Britons living in the EU would lose their “European citizen rights”, which allow them to move across the continent without any limitation. Meanwhile, an analysis published on The Conversation revealed that Polish grandparents who moved to the UK over the past years could be discriminated should the UK Government put in place a points-based migration system. Some 48,100 Polish elderly could be forced into a condition of poverty as the welfare states of eastern member states do not provide for much aid under current social schemes.
“Spain is backing a European finance minister and a European budget which will progressively bring closer together living standards and the wealth of all European
Mariano Rajoy, Prime Minister of Spain
Source: Euractiv, 08.08.2017
The numbers of Hungarian workers who have been displaced across the country through a local workfare program established by the National Government and executed by local authorities.
Source: Der Spiegel, 09.08.2017
Photo Credits CC: European People’s Party
Also published on Medium.