POLITICS & POLICY
The rise of far right and populist parties across Europe continues to be one of the main concerns for European politicians. On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that she will run for a fourth term as head of Government in the 2017 general elections. Merkel claimed that her decision was driven by a reflection on the rise of populist forces across Europe: “I want to serve my country when it is most needed”, she said on the occasion of a press conference. On Tuesday, a poll conducted by Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, showed that the far right party, Alternative fur Deutschland, would obtain 25% of votes in the state region of Sachsen, if elections were to be held today. Many international media outlets claimed that, after Donald Trump’s election in the United States, Angela Merkel remains the last bastion of the liberal order.
Meanwhile, in France, the Republican Party concluded the first phase of its primary elections. Former Prime Minister Francois Fillon scored highest among the preferences of the Republican electorate. Former President Nicolas Sarkozy, on the other hand, finished only third, behind Alain Juppé, so ending his bid.
In other news, the refugee crisis continues to make the headlines across Europe. On Monday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that “he won’t accept Brussels’s diktat” on the EU-wide migrant relocation scheme. On the occasion of an official visit to Serbia, Orban claimed that the influx of migrants changes the way of living of local residents. The Prime Minister argued that “our sons will ask us one day why we let all this happen. Why did we let Europe change?” Meanwhile, Hungarian authorities finalised the construction of another anti-migrant fence along its southern border with Serbia. On Monday, the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg, said that “education programs for citizens of welcoming countries are of paramount importance in fostering the integration of refugees”. At the same time, the PM claimed that “migrants and refugees need to respect the laws and civil rights” that are a prominent feature of the European civilization. Solberg argued that Norway is currently taking up more than 3,000 refugees every year under the UNHCR relocation scheme.
Meanwhile, the Greek island of Chios continues to be at the centre of the debate on how Europe should treat incoming migrants on the EU territory. After new clashes between EU officials and migrants broke out during the last few weeks, the Greek Migration Minister, Yiannis Mouzalas, blamed local authorities for not following the guidelines established by the national government. Earlier this year, Athens ordered the establishment of new centres for the internment of migrants that do not respect the law. Last but not least, a group of local residents protested against the establishment of a hostel for unaccompanied minors near the Piraeus port, in Athens, Ekathmerini reports.
The European Central Bank’s monetary policy continues to be debated by European institutions and politicians. On Monday, on the occasion of his yearly report to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, ECB President Mario Draghi claimed that the expansionary monetary policy carried out by the Central Bank over the past months is having a positive impact on the overall economic performance of the Eurozone. Draghi called for a swift implementation of the structural reforms that have been approved in Europe. According to many experts, the words pronounced by the ECB’s President point to a prosecution of the Bank’s quantitative easing programme, which is now expected to end in March 2017. However, Deutsche Bank’s CEO, John Cryan, criticized the ECB’s low interest rate strategy which, he claims, is detrimental to European banks.
“The referendum result was a cry from many communities that they
wanted to share in future economic gains, not to remain left behind. A hard Brexit is the worst of all worlds and does nothing to honour their aspirations.”
Letter from 90 Labour MPs to Theresa May
Source: The Guardian, 21.11.2016
The amount that the UKIP Party is asked to pay back to the European Union by December 21, as a result of fund mismanagement.
Source: Politico Europe, 21.11.2016
Photo Credits CC Fred Jaugstetter
Also published on Medium.