Recently, on a miserably cold morning in Berlin, I visited the headquarters of the Young Socialists, the youth movement of Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD). With so much attention now homing in on Martin Schulz, the former president of the European Parliament who returned to Germany to run against Chancellor Angela Merkel, it was time to find out what was making him so popular, so quickly.
Just one month into his new job, support for the Social Democrats has soared. One poll shows Schulz’s party at 31 percent, pulling to within 2 percent of its rival. Other polls show the parties neck-and-neck, at 32 percent.… Seguir leyendo »
Frans Timmermans is no pushover, as the Polish government is beginning to find out.
The soft-spoken but plain-speaking first vice president of the European Commission — the E.U.’s executive branch — is responsible for ensuring that each member state abides by the rule of law. He takes it very seriously.
The so-called Rule of Law Framework was introduced in 2014. As Timmermans constantly reminds his audiences, the European Union is built on a common set of values, enshrined in the E.U. Treaty. “These values include respect for the rule of law. . . . Making sure the rule of law is preserved is a collective responsibility of the E.U.… Seguir leyendo »
In my childhood, my mother would drive up once a year to Northern Ireland. The main stretch from Dublin up to the border was a slow two-lane road. Ireland was not yet in the E.U. so it didn’t have any access to its generous structural and development funds to modernize its poor infrastructure.
Once the security checks at the border crossing were over, we entered what seemed a foreign world. Everything was new and modern from the fast and wide motorway to Belfast to the big department stores offering so much choice. The prices were also low. Britain, not yet in the E.U.… Seguir leyendo »
Hours after the coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris on November 13, the blame game began. Populist, conservative and Eurosceptic parties and movements across Europe pointed fingers at the refugees. They argued that the uncontrolled influx of so many refugees fleeing the wars in Syria and Iraq creates opportunity for ISIS followers to enter Europe.
But refugees had nothing to do with the bombings in London or Madrid, Oslo or Brussels, Beirut and Ankara.
The continuing war in Syria means that there is no end in sight to the refugee crisis. Only a few EU countries — Austria, Germany and Sweden — have taken in very large numbers.… Seguir leyendo »
Under Chancellor Angela Merkel, Germany has been taking a hard line on Russia: Ms. Merkel has repeatedly criticized attempts by President Vladimir Putin to keep Russia’s neighbors away from the European Union, and she has been outspoken about the Kremlin’s muzzling of the media, the banning of nongovernmental organizations and the spread of corruption.
Clearly, Mr. Putin is not pleased. Yet it is not Moscow that presents the biggest challenge to Ms. Merkel’s line on Russia. It will be her new coalition partners in Berlin, the Social Democrats, and in particular the new foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
This is bad news both for Europe and for the United States: Ms.… Seguir leyendo »