Austria's first green-tinged government -- comprising the Austrian People's Party and the Austrian Green Party -- broke ground in the Alpine state earlier this month. Not only is the environmentalist Green Party in a national government for the first time, but the coalition's agenda will make Austria a trailblazer in climate protection. Germany's next general election, scheduled for 2021, however, might yield an even bigger bombshell: a Green chancellor for the first time in post-war continental Europe.
Indeed, the stars must line up for the party that embodies the environmental cause -- these days in the form of climate protection -- like no other in Germany.… Seguir leyendo »
Apocalyptic scenes are playing out across Australia as bushfires have burned millions of acres and ravaged more than 1,000 homes in New South Wales alone.
The bright orange haze may look like something out of a dystopic science fiction film -- or even Dante's Inferno -- but this is Australia's current reality. A total of 20 people have died, and the photographs of human suffering are foreboding: native Australians have poured out of smoke-shrouded towns as the flames creep nearer, while people along the coast have taken refuge on beaches.
These are scenes from an Earth that is becoming uninhabitable amid raging wildfires, severe hurricanes and floods, record droughts and rising sea levels that have already submerged islands.… Seguir leyendo »
The reunification of Germany, in 1990, was a moment of exalted pride for the postwar federal republic. After decades of warning that a united country would resurrect the horrors of the 20th century, its neighbors and allies, many of them former battlefield foes, came around to accept and even welcome it. That’s in large part because, during those same decades, West Germany had undertaken a self-administered “Vergangenheitsbewältigung,” a mouthful of a German word that translates as something like “the overcoming of the past,” and refers to the country’s collective effort to grapple with the causes and legacies of the Nazi era.… Seguir leyendo »
The EU's straits have grown more dire, as polling shows Euroskeptic, far-right populist parties chalking up heady gains in the European Parliament elections, which take place in May.
The hard right's numbers won't be nearly enough to command the Brussels-based locus of European democracy, but its combined forces could throw another spanner into the Union's already challenged machinery.
Thus, all the more urgent is the EU's contorted mission to win back the trust of its citizens.
Obviously, its original narrative, one that powered it through the postwar decades -- namely of peace through cooperation and economic integration on a united continent -- no longer resonates with many Europeans, particularly the young.… Seguir leyendo »
To hear it from politicians and political commentators, Germany is helpless in the face of a mounting refugee crisis — after accepting more than a million over the past few years, the country is bursting at the seams.
But that’s just a convenient — if dangerous — narrative for our immigration-wary times. In fact, Germany is moving at full speed with a plan to channel those refugees into its work force. Germany’s political class is doing the country an egregious disfavor by soft-pedaling its muscular, state-of-the-art efforts in labor market integration.
Germany does indeed face a demographic crisis, but it’s not from the influx of refugees.… Seguir leyendo »
The original East bloc was the swath of countries cutting through Cold War Europe's middle -- from Poland to Bulgaria -- that endured four decades of Soviet-imposed communist rule.
The unloved labels of "East bloc" and "Eastern Europe" were demonstrably cast off when the velvet revolutions of 1989 swept across the region, upending the Moscow-loyal regimes and paving the way for free elections and multiparty democracy.
Europe's communist satellites -- and soon after the Baltics as well as Yugoslavia's northern states, reclaimed their identity as Central Europeans -- proudly asserting sovereignty and reconnecting to nationalist and democratic traditions dormant since 1945.… Seguir leyendo »