Returning from a visit to the United States, where he took part in the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, the Belgian Security and Home Affairs Minister, Jan Jambon, announced this week the creation of a new database on jihadists. The database will include information on the 380 persons known to have connections with terrorists groups affiliated with ISIS. A delicate balance needs to be struck between law enforcement and respect for human rights.
Romania has been among the countries topping the corruption list for years. The sentences just imposed on two former ministers are part of a string of cases involving high government officials in the past three years. The successful prosecution of high-level corruption cases has been recognized by the European Commission. However, preventing corruption in the country remains a challenge.
1. Podemos has become the preferred political option in Spain.
Podemos (“We can”) is the only party in recent history to rise at the top of national electorate preferences in less than a year. If elections were held in Spain tomorrow, Podemos would win a decent, although probably not absolute majority in the country’s parliament (a poll published in January by EL País ranked Podemos first, with 28% of the vote). The party was officially founded in 2014, and was born out of the Indignados movement, an heterogeneous platform created in Spain in 2012 to lead protests against the established political system. In less than a year, Podemos gained over 300,000 members and the potential support of almost 3.5 million voters through the set-up of an Internet-based network. The party already won five seats out of Spain’s 54 in the European Parliament at the May 2014 elections.
“If you give people more opportunities to move, then you decrease the pressure on irregular migration”.
Yves Pascouau is Director of Migration and Mobility Policies at the European Policy Centre. He holds a PhD in Law from the University of Pau in France and he worked extensively on migration management. Beside his current position at EPC, he is the editor of the online legal website European Migration Law www.europeanmigrationlaw.eu.
Chocolate lovers could indulge in their passion at the Brussels chocolate fair. Several chocolate and cocoa shows made it worth waiting in the queue for half an hour to get tickets. The stands were invaded by curious, craving eyes, looking at the sweet delights.
Stable energy prices and a smooth supply of gas are a priority for Europeans, according to a special EU opinion poll on climate change held last year. The European Commission under its current president, Jean-Claude Juncker, seems to have heeded the concerns of Europeans and crafted a grand plan to form an energy union that would reduce dependency on Russian gas while fighting climate change. The energy union focuses on five different areas, also called dimensions, but the first one, security of supply, is by far the one that weighs more heavily in terms of EU’s foreign policy. It basically aims at reducing the dependence on imports.
So far the responses have been divided. France, the country most exposed to Greece’s debt due to its heavy bank and private lending, welcomed Syriza’s win. François Hollande vowed cooperation with the newly-formed Greek government, recalling “the friendship that unites” the two countries. But Germany’s Angela Merkel was more straightforward. Her spokesman said that Greece should continue to economic recovery and stick “to its previous commitments”. The European Popular Party leader, Manfred Weber, followed the same course, calling Tsipras electoral promises “empty”.
Radical parties across Europe widely welcome Greece’s electoral results. Left wing radical parties in the European Union congratulated Syriza’s Tsipras, with Spain’s Podemos welcoming the “real Greek president, not a delegate of Angela Merkel”.
Europe is a continent of migrants. Millions of EU citizens move freely between member states every year, thus contributing to GDP growth. An additional 11% of the total EU population of 500 millions are immigrants coming from outside the EU. Most of foreign immigrants cross the borders into Europe as asylum seekers.