Sunday

23rd Jan 2022

Transparency, Interrupted

The European Union adopted its access regulation at the turn of this century. But as work went digital, the rules have failed to keep pace. A lot still goes unrecorded or unregistered, and cannot be accessed easily, if at all.

News in Brief

  1. 'No embargo' on meetings with Putin, EU says
  2. Austria to fine unvaccinated people €3,600
  3. MEP: Airlines should start paying for CO2 sooner
  4. Twitter forced to disclose what it does to tackle hate speech
  5. EU watchdog calls for ban on political microtargeting
  6. MEPs adopt position on Digital Service Act
  7. Blinken delivers stark warning to Russia in Berlin
  8. Hungary's Orbán to discuss nuclear project with Putin

Quick Take: Enrico Letta

Speaking at the Global Progressive Forum, former Italian prime minister Enrico Letta describes the victim-shaming of Italy and Spain during the financial crisis - and explains how a big bag of money from Brussels may be helping heal the wounds.

Book Club: The Scent of Wild Animals

Liberal lawmaker Sophie in 't Veld says the European Union's survival depends on overcoming creeping sclerosis, ending acquiescence to autocrats, and embracing the kind of political spectacle that captures the public imagination.

The climate allies Europe needs

With the COP26 climate conference about to get underway in Glasgow, major breakthroughs look elusive. Among the spectres at the feast are raging geopolitical tensions, high energy prices, the ongoing pandemic and a lack of diplomatic vigour from Europe.

Hedegaard on the hazards of stalling climate action

In 2009 Connie Hedegaard presided over the Copenhagen climate conference that ended in rancour - and left Europe on the sidelines. Hedegaard went on to become the first European commissioner for climate action.

Book Club: The Last Bluff

In this first EU Scream Book Club, co-authors of The Last Bluff recount how the world watched in awe — and often admiration — as a scrappy government in Athens tried to stare down Europe's financial and political establishment.

A hunger strike at the heart of Europe

This summer some 450 undocumented workers and migrants in Brussels refused food during two months. They were protesting Belgian immigration rules that human rights officials and campaigners say arbitrarily obstruct them from legal and stable residency.

Eurocrats who look like Europe

There is a double standard at the heart of the European Commission. Women — mostly white women — benefit from affirmative action when applying for jobs. But people of colour seeking advancement do not benefit from special consideration.

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us

First aid for Polish democracy

Parallels with the Soviet era are increasingly evident in Poland - where the ruling coalition hounds judges and captures courts.

Why Ursula von der Leyen won't go

Ursula von der Leyen appears secure in her job as president of the European Commission. That's despite a troubled vaccine rollout in which delayed deliveries can cost lives and livelihoods.

Taking Brexit personally

James Crisp has Boris Johnson's old job in Brussels covering EU affairs for The Daily Telegraph. He often writes with that jaundiced eye on the European project you'd expect from a correspondent on a venerable Conservative UK newspaper.

When Conservatives endanger democracy

In this episode Daniel Ziblatt discusses the dilemmas facing Europe's modern-day conservative parties - including the German Christian Democratic Union and the European People's Party.

Honesty is the best policy

Politicians mostly talk about shutting migrants out. That endangers migrants' lives and obscures an important truth: that Europe already relies on large numbers of migrants for farming and manufacturing.

Showdowns over the rule of law

Brussels is increasingly expected to serve as the European Union's sheriff on rule of law - but its ability to enforce adherence to democratic norms and values remains weak.

Apostles of intersectionality challenge Europe

Intersectionality is the concept that overlapping identities - disability, gender, race and sexual-orientation for example - create forms of discrimination that can go unaddressed. But many EU leaders are wary of the kind of identity politics that intersectionality implies.

Online violence: Stories from Bulgaria and Spain

Bigots and far-right extremists are using online violence to try to silence feminists and LGBT people. It's a cowardly tactic since perpetrators don't even have to meet their targets. We hear stories from two Europeans on the receiving end

Ylva Johansson on Migration and Drama Queens

Commissioner for home affairs, Ylva Johansson, would like to win the approval of all EU member states for a new proposal for a common asylum and migration policy - something her predecessors failed to do.

Latest News

  1. Lawyers threaten action over new EU gas and nuclear rules
  2. MEPs urge inclusion of abortion rights in EU charter
  3. EU orders Poland to pay €70m in fines
  4. Dutch mayors protest strict lockdown measures
  5. Macron promises strong EU borders
  6. MEPs to crackdown on digital 'Wild West'
  7. Macron calls for new security order and talks with Russia
  8. Macron's vision will hit EU Council veto buffers

Data and Dystopia

Despite concerns about civil liberties and activities of companies like Clearview AI and Palantir, EU authorities are shaping a new industrial policy around artificial intelligence.

Standing up to bullies with Frans Timmermans

To succeed Timmermans needs to stand up to governments and vested interests rushing to reboot economies crashed by the coronavirus. That means ensuring the trillions of euros the EU and its member states spend transform rather than entrench polluting industries.

Winning the Car Wars

Lockdowns in response to the coronavirus mean quieter cities, clearer skies and easier breathing. For many city dwellers the lack of cars has been a revelation amid the suffering and loss inflicted by Covid-19.

Angst over 'Italexit'

Italians were hit hardest when the coronavirus landed in Europe but the European Union was slow to help the country. The president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen has apologised — twice.

The high price of muzzling media

The coronavirus outbreak has been a pretext for government censorship and a crackdown on journalists, who have been exposed to new criminal charges as well as violent attacks.

Crisis communications

When journalists were barred from the EU commission press room in March because of coronavirus, the relatively-new chief spokesperson, Eric Mamer, amiable Frenchman, had to improvise.

Věra Jourová on surveillance and Covid-19

Commissioner for values and transparency, Věra Jourová, says Brussels will vet moves in Hungary to give prime minister Viktor Orbán scope to rule by decree and urges Facebook and Google to push official health advice to WhatsApp and YouTube.

Coronavirus vs Democracy

Concern is growing that emergency powers deployed to control the coronavirus pandemic will be used to erode democracy and civil rights.

A Field Guide to Autocrats

Beware the modernisers and saviours - autocrats often play the 'saving democracy' card as they undermine it.

Macron's ugly side

For many people, Emmanuel Macron still represents the great hope for an open and liberal Europe. So what to make of the French president's growing preoccupation with Islam, terror and security?

Don't Fall For Fascist Porn

Far-right trolls commonly target women and minorities and seek to subvert the work of politicians, journalists and activists. But technology platforms and their supporters tend to resist legislation that could help tame the trolls.

A World We Have Lost

Ahdaf Soueif, who recently resigned from the British Museum, talks about the persistence of racist thinking, EU-funded authoritarianism in Egypt, and the Cold War roots of terror.

Cultural Battlefield

Marta Keil knows firsthand the pressure on culture from Poland's ruling Law and Justice party. Her overview begins at the Polski theatre in the city of Wrocław, and describes an epic clash as the Polish museum sector is steadily hollowed-out.

Not That Ambassador

Gordon Sondland, Donald Trump's ambassador to the EU, is due to appear before the House impeachment inquiry in Washington on Thursday. His predecessor as ambassador, Anthony Gardner, talks about the role, and his successor, on our EU Scream podcast.