BullsEye October 2016 / 54th Year / No. 65 / ISSN 2033-7809
The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
The Clean Continent
- Tackling Climate Change and Environmental Challenges
Dear Readers, There is little doubt that the summer of 2016 will enter the history books. Such was the staggering pace and momentousness of events, be it Trump’s accomplished ascension to the US presidential candidacy, terrorism in Nice and Germany, the coup attempt in Turkey or, of course, Brexit. Yet the breath-taking succession of crises should not blind us to the other, less obvious challenges ahead of Europe – challenges that will shape the history of mankind to an equal, if not greater measure as those of this fateful summer of 2016. For this was not only in political terms a hot season: 2016’s summer will likely become the warmest on record. Already, scientists predict that this year will be the hottest recorded in human history – a questionable merit previously held by 2015 and 2014. The pace of climate change is proceeding at an ever faster and alarming rate, despite our long-ranging awareness of it. Already in 1989, British Prime Minister and EDS Honorary Chairwoman Margaret Thatcher raised the issue before the UN General Assembly: “The problem of global climate change is one that affects us all and action will only be effective if it is taken at the international level.” More than a quarter of a century, several summits and accords later, her words have not lost any relevance. Rather the contrary – we must still ask ourselves: how can we as Europeans respond to this well and truly existential challenge before us? To set out the state of affairs on climate change and the prospective measures to be taken on the European and global level is the topic of this first issue of BullsEye for the new working year. For as the Iron Lady said in New York: “We are not the lords, we are the Lord’s creatures, the trustees of this planet, charged today with preserving life itself— preserving life with all its mystery and all its wonder.” With these words, we, the BullsEye Editorial Team 2016/2017, welcome you to a new and hopefully productive working year! I wish you a pleasant and as ever thought-provoking read, Henrique Laitenberger Editor-in-Chief
Dear Readers, After a successful Summer University in Cyprus, I would like to welcome you to both a new working year and a new issue of EDS’ in-house magazine BullsEye. The new term starts with a clear focus on environmental issues. While EDS has already debated the future of the EU energy strategy in Larnaca in August, attention is now been put on the challenges, which arise of climate change. Climate change is not a new phenomenon and society has always been in a strong dependence on climate variability and developments. Particularly since the last century, our climate is continuously heating worldwide. This trend of global warming is also accompanied by a rise in sea level and the melting of glaciers and ice caps. In addition, extreme events such as heavy precipitation and heat waves are more common. Overall, it is expected that these effects will affect mainly the south of the globe. Particularly in Mediterranean regions desertification, water scarcity and forest fires will increase, which will probably lead to resource conflicts, an increase in natural disasters and trigger a new wave of environmental migration. The reasons and effects of climate change are very complex. What is certain is that these developments are strongly influenced by human behaviour. The recorded human activities which starts with the initialisation of the industrial age, in particular the high consumption of fossil fuels by an explosive increase in world population, have damaged detectable our environment. Studies show that each year, we consume fifty percent more resources than the earth can produce sustainably within this period. This constellation will have farreaching consequences for the economy, society and settlement structures with itself. It is our responsibility as young generation to deal with the question of what adaptive measures are possible and must be taken in order to counteract these developments. In this spirit, I hope this issue will provide you with a thought-provoking impulse.
Current Affairs 04 A Last Hope for the Only Democracy in the Arab World 06 You Can Have It Both Ways 07 Nationality for Sale? 08 How Three Small States Fought for their Great Liberty
Theme 09 Green is Good? 10 Lifesaver or Dog Without Teeth? 12 The Path to Sustainability
BE ON 14 A Failed State? 16 Interview with David McAllister MEP and Charles Tannock MEP 19 Make Russia Great Again? 20 From Likes to Votes 22 The Open Society at Risk 24 “Franchise Terrorism” 26 The Oldest Hatred Returns
Universities 27 Education Nations 28 Beyond the Ivory Tower
Council of Europe 30 The State of Emergency 31 Bureau
Silvie Rohr Vice-Chairwoman
BULLSEYE The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
ISSN: Print: 2033-7809 Online: 2033-7817 Editor-in-Chief: Henrique Laitenberger Editorial Team: Olivia Andersson, Khrystyna Brodych, Ramy Jabbour, Maciej Kmita, Julien Sassel, Manuel Schlaffer, Neil Smart Costantino, Sarah Wolpers, Teodoras Žukas Contributions: Marwan Abdallah, Teodoras Žukas, Neil Smart Costantino, Illimar Lipik von Wirén, Khrystyna Brodych, Manuel Schlaffer, Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Julien Sassel, David McAllister, Charles Tannock, Henrique Laitenberger, Olivia Andersson, Sarah Wolpers, Redha Rubaie, Ramy Jabbour, Tamir Wertzberger, Maciej Kmita, Leah Broad, Silvie Rohr Photos: Balàzs Szecsődi, Péter Láng, European Parliament DG COMMS, Steve Haywood/AHRC, 123RF and Shutterstock Design: creacion.si Publisher: European Democrat Students, B-1000 Brussels, Rue du Commerce 10 Tel: +32 2 2854-150 Fax: +32 2 2854-141 Email: email@example.com Website: edsnet.eu Articles and opinions published in the magazine are not necessarily reflecting the position of EDS, the EDS Bureau or the Editorial team
Publication supported by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union and European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe
Welcome to the first edition of BullsEye, the official debating magazine of the European Democrat Students, the largest student family of the centre-right for the year 2016/2017. The past year has been truly momentous for EDS and we are proud of the important contributions we have made to improving the welfare of students not only within the EU, but also in its neighbourhood. We organised a tremendous number of events, with the second half of the working year seeing a great emphasis being placed on the EU and the challenges it presently encounters. We introduced our first event of a series of Centre-Right Academies and worked closely with Members of the European Parliament, amongst others, by supporting important projects. Likewise, we introduced a brand-new BullsEye website and compressed our long history into a two minutes video released at our 55th anniversary celebration in Berlin. On the occasion of the British Referendum, we released the “We Love Europe” video which kicked-off our #iMEurope campaign which ultimately culminated in a White Paper approved at our recent Annual Meeting in Cyprus. When it comes to reaching out to new members and guest organisations, the past working year can be marked by growth, as we welcomed a great number of new members to our EDS family. With regards to policy-making, we managed to establish concrete policies and made significant contributions to the EPP’s policy agenda. Commencing the new working year, undeniably, events in Europe are moving fast and the political landscape has been altered so severely that the decisive moment has been brought forward. We
are the generation that has been granted the role of defending the European project in its hour of maximum danger and EDS will not shrink from this responsibility. To a large extent, the refugee crisis, terrorism and the other challenges encountered by the European Union will continue to dominate the debates, however, we should not neglect important tasks on which further progress must be made; and climate change is one of them. We still have a lot to learn about climate change, why it’s happening and what it means. However, the evidence for rapid climate change is compelling. This is certainly one of this century’s greatest threats, jeopardising not only the global economy but our health. On account of this, for our first CM, we deliberated to meet in Venice, a city which is already witnessing the effects of climate change. Here, we will discuss the way forward and develop our own policies in relation to this issue.
This welcome note marks the beginning of the working year 2016/17 - on behalf of the new EDS Bureau; I would like to thank everyone for the support we received at the Summer University in Cyprus. The new EDS team has already discussed our next policy priorities and made an event plan for the new working year during our second Bureau Meeting in Brussels which took place alongside the Co-Chair and Editorial Team training. For now, please enjoy reading our new issue of BullsEye and keep in mind that the EDS Bureau is always interested in receiving feedback, hearing your ideas, and discovering more ways to proudly serve students across Europe.
With best regards from the EDS bureau,
Georgios Chatzigeorgiou Chairman
A Last Hope for the Only Democracy in the Arab World – The State of Affairs After Lebanon’s Municipal Elections After almost two years without an elected head of state and seven years since the last parliamentary elections, Lebanon’s democratic political system is shaken. The Arab World’s oldest democracy is on the edge of losing its unique system and potentially collapsing due to the huge political, economic, social and demographic burdens that the country is suffering from. In case of a vacancy in the Presidential seat, according to Article 75 of the Lebanese Constitution, the parliament has the one and only duty to elect a President without playing a legislative role. This has been the case in the country since 25 May 2014. A paralysed parliament, a failed multiparty cabinet suffering from political divisions among its constituent parties, and a public administration steadily weakened by government inefficiency and the political status quo are the simple ingredients to the current crisis of the Lebanese democratic system. Upon the failure of the Lebanese central government in dealing with major issues facing the country, from the colossal refugees crisis that is crippling the economy and raising an equally significant security question, to the garbage crisis which erupted in July 2015 and continues to challenge a centralised system that is failing to find a sustainable solution for this problem. To this the continuous threat of extremist armed groups inside the country, particularly on its Eastern and Northern borders, is added.
The local authorities or municipalities remain the last hope for the Lebanese citizens to have state institutions that reflect their dreams and ambitions. In the midst of this chaos, an opportunity of hope for this fragile democracy appeared during the last municipal elections that took place in May 2016. Lebanon’s elected municipal councils were reinstated in 1998 after fifteen years of civil war. The bodies are elected on a mandate of six years and amount to more than 1,100 municipal councils across the country. Debate in the municipal elections was taken to a whole new level in 2016. Overcoming the traditional family and political divisions that usually shaped the discourse during these campaigns, the most recent exercise in local democracy witnessed a modern and advanced debate focusing on developmental programmes, as well as ideas and solutions for the current crisis that the country is facing. The Lebanese people were reminded what a free democratic election can look like – hoping not to face yet
another disappointment. Another success was the large number of young members elected to municipal councils with all the added value and energy they will be bringing to the institutions. Another development worth mentioning was the respectable increase in women candidates and elected members as compared to previous elections; these changes show how involved Lebanese citizens became and how thirsty they are to champion positive changes in their society. With a noteworthy share of powers by law, yet little ability to exercise them in practice and a duty to increase expenditure on infrastructure and development while funds are controlled by the central government, municipal councils face great challenges when seeking to meet the expectations of their communities. Yet any budget approved by the municipal council requires a pre- and post-evaluation by the central government. Approval of government employees and a bureaucratic process that makes it unlikely for municipalities to be able to fulfill their
duties, in addition to being the last working elected bodies, dealing with all the failures of the central government. Supported by private initiatives and international donors, many municipalities succeeded in dealing with many challenges facing their communities – which should have been dealt with by the central government in the first place – and provided the taxpayers with what is at the first place their basic right. With the importance of such an achievement, the Lebanese democracy is yet to prove its viability in the 2017 Parliamentary elections scheduled to take place next spring. A new parliament will be the starting point in reestablishing the people’s trust in state institutions by electing a new president – if such step was not achieved before spring 2017 – and approving a new government that can deal with the principal challenges on the security, economic and social level. Looking at the current security situation and the ongoing debate about the amendment for the parliamentary electoral law, one would say that such elections will not take
place and that the status quo will remain; a scenario that all Lebanese youth will make sure to prevent. For the international community and the neighboring countries, a strong, stable and democratic Lebanon is a pivotal need to secure stability in the region. A country hosting a number of refugees equal to a third of its population will face a terrible shakedown if its political structures may face further traumatisms. Such a requirement should also be supported by continuous international aid to the country’s state institutions, most significantly the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) who are protecting the country from terror groups and extremists. Today, additional support needs to be provided to local governments and municipalities. In direct contact with citizens and with an important role in sustainable development, municipalities rely greatly on foreign support and partnerships. Whilst financial support still tops the priority of these councils, technical and in kind support are also needed, particularly when dealing with daily problems
such as waste management and electricity shutdowns. In the midst of the Lebanese Civil War, former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel proclaimed: “Give Lebanon peace and take what astounds the world”. Today, peace and stability are still what Lebanon needs and what the Lebanese people deserve.
You Can Have It Both Ways - The NATO Summit in Warsaw The current security situation in Europe called upon the necessity to arrange the meeting of the heads of countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance. During the Warsaw Summit NATO agreed on many measures on how to tackle today’s challenges. NATO has decided to establish multinational battalions in order to strengthen the security of NATO eastern flank. The Western leaders came to the decision to sign a joint declaration of cooperation between EU and NATO in order to tackle hybrid threats from Islamic terrorism and Russia. Overall, the Warsaw Summit reflected Europe’s interchanging perspective towards international order, security and main threats.
The spring of 2014 marked a shift in Europe’s security architecture. When Russia annexed Crimea and invaded East Ukraine, we witnessed an act of aggression unseen in Europe for a long time. Since that date, a remarkable shift in the rhetoric of the Western leaders has occurred. The most pertinent example of this tendency were President Obama’s words in Talinn, Estonia in September 2014. As Europe was still shaken by evidence of Russia’s direct involvement in the conflict in East Ukraine and a Malaysia Airlines plane likely shot down by pro-Russian separatists, President Obama pointed out that “the defence of Talinn, Riga and Vilnius is just as important as the defence of Berlin, Paris and London”. These words ushered in a new era of relations between Russia and the West, which in some form is harking back to Cold War days, when strength was a prime instrument in governing the relations between two confronting systems. From 8 to 9 July 2016, Western leaders gathered at a historically symbolic place where seventy-seven years ago, the two totalitarian giants were sharing Poland and Europe. In the city where the Warsaw Pact organisation was established, in order to oppose NATO, the leaders of the free world assembled to tackle the challenges we are facing today. At this summit, NATO once again assured the whole alliance that Article V was crystal clear and would be activated if the need arose. Supposing the NATO summit in Wales 2014 was all about assurance, the Warsaw Summit focused to a greater extent on deterrence. The measures implemented were evidence of a widespread, great will to deter Russia. NATO agreed that dialogue and deterrence most go hand in hand.
The most significant practical innovation of the Warsaw Summit was the creation of multi-national battalions, in order for countries to share the burden of operation and ensure a smooth and warranted functioning of Article V. Aware that Central and Eastern Europe countries, especially the Baltic states, are facing the most tangible threat from Russia, these multi-national battalions will be deployed in each of the Baltic states and Poland by 2018. This invention is a clear sign that the NATO alliance is starting to use the formula of deterrence and dialogue. On the other hand, there were voices that the creation of multi-national battalions were insufficient in deterring Russia, which has approximately 40,000 troops near NATO‘s eastern flank. However, Europe is not only facing a threat from Russia, but a colossal menace from Islamic terrorism, as seen with the recent tragedies in Nice, Brussels, and Paris. In response to this, the EU and NATO signed a joint declaration of cooperation. The main goals of this declaration are to boost the ability of both organisations to counter hybrid threats, including bolstering resilience, working together on analysis, prevention, and early detection, through timely information sharing and intelligence sharing between staffs. NATO and EU agreed to expand mutual coordination on cyber security and defence, including in the context of their missions and operations, exercises and on education and training. It is expected that these initiatives will help to withstand Islamic terrorism and to confront active hybrid attacks from Russia. The Warsaw summit was held just a two weeks after the historic Brexit referendum. The now former UK Prime Minister David Cameron attended the summit with a concrete message that the United Kingdom will not abandon the European security architecture. In his speech
in Warsaw, Cameron thus stated: “I think this summit has underlined one very important message – that while Britain may be leaving the European Union, we are not withdrawing from the world, nor are we turning our back on Europe or on European security.” Indeed, after Brexit, the leaders of Britain were worried about their country’s future role on continental issues, and the Warsaw Summit was a brilliant chance for them to guarantee that Britain will stand by her NATO allies. The Warsaw Summit in one way marked not only a practical but also a philosophical shift in Europe’s approach to security matters. During the Cold War, Europeans were spoiled by all-reaching, everlasting American military might. Powerful and influential European countries got used to the idea that America would always be there. Today, aware of its economic might, Europe agreed to contribute more. The return to the two-way strategy - dialogue and deterrence - is a clear sign of Europe’s changing perception concerning security. At the Warsaw summit Europe has admitted that the fundamental values which we, Europeans, represent - liberty, democracy, the rule of law, freedom of press, freedom of religion, et cetera - should not only be justified by politically correct slogans, but, inevitably, by Typhoon aircrafts, Abrams tanks, Apache helicopters and other freedom defenders.
Nationality for Sale? The Maltese Passport Purchase Scheme Back in 2013, the Maltese people were expecting a breath of fresh air and a new way of Governance. However, everyone was left stunned when Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced the “Individual Investor Programme” (IIP) intending to sell Maltese Passports to multi-million businesspeople, thus giving them access to all the benefits that come along with EU citizenship; after satisfying, a stringent duediligence test, which later on turned out to be not so diligent after all. Ever since Malta joined the European Union in 2004, everything was rather plain sailing for the country. Nevertheless, the change in governance came as no surprise: after twenty-five years of leadership by the centre-right Nationalist Party, it was expected that the newly elected socialist Government would bring about many alterations – but not this. Telling any citizen that their citizenship could be bought for a couple of hundreds of thousands of Euros is simply atrocious. It would seem laughable if any Prime Minister came out saying that their government was to introduce such a scheme. Yet such a very scheme was introduced back in October 2013, months after the Labour Party’s landslide win: the new Prime Minister Joseph Muscat addressed the media to announce what probably then was the biggest shock for many. The Prime Minister had announced the launch of a new scheme, called the “Individual Investor Programme” – whereby any multi-millionaire residing anywhere in the world could dig in into his pockets, fork out 650,000 Euros, and buy himself a Maltese Passport. The spokesman for Home Affairs of the European Commission came out saying that, “Member states have full sovereignty to decide to whom and how they grant their nationality”. That is completely factual. This was not a case in which the EU had an authority to intervene, rendering matters worse. At times when terrorism across the world is tormenting families daily, the Maltese Prime Minister decided to make Maltese Citizenship - and consequently, European Citizenship - available for anyone to buy. Making itself heard at the European level has always been challenging for Malta. This seemed to do the trick – with the newly introduced scheme drawing criticism from all across Europe. Ana Gomes, a Member of the European Parliament with the Socialists and Democrats Party, home of the Maltese Labour Party, was very vocal in her “disgust” at this scheme, stating that this “put at risk the integrity of the Schengen system.” She went as far as suggesting that an “investigation by the EU Commission to look into member state investor schemes, not just Malta’s.” had to take place. To be absolutely fair, the effect that IIP is
having on the Maltese economy is phenomenal. Indeed, Henley and Partners, the main company operating this programme, stated in 2015 that with over one billion Euros raised in capital for the Maltese Economy since its conception, the scheme could be deemed the most successful of its kind. Having Member States with such a solid economy is fundamental for the Union – but one’s citizenship brings with it much more than money generated into the economy of that country. At a defining moment for Europeans, Joseph Muscat has brought something to the table which will potentially trigger populism – no one would want to be part of a bloc where someone is bringing over uninvited people.
and exceed the economic accomplishment which this government seems to be achieving. However this cannot be done by selling, potentially dangerous, multi-millionaires a back door into Europe. Now the ball is in the court of the opposition, who has the responsibility to stand up and be counted, at a time where both Europe, and Malta, need a champion.
The cherry on the cake is the fact that Maltese Government has so far refused to publicise the names of the people benefitting from the IIP; and when the majority of applicants happen to be Russian, Chinese and from the Middle East – all of which have not always had the rosiest of relationships with the EU in the past - people have every right to scratch their heads. The Government has time and time again stated that all applicants go through the “most stringent of due diligence tests”, but Mossack Fonseca disagrees. They went on to find that the Maltese requirements are “few of the easiest to satisfy”. Unsurprisingly, the leader of the Nationalist Party (PN), Simon Busuttil, officially declared that should he be elected Prime Minister, he would strip any buyers of their new passports. The position of the party has been abundantly clear in this situation, with Justice and Civil Liberties MEP of the Year 2016, Roberta Metsola also slamming the government for taking such a decision. “The sale of citizenship without any tangible connection to a Member State is something that is of concern. European citizenship confers certain rights which should simply never just be put up for sale.” The declarations made by the PN fill me with a sense of encouragement for the future of Malta as a European nation. Simon Busuttil should unquestionably aim to make the same economic success as his counterpart. With all the potential that comes with a country like Malta, one has a plethora of opportunities to reach
Neil Smart Costantino
How Three Small States Fought for Their Great Freedom – 25 Years of Baltic Independence “You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” - Margaret Thatcher In August 2016, a quarter of a century passed since the Baltic independence movement culminated with the restoration of three independent countries- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. All three Baltic states who had become independent states in the beginning of the 20th century, had to fight for the right to remain independent for more than one physical and psychological battle. The Baltic states remained free for approximately twenty years prior to the Second World War, but on 23 August 1939, theirs, and the whole of Europe’s fate was critically changed for the next half a century. Molotov and Ribbentrop, on behalf of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, signed a secret protocol, which split Europe into two halves, leaving the Baltic states under the Soviet sphere of influence, or in other words, territory that they could freely occupy, without Nazi Germany interfering in their business. It is very important to remind ourselves of the often forgotten fact that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were at one point friends and allies and, one could say, even competed over who could eliminate people in a more time- and cost-efficient manner. Although the Soviet Union ended up on the Allied side with the US, the UK and others, whereas Hitler on the Axis side, together with Italy and Japan, one has to remember that after the Second World War in 1945, the Soviet Union “forgot” that half of Europe had been under its occupation until 1941. Another fact that is often forgotten is that besides the terror and horrendous crimes which Nazi Germany committed, the Soviet Union and other Communist regimes around the whole World, in total killed approximately 80-100 million people (The Black Book of Communism). Even inside Europe, Soviet Union soldiers raped approximately 2 million girls and women in 1945, after the capitulation of Berlin. Fortunately all three Baltic states had a very strongminded and committed diaspora in the West, who had fled there from the Soviet terror, with small boats, putting their and their families’ lives in great danger. Many did not make their way to freedom and their lives ended on the stormy seas. Throughout the Cold War, the diaspora of the Baltic states fought hard politically to make themselves
heard loud and clear, emphatically stating that the Soviet Union had occupied their countries, and the need to restore their nations’ freedom. However, even in the West, Soviet clandestine intelligence operatives tried to silence this opposition and target outspoken members of the diaspora, often seeking to persuade them to co-operate with them. Fortunately, the majority remained strong and loyal to their countries, and with the joint work of the diaspora, student fraternitys, exile governments and the political allies in the West, the fight for freedom remained vivid until the collapse of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 1990s. Of course one cannot forget that inside Estonia and the two other Baltic states, many people tried to fight Soviet rule from the inside. Paramilitary groups, such as the Forest brothers in Estonia, hid themselves in the forest, dug bunkers, gathered weapons and ammunition, and executed military operations against the occupying forces. Although they did their best to fight, eventually all of them were either murdered or lost their lives in the forests. Towards the end of the 1980s, young Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians started to notice that the Soviet system is starting to crumble and saw a window of opportunity to slowly but surely start moving towards re-independence. A 700 kilometre long Baltic Chain was formed in 1989 by 2 million people holding their hands from Tallinn to Vilnius, showing the World that we still existed and wanted our freedom back. There was a Singing Revolution, also part of the freedom movement, where people came together en masse to sing patriotic songs and wave their national flags after half a century of occupation. At the beginning of the 1990s, the Iron Curtain was torn down, the Evil Empire collapsed and once again the Baltic States were free. Estonia was very fortunate, that we happened to have very young, bright and lucrative people, such as Mart Laar, Jüri Luik, Lennart
Meri and many others who were at the right place, at the right time, and started to build a Westernminded and Western-orientated independent Estonia. Their bold political moves were criticised both at home and abroad. They were criticised by the IMF for implementing the flat tax which no country had done before. They were criticised for taking a 180 degree turn from the East to the West, both in terms of economic and defence policy, as well as in terms of mentality. Becoming A member of the European Union and NATO in 2004 was an unimaginable dream in 1991, but the strong belief in it and the sweat, tears and hard work put into it, gave results. In 2016, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are all three independent and successful European countries, who are currently better off than ever before, and more defended than ever by their own military forces and our allies in NATO. This is all thanks to the people who gave their lives or fought for the Baltic states on the blood-torn battlefields, in cold Siberian gulags, in the deep dark forests or abroad on the streets or in foreign parliaments long corridors. Democracy is fragile, and many countries still remain a threat to the Baltic states and the European peace. We have to remember the past, we need to be bright, brave and bold in our decisions in order to keep our independent states independent and our free people free.
Illimar Lipik von Wirén - Advisor to the Secretary General, Ministry of Justice (IRL Estonia)
Green is Good? The State of Renewable Energy Technology How does one measure how green you are? What is meant by “green”? Is a Tesla car green? How much energy do we really need? There are hundreds of questions we can ask ourselves trying to understand this conundrum – “green” and how good it is.
We believe we all want Europe to be the world’s leader in development of advanced and competitive green technology. There are well-known short and midterm targets of a 20% share of renewables in EU energy system by 2020, and 27% by 2030. Also, with the Paris Agreement universally adopted in December 2015 by all parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, we have come to believe to have entered a new era of clean energy growth. Let us subject this premise to a reality check: renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and modern biofuels supply no more than 3% of the world’s primary energy. We must agree that in some EU countries wind and solar electricity are much more noticeable. In Germany, one of the largest industrial nations, about 27 percent of electricity came from renewable energy sources in 2015. This is three times its share from a decade ago. However, scientists say that going further will be challenging technically and cost-wise. At the same time in 2015, significant strides were made in the financing of renewable energy technologies. In accordance with the Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016, we should be confident that we are on the right path to reach our objectives, including the ones under the Sustainable Development Goals as
2015 produced a new record for global investment in a renewable energy. The amount of money committed to renewables excluding large hydro-electric projects rose 5% to $285.9 billion, exceeding the previous record of $278.5 billion achieved in 2011. Investment in Europe slipped by 21% to $48.8 billion, despite that continent’s record year for financings of offshore wind, at $17 billion, up 11%. Another positive sign is that renewable generation costs continue to fall globally. Despite these positive signals, we see in the realm of transportation that generating clean electricity with the aim of displacing fossil fuels is much more challenging. In this dream green wonderland we drive electric cars that acquire their energy from a renewable energy sources. In reality however depends on how our local grid generates electricity, as you see it still might get its energy from burning carbon. I don’t even try to open discussion about the rare metals that are needed to actually construct such a car and from how much environmentally destructive mines they could come from. Likewise, a lot of fuel tends to be in fact consumed by flying for travel, as well as shipping goods. This particular area should be put under more focus. Generally, it would be good to see more investment in finding solutions on
how to reduce the average per capita energy use, as well as on how to cut high food losses and rationalise wasteful transport. This would lead us to the findings of one of the most respected author of nearly 40 interdisciplinary books on energy, environment, food and population Vaclav Smil – “Less is more”. The environmentally least disruptive action is not to turn to new technical solutions to produce more energy in different ways, but simply do with less. This truly could be achieved step by step by every individual.
Lifesaver or Dog without Teeth?
â€“ The Paris Climate Agreement In Paris, 154 countries tried to lay the cornerstone for the end of global warming. With China and the US now ratifying the treaty concluded at the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015, the world seems to be on a good path. If looking at the treaty more detailed however, its flaws are revealed. Without penalties and the consequence of any prosecution, it is questionable whether this agreement is about to change much.
Kyoto, 11 December 1997. A date which wrote history. On this very day, one of the most important steps towards fighting global warming was undertaken by the international community. The Kyoto Protocol was born. Exactly eighteen years and one day later the members of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed on its successor. By then, It was for the 21st time that delegates of the 154 came together in Paris at the end of November and beginning of December 2015. Finally, after ten prior conferences, they finally concluded a decisive agreement intended to stop global warming. The UNFCCC, conceived in 1992, was the first treaty in history in which the participating 154 countries agreed on the existence of global warming and more importantly, acknowledged that it was not a natural occurrence, but man-made. With the agreement on the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, decisive steps towards a safe level of emissions were made - or so everybody thought. With the US not ratifying the treaty and its non-application in developing countries, including China, India, Brazil and South Africa, the Kyoto Protocol was a step in the right direction, but it did not accomplish what everybody hoped. Examining the results nowadays, the conclusions are somewhat frustrating. Taking into consideration that stronger regulations and other factors increase the demand of products coming from developing countries, it is almost leading to an effective increase in global CO2 emissions due to their rise in production. As the Kyoto Protocol seems to have failed in making a considerable difference in stopping global warming, all eyes are now on the highly anticipated Climate Resolution of Paris. For now its goals do look promising. One of the
major points of the agreement is the financial subsidisation of poorer countries through cash injections of 100 billion dollars starting 2020 and continuing at first until 2025. These funds should then be used to reduce emissions in said states. Similarly interesting is the fact that countries suffering damage due to any climate change related problem will be compensated by developed countries responsible for the inflicted harm. Troublesome with these two aspects is that the agreement is not introducing any form of penalty system. These payments are solely based on the good will of the developed countries. Therefore, any injured party simply has no established legal recourse to claim the amount. States such as Zimbabwe which do not have the capacities to accomplish the necessary steps on their own, will hardly be able to maintain the agreement if they are not properly financed. The ultimate goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius, at best even at 1.5 degrees Celsius. In truth this very ambitious goal is not going to be reached without any further agreements. All the emission levels each member will try to fulfil are going to be set by the states themselves. Even worse is that these goals are not legally binding – meaning that it depends upon the self-responsibility of the signing countries whether or not the targets are going to be met. The percentage by which emissions will have to be reduced by 2060 at the latest lies at 95%. This will result in companies having to rebuild entire plants, people being obliged to buy new cars with less or no emission, and international shipping and aviation being required to reduce emissions immensely. Additionally, Carbon Dioxide Capture and Storage measurements are to be introduced in the second half
of the century. This means that every country should use different technological methods to store or convert carbon dioxide through underground storage or planting forests on a large scale, in order to create negative emissions. All these steps to reduce emissions are going to consume great amounts of resources and will need the full attention of every country’s authorities. Even in developed countries, it is doubtful whether the signatory states are going to spend billions of dollars if no consequences are going to be held against them. As we are living in difficult times, people are not going to understand why tremendous amounts are being spent on this front while employment rates in many countries are at a long-time low and Europe is fighting an immigration crisis. It may even go the other direction. As Europe is discussing the TTIP agreement, it could not only affect the free trade of goods, but also national laws on climate change. Due to the fact that national corporations might acquire the right to take action against governments for breach of their rights, they could also use it to annul applying laws regarding emission reduction. With this tool in their hands, companies could thus for instance prosecute a country for prohibiting the use of coal as an energy source, as this might affect trading in a negative way. Yet not all things are as bad as they may seem. The international community has made some good progress in several countries over the past twenty years. It seems that global emissions have now almost come to a halt. Approximately 59% of capacity additions to global electricity generation were additions of renewable energy. Thereby, for the first time, more renewable energy capacity was built than fossil and nuclear capacity combined. Around half of all investments into renewable energies are now coming from
emerging and developing countries. Most significantly, the greatest advantage of the Paris Agreement compared to the Kyoto Protocol is the fact that China and the US, the world’s number one emitters of carbon dioxide, have already ratified the agreement. This shows the extent to which the agreement could, in spite of its shortcomings, affect the global climate situation. Never before have both countries shown such good will to change their greenhouse gas emission levels. This is especially important as they are responsible for 40% of the globally emitted CO2. This further brings the UN very close to the completion of their set limit for the treaty to be legally binding for its signatories – for as was the case with the Kyoto Protocol, in order for the Paris Agreement to come into force, at least fifty-five countries responsible for 55% of the exhausted greenhouse gas need to ratify the treaty. If the Agreement on Global Warming resolved in Paris is going to affect the emission of CO2 in the way it needs to, remains to be seen. What is certain is that it is a big step into the right direction, but humanity still has to go some steps further in order to make our planet worth living for the generations to come.
Cyprus, a small island nation at the heart of the Eastern Mediterranean region, is faced today with big challenges and even greater opportunities, when it comes to the sustainability of its energy sector. After all, as an isolated energy system, with high dependency on liquid fuel, no electricity storage infrastructure and no interconnections to European or regional electricity and gas networks, our only available alternative for energy generation in the short term is Renewable Energy Sources (RES), which currently contribute around 9,6% of the gross final energy consumption.
Path to Sustainability
The Cypriot Energy Strategy Against this backdrop and aiming to increase our country’s overall competitiveness by reducing energy costs for homes and businesses and ensuring reliable and affordable energy supply, the Government is hard at work to diversify our energy mix and fundamentally transform the energy sector’s structure and institutional framework. Inter alia, in exercising our sovereign rights we are implementing today a highly dynamic strategy for the exploration and exploitation of the natural gas reserves in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Republic of Cyprus. To this end, we are in negotiations with the Block 12 consortium of Noble Energy, Shell, Delek Drilling and Avner Exploration, in order to agree on a final Development and Production Plan for the 4.5 Tcf (mean gross) “Aphrodite” natural gas field. Another four Exploration and Production Sharing Contracts are also in effect, with Italian-Korean consortium of Eni and Kogas operating in Blocks 2, 3 and 9 and French company Total operating in Block 11. Moreover, new contracts are expected to be signed as early as next year, when the ongoing 3rd Licensing Round for offshore exploration in Blocks 6, 8 and 10 of our EEZ, is completed. During the application submission process that expired on July 22nd, a total of six applications have been received for all three Blocks, by eight companies/consortia, which include some of the biggest names in the industry. Cyprus is committed to unlocking the significant gas potential of the Eastern Mediterranean, in part also for the benefit of Europe. Particularly after Eni’s “Zohr” gas discovery in 2015, offshore Egypt, which is fully associated with the Eratosthenes Continental Block within Cyprus’ EEZ, we are all the more determined to promote the regional cooperation required to ensure that the East Med becomes a future source of natural gas for the EU. After all, the approximately 2.000 bcm of natural gas discovered in our region so far, have, for example, the potential to cover fivefold the EU Member States’ consumption in 2015, which was around 426 bcm. Our vision is to develop a new East Med Corridor, comprising of different infrastructures for the export of natural gas, such as a pipeline from offshore Israel and Cyprus to Greece. We feel that to diversify and strengthen the EU’s security of supply, whilst also enhancing member states’ competitiveness, the Union should give priority to energy infrastructure projects and develop further its indigenous resources, especially those of conventional energy sources like the natural gas in Cyprus’ EEZ. In fact, to attract the necessary investments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus is actively working to foster stability in our shared region, making full use of the concrete partnerships we have developed with our neighbouring countries, including Greece, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan
and Palestine. The Government of Cyprus is also currently promoting three projects that have been selected by the European Commission as Projects of Common Interest, eligible to receive EU funding. The first project is the “Euro-Asia Interconnector”, an electricity interconnection between Israel, Cyprus and Greece, supported by all three Governments. The second is the “EastMed Pipeline” project, which will connect East Med gas fields to Europe via Cyprus and Greece and is part of the Southern Gas Corridor. The third project aims at “Removing internal bottlenecks in Cyprus to end isolation and to allow for the transmission of gas from East Med”. The most recent initiative in our ongoing efforts to promote regional energy cooperation involves Cyprus investigating the possibility of mutually developing electrical interconnections with neighbouring countries. This is pursued in the framework of the Regional Electricity Market Platform of the Union for the Mediterranean, on a second list of regional projects that will be prepared in early 2017. Moreover, we also actively participate in the other two platforms of the Union for the Mediterranean, the Gas Platform and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Platform. With an eye to enhancing Cyprus’ energy self-sufficiency and shielding its geostrategic role, our Government has set high in its priorities the exploitation of the national energy saving potential and the acceleration of the deployment of Renewables on the island. Today we are on track to meet our indicative 14,5% national target of primary energy savings by 2020. In addition, Cyprus’ 2020 RES target calls for 13% contribution to the gross final energy consumption and with an estimated 9,6% by the end of 2015, we are already well ahead of our third indicative trajectory, set by the Renewable Energy Directive, for a 7.45% share in 2015-2016. In order to face the techno-economic challenges of the electricity system and maximize the utilization of RES with a long-term view, we have proceeded with the following measures: • The development of a renewable energy roadmap towards 2030, in cooperation with the International Renewable Energy Agency, the Joint Research Center of the European Commission and Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology. • The modernization of the electricity system towards smart grids. • The promotion of small and distributed production, i.e. photovoltaic installations with net-metering for all consumers and for self-generation by businesses,
without any feed-in-tariff. During the last three years, the net-metering scheme resulted in more than 8.000 installations in households. • The promotion of the energy renovation of commercial and industrial buildings and households, since 2015, through a scheme which also includes the installation of Renewables for electricity production and/or heating and cooling purposes. The scheme covers the period 2014 – 2020 and is co-funded from EU Cohesion Funds. With regard to the electricity market, despite its opening by law in 2004, today 100% of the supply and 90% of the generation is in the hands of the incumbent company, the Electricity Authority of Cyprus. In order to facilitate the introduction of competition, as well as the participation of RES in the competitive market, the Ministry of Energy, the Cyprus Energy Regulatory Authority and the Transmission System Operator, are cooperating closely to amend the existing Trade and Settlement Rules, based on a suitable market model that will allow Renewables to compete on equal footing with conventional fuel generation, without any government financial support. Overall, it is essential to note that Cyprus is implementing its energy strategy based primarily on the island’s distinct needs and available resources, energy developments in the East Med and internationally and, of course, the relevant EU policies. To achieve sustainability not only in the energy sector, but also in Cyprus’ economic development, we aim to take full advantage of the hydrocarbons’ wealth in our EEZ, whilst at the same time working closely with our EU partners to make Energy Union a reality. In this regard, we feel that the main pillars of the Cypriot energy strategy comply fully with the five dimensions of the Energy Union, which call for energy security, a fully integrated internal EU-wide energy market, Energy Efficiency as an energy source in its own right, the transition to a low-carbon society and research, innovation and competiveness.
Yiorgos Lakkotrypis, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism of the Republic of Cyprus
A Failed State?
- The Prominence of Belgium-Bashing “Failed State”, “Belgistan”, “Two hundred metres away from Grand’ Place and you find yourself in Saudi Arabia”. The aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris and in Brussels saw Belgium coming under scrutiny by international journalists, security experts and foreign officials. Belgium has been criticised for its failure to face the challenge of home-grown terrorism. Municipalities such as Molenbeek have become known to the global audience as safe-heavens for terrorists while the whole country has been depicted as being under a curfew. Such strong words are not the prerogative of foreign observers, as the First President of the Court of Cassation warned that the country was becoming a Rogue State and Flemish nationalists declared the situation as predictable, Belgium being on the brink of its final dissolution. Beyond such appellatives, it is imperative to recount some of the current situation’s root causes and prospect for elements of solution for a more inclusive society, and the end of Belgium-bashing.
A FRAGMENTED ISLAM... Belgium has had a reputation for being a hub for Jihadists since the years of Algerian civil war (1991-2002). At that time, Jihadists considered European countries to be refuges from where they would be able to maintain their political and propaganda apparatus. The situation changed as Osama Bin Laden’s global jihad concretised and operational networks began to organise actions from Belgium. The most blazing case of such “Jihad Made in Belgium” would be the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud, a prominent opponent of the Afghan Taliban, on 9 September 2001. If such groups found in Belgium a place to develop, part of the explanation lies in the fragmentation of the “Islamic scene”, related to Belgian history with Muslim populations. Indeed, in the aftermath of World War II, Belgium signed in 1964 migration agreements with Morocco and Turkey with the aim of importing workers. Most newcomers arrived from poor and rural
areas and had little religious education, often restricting religion to cultural practices. There were therefore few initiatives coming from the migrants to organise religious institutions. This vacuum was soon filled by multiple actors. Countries of origin sent preachers, most of them having no ties with Belgian reality. Many organisations settled, arriving with migrants in the case of Sufi orders or in the wake of persecutions as for the Muslim Brotherhood. Fundamentalists groups such as Salafists (from Arabia) and Tabligh (from the India ) chanced upon many Muslims to “re-Islamise”. The fragmentation was also emphasised by the incapacity of most Europeans to understand the inherent diversity of Islam, often comparing it with local religions, the Catholic Church in the case of Belgium. This fundamental misconception of Islam is said to have contributed to the agreement between Belgium and Saudi Arabia (perceived by some as the Muslim equivalent to the Holy See), paving the way to Saudi influence on now settled
Muslims, with a legitimacy acquired by the agreement between Saudi King Faisal and Belgian King Baldwin and by the establishment of the Great Mosque of Brussels. However, it shall be reminded that this agreement was part of a broader discussion, which included the question of oil supplies. This variety of Islamic discourses, includingradical ones, favoured the emergence of even more radical cells, ranging from proponents of seclusion from the rest of the Belgian society to recruiters for Jihadist groups. The group Sharia4Belgium is considered to have been the main recruiter and explains why Belgium has the highest rate of “Foreign Fighters” in Europe, only after countries with a high level of population with a Muslim background (Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania). Beyond Jihadism, the spread of fundamentalist thought among Belgian Muslims is proving to be a challenge for the whole society and especially for Muslims as part of the youth with fewer prospects of life than other Belgians finds
BE ON easy answers in fundamentalist Islam and questions traditional Islam, modern sciences and the Belgian society as whole. ... IN A FRAGMENTED BELGIUM Contrarily to what happened in France, migrants from Muslim countries arriving in Belgium were not confronted with a cohesive society based on a strong set of values and principles enshrined in a national culture. Since its birth, Belgium has been confronted by two main divides which have impacted state institutions and civil society. The first is the linguistic divide between Dutch and French speaking communities which has been in the last decades the leitmotiv for constant negotiations between Flemish and Francophone parties on further devolutions to the Belgian Regions and Communities. Those negotiations have drained a colossal amount of time (with the record of a 541-day crisis in 2010-2011), leaving the country in the hands of caretaker governments with limited powers and the impossibility to determine long-term strategies. The second dividing line in Belgian politics is constituted by the segmentation of political elites between Catholics and anti-clerical Liberals, as Socialists only gained traction at a later stage. This unending conflict on the relations between Church and State led to what is called “Pillarisation” (Pilarisation in French, Verzuiling in Dutch), a general segmentation of civil society on this particular division, regulating citizen’s lives from birth to death, with
many aspects of life tied in a way or another to a political party. Those two divides have two main consequences which are linked in what is often a vicious circle: - A multiplicity of levels of decision-making. As the repartition of power between the layers is a work in progress, the different tiers must handle transitions which turn out to be perpetual. This uncertainty, combined with different languages and political agendas, result in a poor communication and an often broken cooperation, leading the country to dead ends. Several academics are beginning to break a taboo, namely the paradigm linking federal devolution to efficiency. - An unstable political spectrum with shifting alliances, in conjunction with the various levels of political power (Federal State, Regions, Communities, Provinces and Municipalities), creates an atmosphere of a permanent electoral campaign in the whole country. Furthermore, the continuous movement of politicians from one level to another adds to the impossibility of maintaining agreed strategies, most newcomers scrapping the work of people previously in charge. In addition, the necessary use of coalitions blurs the responsibility of individuals and parties, making most if not all political parties accountable for the current situation. THE UNENDING WORK FOR A RESILIENT AND MORE OPEN SOCIETY The 22 March attacks opened a wound in a society which was already shocked by its connection with the attacks
in France. However, whilst authorities were perceived as overreacting to balance the accusations of lenience, people and civil society showed a form of unsuspected resilience, demonstrating willingness to continue to live as they did before and taking new security measures with a touch of humour (as with the viral posting of cat pictures during the Brussels lockdown). In addition, our society is managing to stay out of polarising polemics as the one of “Burkinis”: facing disapproval and a lack of interest, the few proponents of such a ban had to drop their proposition. Belgium is likewise not facing the emergence of Islamophobic movements as seen in the Netherlands (Geert Wilders’s PVV) or Germany (PEGIDA or AfD). Quite the contrary, initiatives are rising to promote dialogue between communities and fight against discriminations. Many Belgian Muslims are tired to be associated with terrorists and organise themselves to promote a Belgian Islam while taking a stance against religious leaders embroiled in self-centred conflicts. With the Belgian expression “Trop is te veel” (broadly translatable as “Enough is enough”), combining French and Dutch, people express their tiredness and disgust for what seems an inextricable situation and their willingness to change it. It is a duty to encourage and support such action while ensuring Belgium has all necessary tools to contrast radicalism at its disposal. On the one hand, a comprehensive approach must be taken to fight terrorists which cannot limit itself to judicial instruments: de-radicalisation should have the aim of reintegrating radicals to society with the assistance of relevant actors. On the other hand, it is time to pull the rug from underneath radical Islamists’ feet by mitigating aggravating factors such as discriminations on the labour market, the high unemployment levels among youngsters of foreign origin and the ghettoisation of certain urban areas. Today, Belgians have the opportunity to say “Trop is te veel” to many problems and act accordingly.
QUO VADIS, EUROPA? THE UNION AFTER BREXIT INTERVIEW WITH DAVID MCALLISTER MEP (CDU – EPP) AND CHARLES TANNOCK MEP (CONSERVATIVES – ECR) David McAllister MEP (CDU – EPP) David McAllister was the “Spitzenkandidat” of the CDU in the 2014 European Elections and is First Vice-President of the EPP. Prior to his election to the European Parliament, he was the Prime Minister of the German Federal State of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony). McAllister is a dual citizen of Germany and the United Kingdom.
MR MCALLISTER, MR TANNOCK. MORE THAN EIGHTY DAYS HAVE PASSED SINCE THIS MOMENTOUS 24 JUNE. HOW DID YOU FIRST LEARN OF THE RESULT? McAllister: I was sitting in my car driving from a TV debate in Hamburg to Berlin in the middle of the night, on my way to a meeting at CDU headquarters on Friday morning. I knew when the result of Newcastle came in that things weren’t going the way we were hoping they would.
Charles Tannock MEP (Conservatives – ECR) Charles Tannock has been representing London in the European Parliament for the UK Conservative Party since 1999. He has previously been the Vice-President of the European Parliament’s Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and is currently ECR Coordinator on the EP Foreign Affairs Committee. During the referendum, Tannock was one of the leading lights of ConservativesIN, the Tory campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union.
Tannock: I was at a party thrown by the ConservativesIN campaign near the House of Commons, in very august company, amongst others George Osborne and members of the Number 10 Policy Unit. None of them were predicting this. They all looked quite relaxed and confident until the first result came in from Newcastle: although it voted “in”, it didn’t by the proportions expected of a university town. And then, when Sunderland came in, I knew the game was up. Within half an hour afterwards, we had already generated the final result by means of a computer simulation. At that point, I thought that I had had enough and went home. I woke up feeling depressed with the result as predicted.
POLLS HAD IN THE RUN-UP TO THE VOTE SUGGESTED AN ADVANTAGE FOR THE LEAVE SIDE, THOUGH FEW SEEMED TO BELIEVE THAT IT WOULD INDEED TRANSLATE INTO BREXIT. TO WHAT EXTENT CAME THE LEAVE VOTE AS A SURPRISE TO YOU? Tannock: I had been bracing myself for this result a long time. I watched the polls, I knew it was going to be incredibly tight. Perhaps I personally had the problem that I was slightly lulled into a false sense of security because I campaigned all over London which looked positive and turned out to be positive. But London was the exception to the rule. On the day however, the feeling was even on the Leave side that we were going to scrape through with a small majority. McAllister: We all knew it would be a very tight race but I was optimistic until the end that there would be a majority for the Remain camp. I was calling a friend in London the day before the vote and he said: “David, don’t worry, it will be 52:48”. And it was 52:48 – but the other way around. THE BREXIT VOTE SEEMED SYMPTOMATIC OF A PREVALENT TREND ACROSS THE WESTERN
WORLD, WHERE FEELINGS TRUMP FACTS, ELITES ARE MISTRUSTED AND NATIONALISMS RESURGE. DID THE REMAIN CAMPAIGN UNDERESTIMATE THE DOMINANCE OF THIS MOOD? Tannock: Yes, I think so. The whole Remain campaign sadly took the view, on advice given to the Prime Minister, that it was the economy, stupid. It is quite clear now there are other issues of great importance to large chunks of the population. The one I have in mind is migration. It has gone to the top of the agenda and now takes precedence over economic well-being. The Brexit side were able to play that card cynically, brutally, inaccurately. The media sadly were also underbriefed and underprepared, unable to challenge some of the lies told by the Brexiters. It was a dismal campaign, but I still hoped that maybe, by the end of it, we could scrape through. But there was a disconnect with many people who felt that globalisation and internationalisation didn’t benefit Britain in any particular way. MANY COMMENTATORS HAVE POINTED OUT THAT THE TORY GOVERNMENT WAS NOT CREDIBLE IN ITS DEFENCE OF THE EU AND CONTINUED MEMBERSHIP AFTER
ITS RELENTLESS AND OFTEN ONE-SIDED CRITICISMS OF THE EUROPEAN PROJECT. DID REMAINERS IN THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY DIG THEIR OWN GRAVE BY NOT STANDING UP EARLY ENOUGH TO THE FORCES THAT BROUGHT BREXIT ABOUT? Tannock: I do think David Cameron’s team overestimated their ability to turn around 43 years of negative propaganda against the European Union. This has been relentless and a hallmark of our tabloids – and the person who really made an art of this is our current Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson. When he was the correspondent for the Daily Telegraph in Brussels in the mid-90s, he started the whole spin story of anti-EU propaganda. It then became a standard British way of operating amongst the press: everything the EU ever did was bad. The idea that six months of campaign could reverse this, purely on the strength of economics, was probably wrong looking back. We should have had a much longer campaign and David Cameron should have waited until the end of his term to hold the vote, rather than getting it out of the way early. I am sure he has much of the same thoughts now, but it’s easy to be wise after events.
INTERVIEW MR MCALLISTER, “BRUSSELS BASHING” IS NOT EXCLUSIVE TO EUROSCEPTICS, BUT POPULAR AMONG PRO-EU POLITICIANS TOO. IS BREXIT A WAKEUP CALL THAT THIS CULTURE OF REFLEXIVELY BLAMING THE EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS FOR DIFFICULTIES OUGHT TO END? McAllister: Brussels and the European Union are far from being perfect. But one thing is clear: we have to stop this blame game. Some continue to giving the blame for everything that is going wrong to Brussels and attributing everything that is going right to the national capitals. We shouldn’t then be surprised that more and more people ask the question: why are we still a member of this club? Brussels should take the blame when Brussels has done something wrong. But it should also be vowed if things go well. If I look at the European Union now, I see that we have a lack of union in this union: the Member States are finding it increasingly difficult to compromise and to then implement what they agreed upon. We should be critical on the details of European politics, but stop the fundamental criticism of the European institutions and the idea of the European project. The UK referendum could be a wakeup call for the other 27 Member States. Polls have shown that trust in the European institutions has actually increased in the Member States since the EU referendum – including Germany. Tannock: People have started to realise that there is a lot at stake and that Brussels-bashing is not a positive way forward. The post-mortem on Brexit in the press of other Member States has exposed many of the lies peddled by Leave campaigners, showing that Brexiteers made it up as they went along. But they knew that in a referendum, they are encouraged to lie: by the time their untruths are exposed, the result is concluded and irreversible. You can’t go back – unlike a General Election where you know you can be held account at the next election. Mr Farage’s party, UKIP, now in fact wants to go further: they are not just satisfied with extracting Britain. They want to destroy the whole concept of the European project. Because they know, if it were to survive and prosper, it becomes a competition and there are forces in Britain who would want to rejoin the EU. I think David Cameron was right: he never said Brexit would trigger World War Three, but it would destabilise our entire continent. HOW CAN THE EU RISE TO THIS CHALLENGE AND AVOID A DOMINO EFFECT? Tannock: There has to be a rethink, otherwise there will be a domino effect. You have to make the case to ordinary people as to why the EU brings value added in terms of economics, standing up to nasty dictators and maintaining our democracy and way of life. The priority now should be to focus on immediate things that are done best at supranational level, like the Digital Single Market or the Energy Union. This is not the time for grandiose but unrealistic projects. The European Union must also be seen
as not just a German union, but one of 27 countries in the future. They all have a significant role to play. McAllister: First of all, the other 27 Member States have all declared that they want to continue the European Union project. We all respect the fair and democratic decision by a narrow majority of the British people, but we also regret what happened. I think that Brexit is a major blow to European integration. But I also believe that the European Union is strong enough to survive and continue. Now what we have to negotiate a deal which is fair and reasonable for both sides. It won’t be easy: never has a Member State decided to leave the European Union and it is the famous “leap into the dark” that Prime Minister Cameron always warned his nation of. One thing is clear: there is no need to be nasty and we shouldn’t punish the British. But we have to be clear on our principles: you can only have full access to the Single Market if you accept it with the four Freedoms, including the Freedom of Movement. MANY BREXITERS BELIEVE THAT THE EU AND ITS MEMBER STATES – PARTICULARLY GERMANY – WOULD BE CUTTING THEIR NOSES TO SPITE THEIR OWN FACES IF THEY DO NOT AGREE ON A COMPROMISE ON FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT IN EXCHANGE FOR SINGLE MARKET ACCESS. YOU HOWEVER THINK THE FOUR FREEDOMS ARE INDEED AS UNTOUCHABLE AS THEY ARE PROCLAIMED TO BE? McAllister: It’s in the British interest to have full access to the Single Market. On the other hand, it is in the German interest as well. The UK is the fifth-largest economy in the world, the second-strongest economy in Europe. But again: if Britain wants 100% access to the Single Market, it will have to accept our rules. The phase of cherry-picking is finished. We tried this for 25 years and in the deal the Prime Minister achieved in February, we went as far as possible. But this obviously wasn’t enough. That said, it’s too early to talk about any details, so long as the UK government has not triggered Article 50 procedure - no notification, no negotiation! We obviously understand that the British government needs time to make up its mind and we will hopefully find a reasonable deal for both sides – because whatever happens, the UK remains an important friend and neighbour of the 27 EU Member States. Tannock: I obviously want Britain post-Brexit to stay as close as possible to the European Union. In my area of Foreign Policy, Security and Defence, we need to stay as closely aligned to our European allies as is possible as a non-Member State. On the economic front, I hear where David is coming from on the inviolability of the four freedoms. I also hear other German politicians saying freedom of movement is not absolutely untouchable. In fact, we know that it isn’t: Malta for instance, as a Member State, has an absolute derogation on Freedom of Movement in perpetuity. There has to be some compromise here, whether it’s an emergency brake, a
cap on the total number or a need for work permits. I’m hoping for the mildest possible Brexit, like an EEA/ Norwegian “Minus” model option with some limitations on movement. But I fully understand the principle as well: if the deal is so good that we are financially better off outside of the union, then a lot of people in other countries will ask: why are we here? BEYOND THE SPECIFICS OF POLITICS – WHAT IS THE PATH FORWARD FOR BOTH BRITISH EUROPEANS AND EUROPEAN FRIENDS OF BRITAIN? McAllister: Brexit probably means Brexit. Once again, I would deeply regret the United Kingdom leaving our family of nations. However, a “soft” Brexit would be better than a “hard” Brexit. Let’s find a solution so that we can cooperate well in the future. This especially includes that European citizens living in the UK keep their rights and on the other hand Brits living in the other 27 Member States. We all remain friends and neighbours. Even if the United Kingdom should leave the European Union, it is still part of the European continent and the British remain our natural allies, especially in NATO, G7, G20 and the United Nations. I also believe that despite some differences, it’s good if Christian Democrats and Conservatives continue their political cooperation – as we do in the International Democrat Union (IDU). Tannock: I endorse every single word said by David. I still feel in my heart that I am European as well as a Brit. That is not going to change, even though my country has decided to leave the European Union. We are all still in NATO, we will remain in the Council of Europe and the OECD. We also have to be cognisant of the fact that the idea of having a closer relationship with Australia than with the French or the Germans is contradicted by distance. You can’t just hop on a train from London to Canberra in the same way as you can to Paris. I would be very saddened if we ended up with a nineteenth-century paradigm of competing nationstates at each other’s throats. I just hope that Brexit is a one-off and that we can come to some kind of good deal. But I have always taken the view and I remain adamant that nothing is as good as our deal now, as a member. Whatever happens next – and Brexit does mean Brexit, I am sad to say – will be a second-best. But let’s hope it’s not the third- or fourth-best.
Make Russia Great Again? - The Foreign Policy of Donald Trump
As November approaches, the United States – a global power and close partner of Europe – will elect a new President. The Republican candidate Donald Trump epitomises leadership in the surge of populism, with a weak commitment to US partners and to liberal institutions, an unpredictable personality and remarkable isolationist and semiauthoritarian priorities. Trump’s Foreign Policy platform combined with his dubious relations to Vladimir Putin should raise concerns in Europe on dismantling the postWWII international order. When the Republican Party assembled in Cleveland, the Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s team did little to influence the outcome of policy platforms, with one noteworthy exception: to water down the language on Ukraine. For those who were not already concerned about Trump’s endorsement of authoritarian leaders and questioning of US partnerships, red flags should have been raised. Not necessarily because of the amendments, but for the larger scheme of Trump holding amicable views towards Vladimir Putin, whilst making remarkable foreign policy statements which align with the Russian narrative, including considering a recognition of Crimea and withdrawal of sanctions. Trump’s critique of Western democracy and marginalisation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are other examples. Trump stated that the United States would not necessarily come to rescue the Baltic States should they become attacked, unless they “fulfilled their obligations to us”, as if security guarantees was a pure business deal. The basis of NATO rests on the guarantee that partners are willing to go to war for their allies. Despite decades of European integration, NATO remains the main guarantor of European security and stability. Should this willingness be questioned, the whole alliance may disintegrate, with direct and indirect consequences for Europe. The fundament of Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy is traditionally populist: rejecting the establishment, contesting experts and existing institutions and supporting isolation from the rest of the world. Its lenience on Russia fits the pattern of European populist leaders in Europe, who has received financial support directly or indirectly from Russia.
Trump is a symptom of a growing anti-establishment nihilism. However, the extent of Trump’s and his advisers’ dubious relations with Putin is exceptional and should not be taken lightly. Two top strategists in the Trump campaign, Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, were back in 2012 working on behalf of the pro-Russian Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. Through non-profit organisations, they assisted in steering advocacies of Yanukovych in Washington to decrease pressure on the Ukrainian leader. Manafort also worked as Yanukovych’ communications manager. Up until recently, Manafort was running Trump’s campaign, without any reversal of policy following his resignation. Manafort and Gates have not been the only advisers with pro-Russian interests or alignments. Trump’s foreign policy adviser on Russia and Europe, Carter Page, has during his career made large investments and worked as an adviser to the Russian energy giant Gazprom, which used energy as a political weapon towards European neighbours. Page has been a critic towards “US hypocrisy” and sanctions on Russia. Another Trump adviser, Michael Flynn, frequently appeared on the Russian propaganda channel RT. Trump’s demagoguism and foreign relations have been subject to criticism, from outside and within the party. Critics include the 50 former GOP national security experts and the foreign policy experts Henry Kissinger and George Schultz. Trump has dismissed foreign policy experts as “the establishment” – a dangerous position for a person who lacks both experience and expertise and seeks to lead one of the world’s most influential countries. His confidence in his own judgement should further raise concerns about his personal involvement with Russia. Trump has over the years made significant investments in Russia. As his debts have grown, he has been disqualified from major US banks and made himself reliant on Russian
money – money concentrated around oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin. It cannot be overemphasised that Trump cannot run the United States as if it was just one of his companies and that Putin cannot be treated like any other business partner. Putin is not representing a company; he is an authoritarian leader representing a foreign regime, a geopolitical adversary towards the United States and its partners, driving warfare on the European continent with an aim to disintegrate Euro-Atlantic cooperation. The guarantee of substantial inflow of capital to Trump’s businesses and networks comes at a cost of influence on policies contesting traditional US interests. US foreign policy is evidently far more extensive than Europe and its positioning as a global actor and towards other regions will affect Europe too. Trump’s commitment to trade and democracy is, however, certainly not better. The TransAtlantic partners have a shared interest that the next US President honours its international commitments and refrain from isolation, and that neither Trump nor his European counterparts gain more political power.
From Likes to Votes - Effective Digital Campaigning Nearly 600 million users are active on Facebook in the European Union. This number is still increasing. Facebook is only one example for the different social media channels. It is not only interesting for companies to promote their products, it is also a tool for political parties to present their policy positions. Nothing is easier than pushing the Like-Button but to vote is much harder. How can users be mobilised to attend to the polls? The lion’s share of any campaign is dedicated to mobilising party members and supporters, as well as to providing information. For party members, the homepage, part of the Web 1.0, is the main tool to obtain information. Being online, especially in the Web 2.0, however helps to increase the popularity of one’s candidate. Since the first Obama campaign in 2008, social media is often considered the new important instrument for winning the elections. Nowadays, more or less every political party is using social media as a part of their campaigns, a testimony to the extent digital campaigning has revolutionised the election campaign. This is particularly true of the Web 2.0, which offers the possibility of interaction between electorate and candidates. Digital campaigning has thus far not driven offline campaigning out but replenished the “old-school campaigning“. It is impossible to isolate the online dimension from all other parts of the campaign. That is why it is questionable how effective online campaigning is. The most important point is that digital campaigns, just as offline campaigns, need to have a strategy. In particular, all parts of an election campaign have to be embedded in one strategy. For an effective digital campaign, four factors are essential. The main goal for every political party is to mobilise the greatest number of voters. The first step in this mission is to inform undecided and first-time voters of their message. In general, non-party activists are more likely to engage in party-related activities on social media. Consequently, digital campaigning is an amazing tool to reach out to swing voters. This was not least demonstrated in the British General Election of 2015, where the Conservative Party spent more than
30% of its budget on digital campaigning - three times as much as the rival Labour Party. The Tories’ digital campaign consisted of e-mails, social media content, online films and an interactive website. As already mentioned, every campaign needs a strategy. To reach specific electoral groups, it is important to know when particular voter groups are online. The Tories started their online campaign more than two years before the election and invested in high-target constituencies. To that end, the Conservatives bought geographical audience data from Facebook and private tracker pools in key swing constituencies. A highly relevant tool was Facebook’s offer of “promoting” one’s own postings. Whilst this option is subject to costs, it satisfies a key concern of any campaign: pitching the right message to the right people at the right time. This strategy is the classic US technique. The social network Twitter is by comparison not often used by the average web user. That is why it cannot be seen as a representative subset of the population. Twitter is popular among of opinionmakers. Hence why it is used to provide information for journalists, thus guaranteeing a multiplier effect. The second key of an effective digital campaign is win over social media users as followers. In times of social media, it is quite easy for the sympathisers of a party to follow, repost or share their party’s policy positions. Through Facebook’s special logarithms, target posts can thereby help to go viral and reach huge parts of the online community. Thirdly, it is important to recruit volunteers by mobilising the digital followers to take action beyond the cybersphere. These people were involved in the „oldschool campaigning“ which took place on British streets, knocking on doors and manning street stalls. Equally
important is a strategy to raise money for the campaign, which is the last factor. During the Tories’ campaign of 2015, the party repeatedly sent e-mails to supporters, where a tool with the option for direct donation was embedded. Consequently, the Conservative Party raised a significant amount of money. As these four points show, it is important that all campaigning tools (e.g. social media, interactive websites, volunteer teams and election posters etc.) work hand in glove with each other, embedded in one strategy. Digital campaigning likewise offers a huge potential for the European level. It is for instance quite hard for Members of the European Parliament to keep in touch with every segment of the electorate: their constituency are too large and office hours are less relevant since they are often working from Brussels or Strasbourg. Social media is thus naturally a great opportunity for MEPs to reach voters with their news, policy information and personal positions on current topics. However, digital campaigning is not yet as effective as most people believe. The greatest successes of this instrument have been noted with the electoral group aged thirty and younger – the so-called “Digital Natives”. This young generation grew up with the use of Web 2.0 and they are very political active within cyberspace. In the future, when the Digital Natives grow to become the largest electoral group, the digital world will become even more crucial to campaigning. The web is the quickest, most powerful and cost-effective means to reach the people that one needs to mobilise.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Snapchat will be the future for a successful digital campaign. Particularly since social networks, especially Facebook, offer information about public opinion, electoral groups and possible election results for political parties. This knowledge was even used by the Conservative Party
in the UK General Election 2015 and should be used more extensively by parties in future. The Tories won the election and their highly targeted online strategy was a key to this success. This example shows, when a digital campaign is well-designed, it creates the marginal differences that are needed to win.
The Open Society at Risk
– Europe Needs to Rise to the Challenge of Xenophobia and Integration It has become clear, from observing the last year in politics that the nations which constitute the European diaspora have regressed worth regards to the values of tolerance and respect for those of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Racism and a marked disdain for the “Other” is something which has always found a septic crevice in a darker corner of Western political life. What has been witnessed more recently has been a cancerous spread of this kind of ideology into the public sphere in a manner which can only be described as highly damaging. One need only look at the wave of radicalisation which seems to have beset Europe to realise that there are increasingly widespread conditions which make young Muslim and other minority groups seek alternative systems of politics and authority, ones which shall not alienate and discriminate against them. We have seen increasing rates of home grown terrorist attacks on cities like Paris and Brussels. This sets up a vicious cycle which fosters even greater distrust of minority groups and thus alienates them even more. The end point of this cycle is unknown, but it does not take someone who has full knowledge of the future to predict that the fallout will not be pretty. It was this brand of politics which played a significant
role in why Britain voted to leave the European Union. There was a reason the phrase “Take Back Control” resonated with so many, in spite of the fact that it substantively meant very little. It meant take back control of one’s borders. The emphasis on national sovereignty often had very similar undertones. It was all about the ability for Britain to isolate itself in a more global landscape. The economic argument had already been won by Remain but campaigners forgot one crucial factor. It is not what is true that matters. It is what the electorate wants to be true that does. This is not to say that all the people who voted to leave the European Union are racists or xenophobic. There were many who voted on more noble principles than that. But the fact remained that the free movement of people was one of the great objections Brits had to the European project. Why one would wish to stem the flow of human capital from countries which have a common history (at least
in the 20th century) is beyond comprehension. Or it would be, barring the existence of conservatives in the UK who believed bolstering national borders was the “sound” thing to do. As with all popular movements which often get hijacked by Faragesque demagogues, there is often a grain of truth which underlies the objections that people had to the established political order. There are legitimate concerns to be had around large levels of migration. These concerns are not economic. Nor do I think they are political. The evidence leads us to suggest that migrants are vibrant contributors to all economies in everything but the most severe of downturns. They also form vibrant communities which provide a celebration of all which is good about a given culture, and allowing others the opportunity to appreciate the hard work which is done by BME individuals at all levels of the formal and informal political systems.
BE ON The issue here is cultural. More specifically, it is borne out of a systematic misunderstanding of the underlying cultural values of these people. In the UK, there are two main objections to open borders. They are taking all our jobs (false) and they are a threat to the British way of life as they (migrants) are intolerant peoples. There are two points worth observing here. The first is that it is a crying shame that those who preach western values cannot be bothered to practice them, as shown by the breathing levels of sexism, inequality in treatment and illiberalism which gets banded about in such circles. The other is a question as to how it was that the European Union came to be the scapegoat for all of this. The problem, as can be identified in many European states, is that there is a distinct lack of education and integration regarding migrant communities, be they Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Turkish or Asian (more broadly). This has been a national preserve for time immemorial and governments have done very little in this sphere. Now, the political climate is reaping to the fullest extent the result of that indifference by policy makers of both the left and the right. Too many countries, too often, have allowed for conditions to emerge that results in insular communities (so socioeconomically cut off that they have even been described as ghettos in some cases) forming. These communities often refuse to engage with the surrounding communities through fear of being
discriminated against and being on the receiving end of hate crime. Or (far more rarely) through the incompatibility of values shared by these communities. To say that some of these ghettos have problems with misogyny or liberty is a major understatement. Governments have just stood there and watched. They genuinely believed that relations would grow out of the necessity of economic interaction. But such hopes have been woefully wide of the mark. These communities are often highly self-sustaining, with their own specialist shops, faith schools, culture specific areas of community (often with religious ties) available. This means that interaction, and so education, is not all that forthcoming. Policy in this area has also been dogged by the monothematic approach which has dogged race relations in the West for so long. Governments need to realise, and quickly, that they are not going to make everyone happy in this endeavour. Home truths are going to have to be driven into the minds of many on both sides of the divide. To focus merely on the immigrant community, or merely on the prejudices of the local community, is simply not good enough. It is better than no action at all, but (to paraphrase Richard Feynman) â€œthere is plenty of room at the bottomâ€? as far as policy in this area is concerned. It
needs a cross country response where the best practices can be shared by nations to aid the fight against intolerance and extremism which shall simply not go away. It is time for the European institutions to take a pivotal role in action on this major issue. The risk of this discourse, fully fledged, is nothing short of existential. It has already contributed to the loss of one member state. The issue is obviously not getting any better. You need only look at the Freedom Party in Austria, the FN and (more worryingly) sections of the Republicans in France, and the AfD in Germany to see that there is greater legitimacy for these kinds of views to manifest in the public sphere. There needs to be a response by Europe which fosters greater investment in education for communities with large migrant populations, more robust frameworks through which dialogue can take place and the ability to provide new and varied opportunities to cooperate cross communities regardless of age (most initiatives are often focused on younger people at the moment). It is a crying shame that Europe has gone backwards on the very Western values it seeks to protect. Now is the time for action. The cost of failure is incomprehensively high.
– The New Jihadist Terror Strategy How can we safeguard the life of innocent men and women? A tough question is currently running through the heads of the securityexperts of almost all countries threatened from a terrorist attack. Terrorism, in its classical form, was a carefully planned act of violence targeted against highly valued “agents” of a certain system to be destabilised. These attacks were usually carried out by ideologically motivated young people intended to destruct a socio-political or a national structure. The traditional form of terrorism started to deviate especially at the beginning of the 21st century. With the rise of Al Qaeda and ISIS, every person supported financially and logistically from any terrorist organisation can come up with any sort of frightful action. After the successful execution of an attack, the organisation can quickly accept the responsibility of such horrible activity. Through these tactics, the terrorist organisations do not always need to recruit potential terrorists. Any unsatisfied individual within a society or curved in identity crisis can be offered a better way to die with a “heroic” act. In this way, the groupings are inviting millions of “sleepers” to become active all over the world. Therefore, franchise terrorism or the “McDonald’s of terrorism” can be traced as the right granted by a terrorist organisation to an individual or a specific group to carry out an attack in a specific territory.
BE ON Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack that occurred in Paris targeting the Charlie Hebdo newspaper as response to the publication’s frequent caricatures satirising the Prophet Muhammad, although many critics questioned the direct role of the organisation in planning and directing this terrorist attack. Furthermore, several researchers claimed that the AQAP did not exactly direct the attack, but it had some knowledge of the Kouachis and could plausibly try to claim credit. The attacks appear to show what analysts have described as the evolution of Al Qaeda tactics and logistics threatened by the heightened surveillance (ERIC SCHMITT, 2015). The terrorist organisation is still assigning its general targets but the details on how to carry out the operation is no longer related to the micromanagement of the group but rather to the franchise individuals. FRANCHISING GROUPS: AL NUSRA FRONT Planning to infiltrate the failed states, particularly of the Middle Eastern region, Al Qaeda well understood the Syrian-ness aspect of the Jihadi movements in the Syrian civil war. Contrary to ISIS strategy in centralising the jihadi fighters under one command with the leadership of Baghdadi in Iraq, Al Qaeda’s senior leaders accepted the long-term strategy of Nusra in abstaining of the extreme implementation of Sharia. Al Nusra thus became a franchised branch for Al Qaeda in Syria until it had split on January 2016 (Lister, 2015, p. 66). ISIS The failure of re-integrating the Iraqi Sunni community in the decision-making process after the 2003 US war was a major reason in causing the Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) to expand and later evolve into the now well-known the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Similarly to tradition terrorist groups, ISIS aims to undermine the legitimacy of the ruling regime, destabilise local state security, weaken political institutions and armed forces, and generate power to control entire communities. After the emergence of ISIS and the establishment of the caliphate, many of the already established terrorist organisations were encouraged to pledge their allegiance to the horrifying Iraqi based organisation. ISIS experienced an explosive growth rising to become the well-funded terrorist group in the world. In its early years, ISIS received funding mainly from wealthy donors in Kuwait, Qatar, and other Gulf countries. Western intelligence reports also indicate that the Syrian regime of Bashar Al Assad has financed ISIS by purchasing oil and gas from wells under their control, even though they are still hostile to each other and the relationship is opportunist. However, it is believed now by most observers that the group currently finances the majority of its recruitment, weapons purchases, and attacks without outside help by smuggling raw materials stolen in Syria, and valuable antiquities from archeological excavations. It were then financial considerations that motivated Boko Haram, Ansar Bayt Al Maqdis (known as IS Sinai Province), Ansar Al Sharia and many other terrorist organisations to become ISIS franchise groups. These groupings gained legitimacy in joining an organisation with significant funding and resources to provide guidance in training, recruiting, and
much more. On the other hand, ISIS benefited in connecting with different groups aiming to become a worldwide caliphate. Their expansion around the globe will help in decentralising their operations, making it harder for the Western intelligence agencies to contain their presence. Several reports indicated that an approximate of forty-three groups have pledged allegiance to ISIS after Abu Bakr alBaghdadi called for jihadi groups to join his organisation. (Center, 2015) Global terrorist organisations are filling the vacuum in the increasing number of failed states due to the absence of the rule of law in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Somalia, and Libya. Moreover, the rising influence of the Iranian Shiite state in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen adding to Hesbollah’s intervention in Syria against the opposition (mainly Sunnis) are enhancing the unsatisfied individuals and groups to join the wellfunded and organised terrorist groups. Furthermore, immigrants and refugees in Europe facing identity crises, as well as deteriorating social and economic situations are easily attracted by Salafi Sunni clerics in European Mosques motivating them to commit terrifying terrorist attacks in Europe. The decision-makers in the West have an essential responsibility to contain the crisis of the franchise terrorism which is striking with increasing frequency at the heart of Europe. Playing a major role in ending the Syrian civil war by putting an end to Bachar El Assad’s rule may pre-empt several opposition groups in Syria from return to the state umbrella and prevent them from deviating toward the wellfunded terrorist Islamic factions. Moreover, it is essential for the international community to contain the expansionist Iranian presence in Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq that is propelling Sunni groups to join terrorist organisations. It is a responsibility for the Western states to help the Middle Eastern countries in re-building their failed states which will consequently decrease the number of illegal immigrants and refugees moving toward Europe who may become vulnerable to the pernicious influence and propaganda of terrorist. BIBLIOGRAPHY Center, I. (2015). Islamic State’s 43 Global Affiliates. Intel Center. Crowcroft, O. (2015). Isis: Who is behind the Islamic State’s latest franchise in war torn Yemen? International Business Times. ERIC SCHMITT, M. M. (2015). Disputed Claims Over Qaeda Role in Paris Attacks. New York Times. Lister, C. (2015). The Syrian Jihad. London: Hurst Publishers.
The Oldest Hatred Returns – Against the Resurgence of Anti-Semitism in Europe 72 years since the world witnessed the worst horror in human history, the brutal and systematic murder of six million European Jews, it seems that anti-Semitism, the blind pure hatred that prompted people to send innocent Jews, men and women, old people and babies to gas chambers and crematoriums, raises its head again. Throughout history, anti-Semitism has changed its face according human development and the main issues dominating people’s minds at particular instances in time: initially, anti-Semitism was principally motivated by religion, and blood libel about Jews circulated, when the Jews presented as a sinners and those who killed God in Christ. The blood libel became worse and more unrealistic, with stories of Jews baking Matza – the traditional food for Passover - from Christian children’s blood. Yet back then as today, ignorance is the best soil fertilised to plant hatred. When the Treaty of Westphalia, with its separation of church and state, ended the Thirty Years’ War in Europe in 1648, it cast the religious dimension of anti-Jewish prejudice aside. However, now it was race that filled the vacuum and step by step, racial theories became the main pillar of anti-Semitism. After the Second World War and the holocaust, the expression of anti-Semitism was criminalised in most Western states. Yet the birth of the Jewish state, Israel, gave in turn birth to a new type of anti-Semitism, one that since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the growth of national movements all over Europe is gaining momentum. This new type of anti-Semitism is national anti-Semitism, characterised by anti-Israel sentiments and anti-Zionism. The symptoms are the same symptoms, the method is the same method and the hatred is the same hatred. So here we are back again to ignorance. The lack of knowledge of many on Israel and the fact that the definition of Zionism definition is often blurred and unclear makes the work of anti-Semites to delegitimize and demonize Israel and Jews much easier. The Zionist movement was founded by European-Jewish intellectuals as a national movement for the establishment of a Jewish state in
the historic land of the Jewish people. In fact, the Zionist movement was founded in 1897, almost twenty years before the Sykes-Picot Agreement and the birth of the Arab national movements, including the Palestinian national movement (1920), and sought to achieve its goal only by political and diplomatic tools. One of the most famous supporters of the Zionist movement was Albert Einstein, who said in 1923, after seeing with his own eyes the dream of a Jewish state coming true during a visit to Mandatory Palestine: “This is a great age, the age of liberation of the Jewish soul, and it has been accomplished through the Zionist movement, so that no one in the world will be able to destroy it.” Einstein was right. The Zionist movement is the shelter of the state of Israel and the Jewish people in terms of politics, diplomacy, international legitimation and support, even ideology. Therefore, any attempt at demonising and delegitimising Zionism is a very clear attempt to hurt Jews by destroying the state of Israel. To believe in the right of self-determination of any people on earth apart the Jewish people is pure and clear anti-Semitism. However, thus far this new type of anti-Semitism type is not recognised as anti-Semitism. It is hence still legitimate, legal and unfortunately costs lives. Over the last few years, anti-Semitic incidents in Europe are on the rise and the justification is always rooted in Israel and the conflict in the Middle East. “We are not anti-Semites, we only hate Israel and Zionists” is the standard phrase of the new anti-Semites, whilst likewise claiming all Jews are Zionists and support Israel, and therefore not innocent. This is the reason why three children and one adult were murdered in Toulouse, France, in a shooting attack on Jewish school at 2012. This is the reason why a guard at a Jewish temple in Copenhagen, Denmark, was murdered
in shooting attack in 2015 and this is why four people were murdered in an attack on the Jewish museum in Brussels, Belgium, in 2014. More than a century prior to the holocaust the German poet and journalist, Heinrich Heine, wrote his famous admonition “Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.” Now do try to remember how many times you saw the Israeli flag set on fire in an anti-Israeli protest in your towns, at your universities? How many times did you hear people around you, including politicians, contradicting the right of the only Jewish state in the world to exist? It’s beyond politics. It’s beyond criticism. It’s an obsession and anti-Semitism is the red line separating legitimate criticism from obsession. The de-legitimisation and demonization of Israel is the legal way for the new anti-Semites to legitimise anti-Semitism and threaten Jews. Anti-Semitism is a disease and it is very important to diagnose it and to fight it. Education and punishment are the keys. I’m always amazed by the miracle of the EU, the values and idea it represents, but the European project will never be complete so long as the oldest and deadliest hatred still exist in its midst.
– Improving the Efficiency and Resilience of European Education Systems The European community now faces multilevel problems which are impossible to be solved by means of simple solutions. In order to meet the need for intellectual maturity, well-developed critical thinking and, above all, a set of competencies corresponding to the dynamically changing environment need to be provided. This is one of two key reasons why more emphasis ought to be placed on the proper development of education systems in EU countries. The second, perhaps more serious factor, is a ubiquitous and certainly very dangerous trend, marching forth in Europe of intolerance, nationalism, anti-Semitism and even fascism. The only way to stop these tendencies is a thorough education of young people, geared towards equipping them with objective historical knowledge and opening their minds to the difficult world of today. Independent international research by the “Programme for International Student Assessment” (PISA) of 2012 classified states according to the skill level of 15-year-old students. In the field of “reading and interpreting texts”, the first five places in their ranking were occupied by Asian countries. In these countries, there is a widespread reverence of science, lessons are often conducted throughout the year. There are also countless internal and external examinations and classes tend to be greater in size: in Hong Kong for instance which in the quoted ranking achieved the second position, one class counts even forty-two students. Unfortunately, it affects the high level of stress in South Korea (fifth position in ranking) and there the most common cause of death among young people is suicide. The best-positioned European Union country in this ranking is Finland. What is their recipe for success? First, Finnish schools benefit from a very high budgetary autonomy, which guarantees them greater freedom in their decisionmaking when it comes to spending funds. The school year is divided into many different modules during which students must pass a minimum of assigned tests, which are subsequently discussed and analysed in detail within class. Lessons last seventy-five minutes, thereby eliminating the need to assign homework. Compulsory school subjects include psychology and philosophy. Finland was not the only positive example of European schooling: the top ten of the ranking also included Ireland and Poland. However, for all these positive news, European education is faced with many challenges which must soon be confronted. More than 70% of education expenditures by EU Member States are costs associated with employment. This shows that discussion should not take centre on the amount of funding, rather its use. Investment funds must have a larger share in the budgets of schools. Problems are
not limited to structural shortcomings however: the PISA research also covered the sciences and mathematics, the results of which are definitely not a particular source of pride for European educators. For even the best-placed European Union country, the Netherlands, was only ranked tenth in the tables. More grievously, some of the good work of European education systems is currently being undone, as for instance the right-wing Polish government of Law and Justice (PiS) introduced reforms that effectively reinstated the school structures of the Communist period. Equally important for the quality of future education are both the inclusion of children in preschool education and a revision of the age to start pre- and primary school. In recent years, an increase of participation of the youngest children in preschool education could be observed, which bodes well for the future. For most countries, the schooling age is set at six years. However, in countries such as Hungary or Romania, parents may postpone the moment of sending their child to school, which can significantly decrease their chances of development. The purpose of educational changes should be primarily to develop social skills of young people. It is immensely important to foster the ability of young people to cooperate in a group environment. In turn, Europe has to move away from producing isolated individuals who cannot cope on the European labour market once they exit the educational bubble. Many countries have already introduced mechanisms needed to achieve these ends, but improvement across some Member States’ authorities should increase their focus in that area. It is also pivotal to teach modern history in an adequate fashion, as well as to emphasise positive values such as tolerance and respect for the rule of law. It is notably necessary to encourage the emergence of a modern young generation not susceptible
to manipulation and populism. This danger is best illustrated by the Polish example: recently, the government failed to respond to the visit of fascists at history lessons at a number of schools. Indeed, there is a real danger of significant changes in history curriculum, with schoolchildren potentially being taught a conspiracy theory proclaiming that the death of the Polish authorities in Smolensk was an orchestrated assassination, despite the investigations conclusively proving that it was an accident. Developments such as these can disrupt a proper perception of the world and lead to the radicalisation of the youth. In the face of so many challenges and problems, an important role ought to be attributed to the voice of students. Although they are on a higher level of education and many issues relating to primary and secondary education may not be among their main interests, it is exactly they, who on the one hand perfectly remember their experiences of these periods and on the other hand have a fresh, modern look at reality. Hence students should actively join in the ongoing debate - for the quality of the education enjoyed by the young generation will determine the future of the European community.
Beyond the Ivory Tower – Academia after Brexit Michael Gove’s claim that “people in this country have had enough of experts” was one of the most astonishing of the entire Leave campaign. In one short sentence, the leading Brexiteer and former UK Education Secretary single-handedly silenced voices of authority, whether they agreed with him or not. By this rubric, it no longer matters whether the experts in question are right or wrong. The point is, nobody cares either way. Their opinion is irrelevant. This leaves academics in a tricky position. What else are experts for other than to advise — and to be taken notice of — in complicated situations such as these? While University of Liverpool’s Professor Dougan’s video on EU law circulated widely on social media, this was clearly not enough to counter Gove’s pithy rejection of university expertise in general. Those speaking for caution found themselves out-manoeuvred after being thrown into an unexpected popularity contest. “We’re not sure about any of the outcomes, but Brexit might well lead to a recession so we’d advise against it” doesn’t quite stand up as a slogan when compared to “Take back control”. Dismissing years of research as “fearmongering” is a slippery slope for British politics, but there is a clear message for British universities to draw from the EU referendum. Whether supporting Leave or Remain, we are further up our ivory towers than we thought, and we need to climb down. Of course, that Gove’s rebuttal was taken seriously is the result of many years and multiple factors. But university communities need to take this as a loud call to attention, and redouble their efforts to engage in
dialogue across university walls. This will undoubtedly be a long and complex process. Nonetheless, it’s a necessary one, and PhDs and Early Career Researchers in particular are in a good position to set this in motion, as they will be the academics coming in to permanent positions as Brexit comes into effect. As a starting point I would like to put forward some practical possibilities: 1. STOP DENYING PLATFORMS TO SELECTED SPEAKERS This seems to be the single most important step towards both breaking out of university echo chambers, and building trust in academies. Universities are supposed to champion open debate, and be open to voices from all walks of life — not just those they deem acceptable. There is quite a difference between inciting violence and hatred, and expressing an unpopular or contentious opinion. Recent actions against speakers, however, seem to have blurred the two beyond distinction, such as the campaign to no-platform Germaine Greer at Cardiff University for transphobia, or an abortion debate being stopped at Oxford University because it was hosted by a pro-life group and
featured two male speakers. What kind of message does it send out if “experts” are unprepared to discuss views they don’t already agree with, but expect everybody else to respect theirs? This is a losing game. Furthermore, it does not equip students with the ability to sensibly and respectfully debate ideas, both listening to others and building the tools to persuasively convince others of their viewpoint. These are skills that both experts and leaders desperately need. As this referendum has clearly shown, opposing views don’t simply disappear when they are dismissed as “prejudice” or “bigotry”, on either the left or right wings of the political spectrum. Labelling views as such is an easy way to avoid the complexities of the very real concerns out of which opinions grow, and goes nowhere in terms of practicable solutions. 2. INVEST IN OUTREACH Reaching out beyond university borders, humanising research communities, and providing relatable role models is vital to combatting the idea that education is “not for you/ me/us”. Education must be for all — in the wise words of Pixar’s “Ratatouille”, not everyone can be an expert, but experts can come from anywhere. But this means not just reaching out to future students, but also to teachers and parents, who are the strongest voices around teenagers
UNIVERSITIES deciding whether or where to apply for university. Inviting parents to workshops that clarify admissions processes might go some way towards reassuring any fears that a degree is a three-year wages drain rather than an investment in their child’s future. Many outreach teams already do formidable work with schools, particularly attending teacher’s conferences, and these interests need to be protected as universities face tough decisions when they lose their EU funding. 3. HOLD WRITING CLASSES One of the most beautiful forms of human diversity is the range of vocabularies that we have to communicate with, tailored for different audiences and subjects. Within universities, highly specialised subject languages allow us to speak eloquently, clearly, and with greater specificity in our chosen area of expertise. But the inaccessibility of academic terminology is both blessing and curse. They also create miniature echo chambers, where only those who also speak that language can communicate with each other. If universities are seen as a small circle of elites who separate themselves from the rest of society, then subjects are further, smaller subsets within this. That a political campaign can be run on an anti-expert platform and succeed shows that this must change. Academics have a responsibility to discuss their work with audiences outside universities, and be able to explain why it is interesting, why it matters, why anyone should care. Sure, keep academic languages. But also cultivate the skills to express your ideas in languages that others speak as well. Holding writing classes with an emphasis on accessibility, such as those currently being trialled in the US for sciences students, might be a productive way to help researchers develop more transferrable languages.
4. CAMPAIGN FOR CHANGE IN MEDIA REPRESENTATION OF EXPERTS Academics have, in some sense, become a class of people who are ok to “other” in media representation. Frequently, media reporting refers to researchers as “eggheads”, “boffins”, “super brainboxes“, etc. This stereotypes academics in insidiously negative terms, and presents them as individuals who are decidedly separate and “other” from everybody else. Plus, when academics are wheeled in to provide expert opinion, this very rarely gives any idea of the hard work that goes in to research conclusions. When a scientific discovery is reported, it’s usually the outcome of years of work from dedicated teams who work long hours — hardly apparent when only conclusions are discussed, not methods or process. And this is before considering the humanities, whose more discursive formats don’t lend themselves to outcome-based reporting. If experts are to avoid the stigma of “never having done a day’s work in their lives”, to quote Nigel Farage in the EU chambers, their representation is important. An academic job is precisely that — and hard work goes into cultivating enough knowledge to be considered an “expert”. Their depiction as an out-of-reach community needs to change. 5. GET OFF THE RATIONALIST HIGH-HORSE People have emotions. They have feelings. Arguing that these are invalid because statistics prove emotional intuitions incorrect is more likely to generate resentment
than make anyone listen to statistics. The frustration expressed over the referendum being won on “feelings not facts” points to what can be a very real gulf between how experts express themselves and model the world, and how a large majority of people function in reality. The heart and head are not two separate entities, and emotions need to be heard and understood if they are to be discussed respectfully and helpfully. From the opposite perspective, academics rarely admitting of their personal investment in their work can be alienating — if even you don’t care about it, why should anyone else? Personal experiences can be a powerful motivator for research, and sharing these can build a strong connection between academics and their various audiences. Expertise needs to be balanced with empathy if either are going to be listened to in future.
Leah Broad, BBC/ AHRC New Generation Thinker 2016
COUNCIL OF EUROPE fundamental rights lasting continuously for thirteen years, from 1988 until 2001. A layperson might think that this is obviously neither efficient to weather an “emergency”, nor the right way of making use of Art. 15 ECHR. Nevertheless, the ECtHR has also accepted this case without any further explanations or more stringent requirements.
The State of Emergency
- A Carte Blanche for Governmental Power?
Europe is under attack. Almost every day, the media report about accomplished or prevented terrorist attacks, territorial disputes between certain countries or domestic coup attempts. Against this backdrop, a number of states are beginning to making increased use of the emergency clause enshrined in Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR); the legal norm, which allows a contracting party to take measures derogating from its obligations. But what does this derogation mean for the population and the protection of human rights? National security is an important good which needs to be protected. Dedicated to this aim, emergency clauses such as Art. 15 of the ECHR enable states to suspend or restrict the rights defined by the ECHR in exceptional circumstances in order to ward off serious security threats. The aim of these clauses is to allow states a greater and necessary freedom of action to avert serious situations of danger such as war or terror. In such cases, the state power must have a considerably larger room for manoeuvre to re-establish the normal constitutional status. For this reason, it is also within the interest of both, the individual and the collective, to allow a strong form of governmental engagement. Elsewise the state cannot act as guarantor of safety and protection. At the same time it is important to bear in mind that the expansion of governmental powers weakens constitutional guarantees such as fundamental rights. In the past, a number of contractual parties to the ECHR have relied on their right of derogation. Among them are Albania, Armenia, France, Georgia, Greece, Ireland, Turkey and the United Kingdom. The recent cases include in particular the UK in 2005 after the 7/7 attacks in London, France in reaction to the attacks in November 2015 in Paris, and most recently Turkey in July 2016 after the failed coup attempt. From a governmental perspective, it is more than understandable to
counter the continuously increasing security threats with more effective and comprehensive measures. This also applies for the usage of Article 15 ECHR, which should be reviewed in detail. When putting the spotlight on this particular clause, serious concerns already arise when focussing on the threshold that a critical situation must exceed in order to apply as state emergency. The jurisdiction of the European Court for Human Rights (ECtHR) shows that there is a wide margin of appreciation for national states. The Court only reviews the traceability of the presence of an emergency case. One example illustrates the declaration of an emergency by the UK in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks in the United States. The ECtHR accepted the imminence of the danger of terrorism faced by the UK after these attacks. It should be stressed that Britain was the only state that made use of Art. 15 ECHR and took this reason to keep on holding the emergency case for four years; until 2005. Granted, but this period might be a relatively innocuous example in the UK’s history. Back in the 20th century, Great Britain regularly resorted to the emergency clause during the Northern Ireland conflict. This led to the state emergency and in particular the derogation of
Beside this worrying tendency of judicial control, the level of state intervention rights should be put more into focus. First of all, one thing must be clarified in light of derogation of rights: there is a fixed limit to the disposition ability. Basic principles such as the right to life, the prohibition of torture, slavery or the death penalty - whose implementation recently has been considered by the Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan - are inadmissible. Nevertheless, increasingly often cases of abuse in the form of dropouts, discrimination or brutal approaches have been reported; especially in the context of implementation of preventive sanctions. Frequently, the French journalist Laurent Borredon is quoted. Borredon was commissioned by the newspaper Le Monde with the observation of the state of emergency in France. To emphasise his statements, he also reported on individual destinies. One of these fates was that of a Tunisian family living in Nice. In November 2015, a special unit of the French police invaded by 04:30 in the morning, blowing open the family home with petards. Shards of the explosion hurt the 6-yearold daughter in head and neck. Shortly afterwards the police found out that it was a vital error: They had the wrong address. Searches such as these are normally not practicable under French law without prior judicial search warrant. However, in case of an emergency, a different law applies. Of course, individual cases are not per se representative of the general situation. Mistakes always happen. Yet it is a good example to elucidate the essential dangers that exist for the rights of individuals in a state of emergency. In general, the debate on Article 15 ECHR should focus on three aspects: first, the case law of the ECtHR leaves an extremely large margin of interpretation for the contractual states. Secondly, the requirements imposed by the ECtHR on the extent of the risk situation are not very high. Here, a close proportionality scale has to be set. And lastly, the signatories to the ECHR have to find a suitable way to combine the necessary state flexibility and the human rights protection. Therefore, the member states should establish national observatory institutions, which monitor and analyse the actions on behalf of the state of emergency. Article 15 is not a carte blanche for national governments.
EDS Executive Bureau 2016 /2017
Georgios Chatzigeorgiou is EDS Chairman. Georgios holds a Bachelor degree in Law and is a Barrister-atlaw of the Lincoln’s Inn of Court in the UK. Georgios also holds a Master’s degree in Corporate Law from University College London (UCL). As Chairman, he is responsible for the day-today running of the organisation while some of his more specific responsibilities include external representation, fundraising and policy development.
Ivan Burazin is EDS Secretary General. He holds a Masters degree in National Securities Studies and a Bachelors degree in Administrative Law. He is currently pursuing PHD studies in Diplomacy and International Relations in Zagreb. Ivan runs the EDS Office in Brussels, and takes care of its day-to-day work.
Giacomo Rossetto lives in Milan, Italy where he is studying Economics and Management at the Catholic University of Milan. He is StudiCentro’s National Coordinator. As Vice-Chairman Giacomo is responsible for the newsletter and a member of the Social Media Team.
Alexander O’Brien lives in London and works in corporate governance. He read Law at the University of Nottingham and has a Master’s in Law & Corporate Governance from the University of Portsmouth. He is Chairman of the Young Conservative Europe Group and leads EDS’s proofreading team. He has been an active member of EDS since 2012.
Mitya Atanasov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria. He graduated in Information Technologies and is currently studying for a Master in Political Science – European Governance. A member of MGERB’s leadership team, he is also working as a manager for an IT company. Within the EDS, Mitya writes the Conference Resolutions together with Sara Juriks and is responsible for the PWG Policies for Europe.
Sophia Skoda lives in Vienna, Austria where she is studying International Business Administration at the University of Vienna. She has been active member of AG and the Austrian Students Union since 2013. As Vice-Chairman, Sophia is mainly in charge of the Permanent Working Group Higher Education and Research, EDS Erasmus and the Alumni Club.
Tomasz Kaniecki is a Polish law student. His interests lie in the digitalisation of public data and the future of law. Tomasz has served at European institutions and worked in both political and business research. In 2015, he was awarded a price by the British and Swedish Embassies for the best student paper on TTIP. He writes for the think-tank Civic Institute.
Silvie Rohr lives in Berlin, Germany and pursued studies in Law at Humboldt-University. Silvie is a member of RCDS’s federal board and a member of the integration network of CDU Germany. As EDS Vice-Chair, she represents the organisation externally and is mainly responsible for publications. Additionally, she writes the Council of Europe column for BullsEye.
Sara Juriks is originally from Oslo, Norway, but currently lives and studies in London. She is currently undertaking her Master’s degree in Comparative Politics. Sara has been an active member of EDS since 2014 and her main responsibilities within the Bureau are the drafting of conference resolutions and the Permanent Working Group Human Rights.
epp european peopleâ€™s party
BullsEye is the official newsmagazine of the European Democrat Students.