BullsEye September 2017 / 55th Year / No. 69 / ISSN 2033-7809
The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
Students for Minority Rights
Julien Sassel Editor-in-Chief
It is my pleasure to introduce to you to the BullsEye’s very first issue of the new working year 2017/2018. I remember the first time when I came across this magazine and my first reaction was sheer amazement regarding the impressive and professional quality of BullsEye. That is why I am immensely grateful for my new role as the Vice-Chairman of EDS responsible for the publications. The fact that BullsEye has reached this great level is a result of a great work and determination by Silvie Rohr, Henrique Laitenberger and BullsEye’s Editorial Teams of past years. Our new Editor-inChief, Julien Sassel, is a great and experienced choice for the task and I am eager to work with him, as well as with the entire team of BullsEye’s skilled and motivated editors. In the European Union, after a fairly difficult year in 2016, we have finally witnessed something positive as well: a couple of encouraging election results and also the publication of the Commission’s White Paper on the Future of Europe. One could argue that the unpleasant result of the British referendum was a long needed push for the EU, since it seems that finally we have moved on from merely reacting to different problems and crises to being more proactive. This is an extremely vital thing for the whole integration and its future. It is also vital for EDS to be active in these times, and as I perceive it, BullsEye is one of the many ways in which EDS can bring up our ideas and raise awareness of different concerns. On behalf of myself and the whole Editorial Team, we want to make sure that the new people attending our events will be amazed about the high and professional quality of the magazine also during this working year, as I was when I saw BullsEye for the first time. Wishing you all a pleasant read,
Tommi Pyykkö Vice-Chair for Publications
BULLSEYE The newsmagazine of European Democrat Students
04 Qatar: The Annoying Gulf Emirate 06 German Elections 2017: A Fourth Term for Merkel? 08 Why I Should Vote Yes - The 25 September Referendum on Kurdistan
10 A mosaic of minorities - Is a comprehensive solution possible in the Western Balkans? 12 Still a fifth column? Russian minorities in Estonia 13 Multicultural Clockwork? What can be learned from Switzerland 14 The Hungarian National Minority in Romania
Series - Europe and the World
16 What if America is first but nobody wants to be second?
18 The Oil Market: New Reality and its Implications on Global Politics 20 The Sudden Death of Liberal Britain? 22 War on the Web 24 The return of Europe's sick man?
26 The Challenges of Higher Education in the 21st Century 28 Reforming the EU(ropean Studies)?
Council of Europe
29 European Day of Languages 30 BullsEye Editorial Team 31 Bureau
Dear friends, Welcome to the first edition of BullsEye, the official debating magazine of the European Democrat Students, the largest student organization of the centre-right for the working year 2017/2018. The newsmagazine originates from the Taurus magazine of the seventies and in the mid-nineties changes its name in BullsEye, since when it has been regularly published. The aim of BullsEye is to provide news and reflections on European and global politics, giving a voice to those who fight to defend the values of freedom, democracy, human rights and rule of law. As a student organization news magazine BullsEye always had a particular focus on the topic of education and universities, as well as international organizations in which EDS takes part, such as the European People's Party, the Council of Europe, the European Youth Forum, the Robert Schuman Institute. In this issue of BullsEye we discuss about the topic that will be dealt with during our Council Meeting in Cluj –Napoca
(Romania) on the role and respect of ethnic minorities in today's Europe. In addition to this, our new Editorial Team has worked on topics such as the upcoming elections in Germany, the referendum on Kurdish independence and the situation in Qatar, the role of the new populist wave in the Anglo-Saxon political system, the trade agreement CETA, Turkey's accession process to the European Union, the geopolitical impact of oil prices and the continuing proliferation of cyber wars.
It is a great pleasure for me to address you as the new Editor-in-Chief of BullsEye for the first time. The Summer University in Varna was the occasion for a complete reshuffle of our teams, from the whole EDS Executive Bureau to our magazine. And after three years as Editor, I was delighted to seize the opportunity to become Editor-in-Chief. I wish to pay tribute to my predecessors, Silvie Rohr and Henrique Laitenberger, with whom I was lucky to work with during the last three years. We plan to build on those past successes, an even greater future. While this change of guard occurred, we believe that our magazine works at its best when it can rely on the right balance of experience and innovation. This is why our Editorial Team for 2017-2018 will include seasoned Editors and many new fresh faces. I am looking forward to work with the whole team to provide you the best magazine possible, in cooperation with our new Vice-Chairman in charge of publications, Tommi Pyykkö. As this has been a hot summer in many aspects, it seems that European politics stayed in the fridge for some months, as the snap election in the UK did not produce the wanted effect and led the country to a political standstill (until the negotiations on Brexit resume), and newly-elected Président Macron has still to deploy his policies. In addition, we are waiting for the results of upcoming votes in many countries, Germany being one of the main ones. Such votes are not limited to our continent, another ballot will draw the attention of the international community as the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq will decide upon its own fate. This referendum on Kurdish independence will write a new chapter of the long history and the quest for self-determination rights of the Kurdish people. This question will ring a bell to us all as we are gathering in Cluj-Napoca to discuss the rights of minorities in Europe. The borders of our continent were drawn with blood and ink on peace treaties. It is obvious to us that there are no natural borders and nothing lasts forever. Nevertheless, we should keep in mind that a stable political environment is the precondition for a prosperous society. And what is true for European countries in respect to the EU, In varietate concordia, should also be held true for individuals within single countries. As students and youth, it is our duty to build an inclusive society where everyone can be granted access to the labour market, welfare and, last but not least, education, regardless of language, gender, religion or background. I hope you will enjoy reading the magazine as much as we enjoyed preparing it.
Mattia Caniglia and Julien Sassel conducted an analysis of the right to education and the necessary curriculum reform for European studies, while the Vice Chairman responsible for the publications, Tommi Pyykkö, will report on some of the Council of Europe's actions regarding languages. For now, please enjoy reading the 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 my best regards, ISSN: Print: 2033-7809 Online: 2033-7817 Editor-in-Chief: Julien Sassel Editorial Team: Mattia Caniglia, Sabine Hanger, Ramy Jabbour, Vladimir Kljajić, Maciej Kmita, Kristina Olausson, Neil Smart Costantino, Sarah Wolpers, Teodoras Žukas Contributions: Julien Sassel, Zsombor Ambrus, Mattia Caniglia, Sabine Hanger, Falah Hasan, Ramy Jabbour, Vladimir Kljajić, Maciej Kmita, Henrique Laitenberger, Kristina Olausson, Tommi Pyykkö, Neil Smart Costantino, Sarah Wolpers, Anna Zahariadou, Teodoras Žukas Photos: Akos Kaiser, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Virgilio Falco Chairman of European Democrat Students
The Annoying Gulf Emirate The breaking of diplomatic relations between Qatar and seven regional states—Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Libya's House of Representative (based in Tobruk and supported by Eastern Libya strongman, General Haftar), and the internationally recognized Yemeni government—has brought a dispute about the country’s distinctive approach to regional affairs and the future of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) inter relations in the near future.
Saudi Arabia and its allies took a firm step in cutting their diplomatic relations with Qatar, imposing economic sanctions and blocking the Qatari news media including Al-Jazeera. This action which was followed by a targeted media campaign against Doha was the result Qatar’s Emir statement on the state-run news agency criticizing the US President Donald Trump. He also described Iran as a force of stability in the region and threatened to withdraw ambassadors from several Middle Eastern countries including Saudi Arabia. Qatar claimed that its official websites had been hacked, however, a number of Arab news agencies close to the Saudi, Emirati, and Egyptian leadership pointed out that some of the emir’s remarks had already appeared on Qatar state broadcasted before they were denied1. The tension between the Qatari emirate and the different Arab states came directly after a historical US-Islamic summit which resulted in huge agreements between USA and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). After three months of the Saudi lead blockage on Qatar, the crisis is still not resolved even though the Kuwaitis, Turks, Americans and some EU leaders are trying to find a common ground between the GCC leaders to end this dispute. What are the main reasons for this conflict and why did the key players in the MENA2 region imposed a blockade on one of their closest and the smallest neighbours? Most of the Western researchers considered that
the skirmishes between Qatar and the GCC countries are a result for the Arab Spring. Moreover, they simplify the issue by dividing the states as supporters or adversaries of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. It is somehow true that the bad relations between Qatar and the Saudi-led states developed after the Arab Spring; however it is essential to analyze the historical background to understand the crisis. “Kaaba of the dispossessed” was an important phrase used by the historical Qatari leader, Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani (reigned from 1878 to 1913), to describe the historical role played by Qatar. By using this phrase, Al Thani was labelling Qatar as an entity hosting regional banished leaders, fleeing criminals, and exiled political figures3. The same Qatari policy recently caused a lot of distress with its Gulf neighbours (mainly KSA) by hosting till now tens of opposition politicians and controversial religious figures. The turning point in the relations between Qatar and Saudi Arabia rose after Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, seized power from his father in a bloodless palace coup in June 1995. Gulf leaders did not welcome Emir Hamad’s accession and saw it as a threat to the stability of the Gulf monarchies4. Saudi Arabia was accused of being implicated in two counter-coup attempts in February 1996 and in 20055. The Qatari government withdrew up to 5,000 members of the Bani Murra tribe (historically located on the Saudi-Qatari border) of their citizenship
accusing the tribe’s members in the counter-coup attempt. Following 1995 coup, Qatari leadership aimed for autonomous regional policies seeking to bring the country out of the Saudi shadow. These policies were based on support for regional Islamists (mainly the Muslim Brotherhood), building good ties with Iran and their allies, enhancing their relations with USA and Israel covertly, and provision of Doha-based Al Jazeera as a platform for groups criticizing regional states as a tool for diplomacy. By building relations and alliances with different opposing states and sub-states (Iran, Hezbollah, USA, Israel, Turkey, Muslim Brotherhood...) in addition to playing the role of mediator in the MENA region skirmishes (most notably in the intra-state conflicts in Lebanon, Palestine, and Yemen), Qatar was hardly trying to project power aiming to lessen its dependence on its “annoying” Saudi neighbour. Moving to Bahrain, it is somehow difficult for this emirate to sever its relationship with Qatar due to its close relations with the Muslim brotherhood given that the Brotherhood’s Bahrain affiliate operates as a legal political entity and part of Bahrain’s parliament6. Furthermore, Bahrain may be the only country in the Arab world whose branch of the Muslim Brotherhood is loyal to the government. Much of the instability in the Bahrain-Qatar relationship is a result of their close familial ties and tribal heritage. Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifa monarchs conquered the island in 1783 from their base in Zubarah in present-day Qatar. They
maintained control over Zubarah and other parts of Qatar until the late nineteenth century, when they were forced out by the British following an attempt to capture the current Qatari capital of Doha7. Qatar’s ruling al-Thani tribe only gained full control over Zubarah in 1957, again following British intervention against the Al Khalifa’s attempts to assert Bahraini sovereignty over the area8. Adding to the historical conflicts between the two states and the territorial disputes, a short return to the demonstrations in Bahrain during 2011 can lead us to answer for this volatile relation. The decision to deploy the GCC PSF9 to Bahrain in March 2011 at the invitation of Bahrain’s King, is mentioned as the moment in which Bahrain essentially became a vassal state of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis’ military leverage over Manama is compounded by their economic influence, in particular as low oil prices and economic mismanagement have seen Bahrain run a series of budget deficits, with public debt ballooning at an alarming rate. The continuous financial aid provided by KSA and Manama’s fear from an Iranian coup made the Bahraini state a very close ally to Riyadh. Moving to the Emirati side, it seems that UAE is frustrated from the continuous support provided by Doha to the Muslim brotherhood which is considered as the main threat for Abu Dhabi. Through the strong support provided for the Muslim Brotherhood, Doha and its Turkish ally saw the Arab Spring as an
opportunity to project their power to influence most of the MENA region states, most notably Yemen, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, and most importantly Egypt. Threatened by the Muslim Brotherhood power, UAE became the main supporter for the traditional military Arab regimes to contain the danger of the Islamist movements. UAE succeeded to lessen the Turkey/ Qatari influence in Egypt by supporting the military coup of General Abdel Fatah El Sisi10. Thus, UAE’s crown prince became the main rival of Doha and was certainly enthusiastic for Qatar’s blockade. The neutral position of the EU and the unclear US stand in the GCC crisis, adding to the strong Turkish-Iranian support to Qatar, have strongly affected the dynamics of the conflict. The support given to Doha by Tehran and Ankara encouraged the small emirate not to surrender. PKK Kurdish militia’s threat on Turkey and Iran adding to the blockade on Qatar, may bring these three countries together and change the regional order. Two main group alliances are appearing nowadays in the MENA region. On one hand, it is evident that a coalition joining KSA, Egypt, UAE, and Bahrain is becoming strongly “accepted” by the Israeli Jewish state. On the other hand, an alliance composed of Iran, Turkey and Qatar is appearing. The developments in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Libya, adding to the future roles played by the US and EU will strongly impact the future of the region.
1 BBC, (2017), Qatar says state news agency hacked after report cites emir criticizing US, retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/news/worldmiddle-east-40026822 2 MENA stands for Middle East and North Africa 3 Roberts, “Qatar: Securing the Global Ambitions of a City-State”, 16. 4 Cockburn, P. (1995). Emir of Qatar deposed by his son, Independent, retrieved from: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/emir-ofqatar-deposed-by-his-son-1588698.html 5 Ulrichsen, K. (2017). Qatar: The Gulf’s Problem Child, The Atlantic, retrieved from: https://www.theatlantic.com/international/ archive/2017/06/qatar-gcc-saudi-arabia-yemen-bahrain/529227/?utm_ source=atltw 6 Gilbert, K. (2017). A Band of (Muslim) Brothers? Exploring Bahrain’s Role in the Qatar Crisis, Middle East Institute (MEI), retrieved from: https:// www.mei.edu/content/map/band-muslim-brothers-exploring-bahrain-srole-qatar-crisis 7 Omar Hesham AlShehabi, “Contested Modernity: Divided Rule and the Birth of Sectarianism, Nationalism and Absolutism in Bahrain,” British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies 43 (2016): 6. 8 Wiegand, “Bahrain, Qatar, and the Hawar Islands,” 82. 9 Peninsula Shield Force 10 Current Egyptian President
German Election 2017
A fourth term for Merkel? In the beginning of the year many people were talking about the Superwahljahr. The Spitzenkandidaten of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) Angela Merkel will run for a fourth term. But why is this year called Superwahljahr even though Merkel has been the chancellor for more than 11 years? And can Mrs Merkel continue her chancellery after the federal election?
This year is called Superwahljahr in German, which means literally super election year. The Reason for it is of the high amount of elections in Germany 2017. There have been already three German regional elections. And on the 24th September, there will be the national election for. In Addition, another state election in Lower Saxony will take place in October. Actually, it should take place next year but for unexpected reason it postponed to this autumn.
by the CDU and Junge Union. It creates analysis of potentials based on the possible political opinion of a specific area. The data is a combination of old election results and purchased addresses. This strategy is already used in the US for swing states. You only mobilize your own supporters und do not try to persuade dissidents. Nothing more is so convincing than the candidate, friends or the neighbor who are campaigning or the candidate.
For the federal election, Angela Merkel (CDU) who has been chancellor for three terms continuity while Martin Schulz (SPD) is a new face in German politics. Both are the Candidates of the two German people’s parties. Furthermore, Christian Linder (FDP), Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Cem Özdemir (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Dietmar Bartsch and Sahra Wagenknecht (Die Linke) as well as Alexander Gauland and Alice Weidel (Alternative für Deutschland) are the Spitzenkandidaten who are running for chancellery.
Last year there was the trend PokémonGo, where the user had to walk around to find new Pokémon’s and to the win battles. This method the Christion Democratic Union is using for their door-to-door campaigning in Germany. After the visit the supports type in if the person could be a possible CDU-voter. The supporters get points per visited household. Also, the user can reach points if the campaigner post or share something in the social media. Furthermore, new supporters can be registered. The App-User can increase their status from the level apprentice to level campaign –legend. The Top 10 Campaigner will receive a personal phone call by Angela Merkel after the election.
Nevertheless, it is obvious that these smaller parties will not provide the chancellor because of the low percentage which is presented by current polls. In January, the polls showed a nearly 20 points gap between CDU and SPD. When the Social democrats announced their candidate Martin Schulz the polls initially increased. Some were talking about the “Schulz-Effect”. But at the latest after the election in North Rhine Westphalia SPD lost control of the major state and the “Schulz-Effect” came to a sudden end. In all the election in Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine Westphalia the CDU earned electoral victory and die Social democrats bitter political defeat. The CDU has since regained it lead with polls generally showing a 13 - 16 % lead over the SPD. Angela Merkel appears to be on course for victory in September. However, what could be a reason why the CDU is leading in polls and won all German regional elections? The CDU was able to mobilize a biggest number of former non-voters compared to the other parties. Thus, the CDU got the vote of 430.000 former nonvoters in North Rhine Westphalia, 28.000 votes in the Saarland and in SchleswigHolstein 65.000 former non-voters. Nevertheless, what is the secret of the triumph of the Christian Democrats? Probably, it is the campaign strategy which is a combination made of Gamification, door-to-doorcampaigning and a well thought-out social-mediastrategy. For the first time the Party is using an App for the street door campaign. Connect17 was developed
The App creates a channel for feedback in the direction to the party headquarter. Current evaluation shows that the CDU has a higher score up to 2 percent in constituencies which are using the Connect17-App. Therefore they can campaign more effectively in those streets and areas where possible sympathizers of the CDU are living. The probability should be 60 percent or higher. In mid of August, the CDU opened the #fedidwguglHouse, which is named after the CDU campaign’s central slogan “For a Germany in which we live well and happily”. The house is located in the Center of Berlin and shows the election manifesto. On each floor, there are interactive rooms where the visitors can e.g. their visions for the future by robots or open info boxes about family policies. There is also a Europe-room, where is the possibility to write a value, which stands for the European Project. Furthermore, there is a Cyber-Space level, where visitors can play how to prevent Cyber-attacks, to combat internet hate speech and identify copyright piracy. There are only a few of the voters who make their way to the polls on September 24 who will actually take the time to read through the lengthy platforms published by all the German parties in the election. Because of this, the CDU created the walkin campaign program of the CDU. The hashtag #fedidwgugl is also used in the party’s social media strategy. When Peter Tauber, the Secretary General announced this hashtag, it went viral. The twitter community retweeted the hashtag. Some asked if that would be the German form of #cofveve. Twitter is popular in terms of opinion-
makers. That is why it is used to provide information for journalists, thus guaranteeing a multiplier effect. But the CDU reached their goal to get attention to their campaign’s central slogan. Additionally, the candidates are using the campaign Hashtag for their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Furthermore, the photos of the knocking on doors are often part of the politician’s InstagramStory. 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. Digital campaigning has thus far not driven offline campaigning out but replenished the “old-school campaigning“. The CDU supporters manning street stalls and knocking on doors also without using the App. And last but not least, Angela Merkel is holding town hall meetings in all regions and different cities of Germany. Most of these events are taking place on market squares where more than thousand people listening to the Spitzenkandidat’s speech. Nevertheless, the App is not the only reason why the CDU could and can mobilize people. Also, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and co. are playing a main role in the campaigning 2017. In Addition, the #fedidwgugl-House promotes the CDU image and creates an additional campaign area than the partyheadquarter and the market square speeches. The most important point is that digital campaigns as offline campaigns have a strategy. In particular, all parts of an election campaign have to be embedded in one strategy. A poll by Allensbach released on August 23th shows, that CDU/CSU would get 39,5 percent and SPD 24 percent of the votes. For that it is safe to assume that Angela Merkel will win the election on 24th of September. But the question of, who will be the coalition partner, cannot be answer yet.
Why I Should Vote Yes The 25 September Referendum on Kurdistan Region Independence In the beginning of the twentieth century, the Kurdish Nation was divided between France and the United Kingdom. Under the Sykes – Picot Agreement in 1916, Kurdistan was to be split between four countries: Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Today, the total number of Kurds in the four countries exceed 40 Million people, each of these countries denying Kurds their rights as nation and our history.
THOUSANDS OF HORRIBLE PERSONAL EXPERIENCES As I am an Iraqi Kurdistan Region citizen, a region which was founded in 1991, after 70 years of struggle and fighting, I will focus only on this region, which has the ambition to ensure the rule of law for all of country’s constituents. Kurdistan Region was constituted after a long series of massacres, which include the mass burying of 182 thousand Kurds in the Garmiyan District and eight thousand Barzanies people, the destruction of 4500 villages and the chemical attack in Halabja, which led to the killing of 5000 people. Kurdish history is full of sadness: I remember one of the early mornings in my life when I was seven years old; I witnessed the Iraqi army and security forces breaching into my house. They broke the main door and entered in the main hall without any permission. The group, which was composed of more than a dozen soldiers, spoke to my mother about my father's whereabouts because he was a
Peshmerga (Kurdish Freedom Fighter). They were looking for him in each room of the house while my brothers were at school at that moment so I felt alone and frightened with my mother. She answered them that he had been away for six years, a fact the Iraqi Army was aware of. He had left when I was one year old to became a Peshmerga, and he was not allowed to come back to Iraq due to his involvement in the revolt. I was crying because of the loudness of the soldiers' voice and suddenly, I heard the screams and cries of my mother as her head was broken and covered of blood. I still do not remember how they broke her head, all I could remember is the loud sound which came from my mother’s side as four or five of them were hitting her with their rifles' butts and kicking her. I was crying loudly, trying to defend and protect her and they did not stop hitting her until the neighbours arrived and took my mother away from them. This picture still remains in my mind as I am 31
years old today. I remember loads of similar stories about the Iraqi police, security forces and the military, and I do not want to share bad memories anymore. THE FUTURE OF KURDISTAN From 1991 to 2002, we were a free region, freed from Iraqi forces and attacks. We created the Kurdistan Parliament in 1992 and organised our first general election and as we tried to build our region step by step and make of it an example of freedom and democracy. After the ousting of Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, a new era began as we cooperated to form a new Iraqi government which would be under the rule of law. However, as soon as the Iraqi government gained new powers, it resumed using the old regime's manner with our people. This includes slashing the budget of the Kurdistan Regional Government, employees' salaries. Kurdish soldiers were marginalised within the Iraqi new army until ISIS attacked the Kurdistan region. The Kurdistan Regional asked for military support to the Iraqi government in order to face such attack, without a response. We had therefore to resort on European countries, Canada and the USA for arms and air support, conjugated with the bravery of the Peshmerga. Together, we have been able to defeat ISIS within the borders of the Kurdistan Region. After this, we felt that we do not have the same rights than the rest of the Iraqi people. For this reason, we, Kurds, and sundry political entities and all regional nations, Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians, Chaldeans and Armenians want to make the date of 25 September 2017 our day of Independence. We aspire to be a democratic country for all inhabitants: Muslims, Christians, Yezidis and Kakayees, all of them living in a liberated country where justice and equality prevail. We proved our good will by providing relief to more than 2 million displaced persons from other parts of Iraq and Syria who are now sheltered in our region. As citizen of this region, I will participate and vote Yes for Kurdistan Region referendum on 25 September 2017.
In Memoriam: Barcelona and Turku
"Democracy is necessary to Peace and to undermining the forces of terrorism" Benazir Bhutto
Falah Hasan IYDU Vice Chairman & International Director of the Youth of Kurdistan Democratic Party
A mosaic of minorities Is a comprehensive solution possible in the Western Balkans? When it comes to minorities in the Western Balkans, we must first bring our attention to the context of the region. Most countries of the Western Balkans - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Kosovo were recently involved in nation-building processes and all of them, except Albania, have a legacy of recent conflicts. The region is not only characterised by its violent history over the past few decades, but also its economic hardship and high unemployment rate, which has had a profound impact on youth as well.
At the turn of the century, the EU took a key role in ensuring that the needs and priorities of minority groups are both identified and addressed as an important component in longer-term democratic stabilization of the region. All of the abovementioned countries have aspirations to become member states of the EU. The EU accession process varies from country to country, with Croatia currently the only member. The necessary reforms and harmonization with the EU is challenging for the local political elites in the Western Balkans given the European Commission President’s declaration that “no further enlargement will take place over the next five years” (Juncker 2014). Minority protection means full implementation of anti-discriminatory policies, which include improving the capacities of the Human Rights Ombudsman, as well as focusing on Roma issues. One of the largest minorities in the Balkans are the Roma people, who are most vulnerable in all countries, as well as the rest of Europe. Discrimination towards Roma people is not only a problem at a state level, but also on a local one. It should be stressed that the EU supports the improvement of minority protection predominantly through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA II). There are also other donors that are active in this field. Aid is
used for improving the legal infrastructure but also in developing anti-discrimination measures. Most of the countries have strategical documents when it comes to improving minority rights. However, the majority of them are lacking implementation. Several years ago, it was stated at a conference that there is, “One country with two entities, three constituent peoples, four religious traditions and hundreds of problems”. It is a reference to Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country divided on ethnic lines following a bloody civil war which produced no winners. Constitutional changes recognising the equality of all citizens in Bosnia is a necessity. Currently, the Constitution reserves positions within the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the House of Peoples only for ethnic Bosniaks, Bosnian Serbs and Bosnian Croats, or the "constituent peoples", as they are referred to. Such a policy discriminates the other minorities in the country, including Roma, Albanians, Montenegrins and others, who form over 4% of the total population. In addition to structural discrimination, the Progress Report of the European Commission states that the Ombudsman's office lacks adequate human and financial resources to perform its functions as a national human rights institution. This is a common issue in many countries of the Western Balkans,
where human and minority rights take a back seat in the face of economic hardship and dwindling development. Ironically, Bosnia and Herzegovina boasts three ombudsmens, one from each "constituent peoples", thus making it impossible for individuals from minority groups to ever take up these positions. In neighbouring Croatia, Serbs constitute the largest national minority. They are officially recognized as an autochthonous national minority, and as such, they elect three representatives to the Croatian Parliament. However, discrimination against Serbs, as well as the Roma peoples is widespread. According to a 2016/2017 report by Amnesty International, the number of ethnic minorities employed in public services in Croatia is below national targets. Serbs face significant barriers to employment in both the public and private labour market. The right to use minority languages and script continues to be politicized and unimplemented in some towns. “The Council of Europe notes with regret that on August 17, 2015, the City Council of Vukovar (Croatia), where Serbs constitute a significant proportion of the population, decided to amend the city statute in such a way as not to provide bilingual signs in Latin and Cyrillic scripts at official town buildings, institutions, squares and streets”,
it said in a statement. Serbs face discrimination in other areas as well. Croatian Serbs refugees are still struggling to regain their homes after leaving them during the war of the 1990s. The UN refugee body, UNHCR, estimates that over 200.000 fled parts of Croatia within 24 hours of the start of the Croatian military “Operation Storm”, which had the aim of reintegrating a self-proclaimed Serbian republic within Croatia. Most went to Serbia while the rest went to Serb-run parts of Bosnia. The UN believes that more than 70.000 of these people have since lost tenancy rights in Croatia. A vast number of this property has been illegally seized according to various local and international NGOs. Serbia is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in Southeast Europe, with notable populations of Hungarians, Roma and Bosniaks, followed by smaller groups such as Croats, Slovaks and Albanians. Following democratic changes in 2000, Serbia started addressing its discriminatory practices and adopted several laws for the protection of its minorities. The Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, an ethnic Hungarian political party in Serbia, works closely with the state government in Serbia. Its leader is the President of the Assembly of the Province of Vojvodina, which has the largest Hungarian minority population in the country. The party has held the post
since 2008 and boasts mayors in several cities with a larger Hungarian population. Its members also hold posts within the central government in Belgrade. The integration of the Hungarian population in Serbia is a good example of a solution to the issues faced by other minorities both in Serbia and across the Western Balkans. Apart from political integration, the Hungarian minority is also provided with both state-sponsored primary and secondary education in their mother language. In addition, the Vojvodina public broadcaster is bilingual in both Serbian and Hungarian. A number of state programs, aimed at stimulating local businesses run by members of the Hungarian minority have been launched. Hungarian President, Viktor Orbán, known for his tough talk, recently commended Serbia for "always taking care of Hungarians who live in the country". Nonetheless, the Progress Report of the European Commission stated that there is scope for further improvements, such tackling regional differences, particularly in education, the use of languages, access to media and religious services in minority languages. The Bosniak minority communities of Sandzak in southwestern Serbia are among the most disadvantaged and underprivileged groups in the country. Therefore, an evaluation of their situation offers a good benchmark by which minority rights
progress can be measured in Serbia. Concurrently, the Bosniaks are increasingly asserting their unique societal identity. The preservation of their cultural heritage and Bosnian language related issues among other things play a central role in this ethnocultural revival. Nevertheless, two of the three most influential parties in that region, the Party of Democratic Action of Sandžak and The Bosniak Democratic Union of Sandžak, supported current president Aleksandar Vucic during his election. President Vucic also called for internal dialog when it comes to the Kosovo status but that remains an open question. The European Progress Report stressed that the legal framework of Kosovo broadly guarantees the protection of human and fundamental rights in line with European standards. However, the limited progress on the effective guarantee of property rights and the return and reintegration of displaced persons remain a concern, as is the protection of cultural heritage. Bosniaks and Serbs are the largest minority in Kosovo making up 3% of the population.. Implementation of human rights continues to be hindered by a lack of resources and political commitment, also at a local level. When we think about a comprehensive solution concerning minorities in the Western Balkans, we need to keep in mind that the passing of new legislation is very easy, given that all political elites are united in their desire to bring their countries to the doors of the EU. However, the implementation of laws requires a new political culture in local government, which is so crucial to the implementation of such policies. The process of democratic stabilisation is far from complete. Support from abroad is still required, especially assistance from the EU. Ongoing issues and processes have to be completed, such as reconciliation and the return of refugees, as well as the promotion of closer relations and regional cooperation among Western Balkan countries. Each solution requires comprehensive co-operation between the states, minority groups, CSOs, the EU and the media, which usually contributes in perpetuating negative stereotypes of marginalized groups.
THEME to Russia and the EU without a visa. Additionally, stateless persons in Estonia enjoy far more rights than elsewhere in the world, which is also an argument the government uses when defending its choice not to sign the Conventions on statelessness. Stateless residents may get permanent residence, travel abroad (with the grey passport) and are also given the right to Estonian consular representation abroad. Thus, there might be reasons why statelessness persists.
Still a fifth column?
Russian minorities in Estonia Estonia is one of the former Soviet countries that has made the most sensational transformation since the fall of the Wall. With digitization becoming an integral part of the country’s trademark, the most recent edition to its portfolio is the so called “e-residency”. While not being a type of citizenship, it enables you to start a company, manage it remotely and clarify your identity towards other parties without being physically present in Estonia. However, while opening up to the world Estonia still faces problems of exclusion on its on turf. After the end of the Second World War and the Soviet Union’s annexation of the Baltic countries, the Soviet government encouraged ethnic Russians to move to the newly acquired territories. Hence, countries like Estonia saw an increase in the number of Russians residing within its borders. After the fall of the wall, about 30% of Estonians were of Russian ethnicity. These individuals were not automatically granted citizenship, but have been subject to statelessness carrying so called “grey passports”. Despite its small population, 6,1% of Estonia’s population are stateless, equaling 79,300 persons. This part of the population also suffers from higher unemployment (1.5 to 2 times higher than amongst Estonians) and are also overrepresented in the prison population. Additionally, Estonia has not yet signed or ratified major international conventions on the topic; the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness, and the European Convention on Nationality. During the Russian annexation of Crimea, debates in Europe flared up about the possibility of Russian “interference” in the interest of Russian-speaking or Russian ethnic communities in EU countries. Yet, the support regarding claims that such intervention would be reasonable is limited. The reasons for this are manyfold. The path Estonia has taken, is a very different one from the country it was at the time when many of its Russian inhabitants moved there. It is on the forefront of the European Union. This autumn Estonia is heading the European Council during
the six-months Presidency. Its new President, Kersti Karjulaid, said recently that “It is only 25 years since, and we feel that we have a lot to offer to Europe”. In other words, “It’s in a way payback time now” . An important point is also that the new generation of young Russian-speaking Estonians are grown up in a Western country, contrary to their parents. As said by the U.S. based researcher Agnia Grigas “this generation offers nuanced perspectives on their relationship to Russia” because they are grown up in Europe with the possibility to travel and study in other Western countries. Additionally, many have not travelled to Russia and the bonds to their parents motherland may not be as strong. Estonia, from an economic point of view, is far superior than Russia for most Russian Estonians. They thus have a limited incentive to move back to Russia, where living standards would fall below the one that can be enjoyed in Estonia. Additionally, the answer to why the Russian minority of Estonia is less of a problem than Ukraine for example, can also be attributed to the EU membership. The access to the internal markets with rights and freedom of movement for its citizens is something highly valued, which would not be possible to enjoy with a Russian passport. This fact is also a reason to why the statelessness in Estonia persists. While incentives to gaining Estonian citizenship can foremost be attributed to being able to stand for Parliamentary elections, work in the public sector etc., holders of “grey passports” can both travel
A definitive aspect must be the possibility for the many young Russian-speakers to decide themselves whether they want to be part of Estonia as full citizens. The legislative adjustments the Estonian government has done recently must thus be seen in a positive light. In January 2015 it amended the Citizenship Law to simplify naturalization requirements for several categories of people, including children. The change has sought to allow children who are born to stateless parents, to obtain Estonian citizenship at birth automatically. Parents may reject citizenship for their children if they want to.
Multicultural Switzerland what can we learn?
The noble idea of United Europe was born in pain, and its consistent development and integration of successive members of the great European family required titanic effort. Learning the unity in diversity is by far the most difficult lesson for Europeans, which unfortunately we were unable to figure out, what the outbreak of the most powerful crisis in the history of the community - the refugee crisis, clearly showed us . Faced with these tragic challenges, we paid a high price both for carefully fueled xenophobia and the false sense of openness, which turned out to be far-reaching recklessness. Meanwhile, next to us, in Switzerland, we can observe the relative canon of peaceful coexistence of many cultures and differences. How did they build their multicultural society? What can we learn from them?
Thus, step by step, Estonia takes the road towards uniting its population and offering a new generation of Russian-speaking Estonians a different path than the one of their parents. One that means being part of the EU, having access to the internal market and economically beneficial choices in life. 1 http://news.err.ee/99941/number-of-grey-passport-holders-fallsbelow-100-000 2 https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/01/17/its-time-end-childstatelessness-estonia 3 http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/roads/2017/03/ many_ethnic_russians_in_estonia _have_gray_passports_live_in_legal_limbo.html 4 https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/07/07/human-rights-watch-uprsubmission-ohchr-estonia 5 http://www.politico.eu/article/estonian-president-to-eu-its-paybacktime/ 6 https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/opinion/the-newgeneration-of-baltic-russian-speakers/ 7 https://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2017/02/14/baltic-russians-arethey-sudetendeutsche/#5baa26764639 8 https://imrussia.org/en/analysis/world/2060-toomas-hendrik-ilves-“assoon-as-russia-becomes-a-democratic-country,-its-best-relationshipwill-be-with-estonia” 9 https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/07/07/human-rights-watch-uprsubmission-ohchr-estonia 10 https://www.hrw.org/news/2015/07/07/human-rights-watch-uprsubmission-ohchr-estonia
For many years Switzerland has been a cultural mosaic. The first large wave of immigration was triggered by economic booms in the 1960s and 1970s. It was when the Swiss faced the mass invasions of Italians, Portuguese and Spaniards. In the following years the Balkan and North African arrivals came to this country. The social structure of Switzerland was subjected to very gradual evolution, which we can distinguish as the main determinant of that situation. Over forty years (1960 to 2000), the proportion of people speaking in languages other than the Swiss, the official languages has increased more than six times. In recent years, a large influx of Islamic followers has also been observed. In spite of this complexity, Switzerland is not deeply conflicted and appears to us as a peculiar refuge of normality in an increasingly xenophobic Europe. The key is the Swiss Constitution, which not only defined the system of the state very clearly, but also emphasized all overriding values. In the Basic Law of Switzerland there are many references to respect
for separateness, primarily religious and linguistic. Particular attention is paid to the freedom of speaking native language. In Switzerland there are independent territorial units - culturally and ethnically diverse cantons. Federalism must be unequivocally assessed as a system of state organization that is beneficial to multicultural societies. Decisions at the low level of democracy lead to minimize the risk of conflict and to promote respect for interregional differences. At the same time a high level of direct democracy (a large number of referendums, popular initiative) raises a justified question whether the majority voting allows to save the rights of minorities. The Swiss constitution contains provisions that guarantee independence and a number of rights for "traditional minorities" (mainly those that came to Switzerland in the 20th century). For example part of article 70, which says that "The Federation supports the activities of the cantons of Rodent and Tessin to preserve and support the Russo-language and Italian language." The "new", so non-Christian minorities in
particular, draw attention to discrimination in the area of the ability to shape one's own independence. But as it turns out, the history of recent years shows that society is mature enough to vote in favour of minority rights. The Swiss have accepted a proposal to facilitate the naturalization of immigrants from the third generation in spite of protests from the conservative SVP. One year earlier they rejected the SVP's idea of automatic deportation of criminals who are not Swiss nationals. It is true that in the past years there has been one referendum strongly discriminating against non-Swiss workers, but later it has been significantly lessened. It is extremely important to note that the Swiss are rather severely demanding to respect "Swiss" values. This applies both to Muslims (in some cantons there is a strict prohibition of wearing burqa) but also for Catholic who would like to release their children from school for a week to attend traditional Masses organized after the first holy communion (in Switzerland the presence of children in school Is almost a "holy" thing). How does Switzerland behave in the face of the refugee crisis? First of all, it does not refrain from help and voluntarily announced its willingness to accept newcomers within the European Relocation Program. Paradoxically, this country is not, however, the first choice for the current wave of refugees. This is due to many reasons. Among other things, the benefits are mainly granted as loans to pay after finding a job and the Swiss authorities also use the confiscation of property valued at over one thousand francs. The Swiss system is incomparable to any other in Europe. It is difficult to conclusively state how solutions so deep in their federalism would affect other modern European state systems. Explicit constitutional references to freedom and respect for minority rights are undoubtedly important, but more as a solid foundation for a slow, consistent building of multicultural society. It seems that the only direct indication that we could draw from a Swiss case in the face of present migration and refugee challenges is the preservation of openness and generosity while enforcing compliance with the rules of society. This will allow us to protect ourselves against both xenophobia and false political correctness. Everything else what Switzerland has achieved through multicultural integration, should be a model for Europeans in the daily, tedious task of saving the most important European value: peace.
The Hungarian national minority in Romania and the need for an EU legislative framework on minority protection In the European Union alone out of the 500 million citizens, 50 million belong to a national, autochthonous minority or a minority language community, and a number of them are not even recognised by their states. The Hungarian minority from Romania is the largest autochthonous minority in Europe, living in one country. According to the 2011 census 1,237,746 citizens, 6.5 percent of Romania’s population are of Hungarian nationality, the overwhelming majority (99%) of whom live in Transylvania. Nota bene, the region of Transylvania was part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire until after World War I, when the Treaty of Trianon reduced Hungary to one third of its former size, leaving millions of Hungarians outside the borders of Hungary. Transylvania is home to a Hungarian minority rich in culture, a Hungarian folk heritage that is one of a kind in the world, living traditions, a region that is unique in natural treasures, historical architecture, fine arts, and a language that is very different from the languages of Europe. People who visit Transylvania immediately notice that the region is somewhat different from the other regions in Romania. The numerous bilingual signs of the cities and villages in certain areas of Transylvania, the architecture, the culinary and cultural specifics are all indicators of a region that is culturally and linguistically outstanding in Romania, thus adding to the diversity of the country and Europe as a whole. Despite the fact that the Hungarian community
represents a valuable asset in terms of the multicultural aspect of Romania, Hungarians in the country are more than often considered a threat by some members of the majority population. 27 years after the fall of communism in Romania, the creation of democratic institutions and the establishment of the rule of law, and after 10 years of EU membership, the Hungarian community of Romania still faces serious discrimination. There are numerous unresolved issues when it comes to minority rights, such as guaranteeing bilingualism, respect for the symbols of the minority communities, advancements in the educational and health care system, and the enforcement of the legislation providing rights to the national and ethnic minorities, in general. Without detailing the history and the system of protection for autochthonous minorities in Europe, it should be mentioned that for the citizens of the EU member states, there are no established mechanisms for protecting of minority rights, other than the instruments provided by the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The European Union itself provides no framework for minority protection, since it is not one of its competences. States seeking EU membership have to conform to a set of criteria pertaining to the protection of minorities. However, with the moment
of accession to the Union, minority protection is basically reduced to a state competence, legislation and policies on the issue become troublesome to sustain, not to mention their improvement or further development. As legal recognition of the different minorities in Europe continues to spark a series of heated debates, the EU has refrained from including the minority protection in the acquis communataire, acting only within the limits of the competences established within the Treaties. Unfortunately, certain member states are reluctant to give up control over minority issues. The various EU member states use different norms, establish and apply different standards in recognizing minorities and ensuring their right to use their native language, the right to educate their children in their mother language and to preserve their culture. This obvious discrepancy is to the detriment of the Union as a whole, since the fate of 50 million citizens must be regulated on a supranational level. The situation of European autochthonous minorities, ethnic communities, regional and linguistic groups should not be considered an internal affair of the different member states. Minority protection should rather be developed and enforced on an EU level. In order to achieve this, minorities first of all need to formu-
late a relatable and clear message, to persuade the member states and the EU that minority protection is beneficial for every autochthonous, national and linguistic minority of Europe, and most importantly, it does not take away anything from the majority. Currently, the member states have no desire to further the implementation of the various minority-related legislation that has been adopted during the preaccession period, as a result of the obligations imposed by the “Copenhagen-criteria”. Starting with 2011, there is a new tool at the disposal of the citizens of Europe, a new political participation instrument, through which citizens can now directly propose and affect European legislation. The ”Minority SafePack” (MSPI) is such a European Citizens’ Initiative that calls upon the EU for legislative support and the protection of persons belonging to national and linguistic minorities, and to strengthen the cultural and linguistic diversity of Europe. Multiculturalism and diversity are fundamental values of the EU, and it is in the best interest of Europe and all of its citizens to protect these key principles. What the MSPI basically means and what it asks for is to stop and reverse the extinction of languages and cultures in Europe, equal access to European
funds (since all European citizens pay taxes), a Language Diversity Centre, strong regions, strong communities, research into the role of minorities, an improved anti-discrimination framework, rights for stateless persons, unlimited access to information and entertainment in the mother language, and saying goodbye to digital borders and geoblocking. The gathering of signatures has officially begun in May 2017, and EU citizens can sign the Initiative at www.minority-safepack.eu. Nevertheless, this is merely the first step. The next challenge is to spread the word, since MSPI needs 1 million signatures in order for the European Commission to consider turning this Initiative into a legislative proposal. In the meantime, however, there is a need to build support for the Minority SafePack by sustaining a dialogue with the majority population, in order to reinforce the fact that the MSPI is a common European cause. The Hungarians in Romania, just like every other autochthonous minority in Europe, want to preserve their mother language, their identity and culture. In order to achieve this, they need a set of measures and concrete legal acts for the promotion and protection of the European minorities and the regional or minority languages. A European Union divided on
minority protection is not sustainable in the long run. And that is where the importance of the Minority SafePack Initiative lies. “Unity in Diversity” can only be truly achieved if each and every person belonging to an autochthonous minority feels that they are equal citizens of the European Union, and for that they need partners, and they need Europe to accept them as integral members of the European community.
Zsombor Ambrus Hungarian Youth Conference from Romania
EUROPE AND THE WORLD
What if America is first but nobody wants to be second? ”We want to make clear in this vote that we do not want to build walls, we want to build bridges“, said Manfred Weber, a prominent member of the European Parliament to encourage to vote for CETA, the trade agreement between Canada and the EU, while simultaneously casting aspersions on Trump’s plans for building a wall between Mexico and the U.S.A. Presumably signing CETA and starting trade negotiations with Mexico became more a symbol against Trump than anything else, but does it really affect the U.S.A if the EU is having trade-agreements with everyone excluding the U.S.A itself?
A THING CALLED FREE TRADE AGREEMENT Everybody seems to have an assumption regarding CETA and trade agreements in general; nevertheless, it is questionable if really everyone knows what they are arguing about. CETA, short for Comprehensive Economic & Trade Agreement is a trade agreement between the EU and Canada in order to trade goods duty free. Before CETA entry into force, only 25% of EU tariff lines on Canadian goods were duty-free, after CETA the number will increase up to 98%. This will provide enhanced export opportunities into the EU market for Canadian producers, processors, and manufacturers, including fish and seafoods, agriculture, forestry goods, and the full range of industrial goods. With respect to strengthening the trading relationship with Canada, not a lot of people are against it, but of course there is more to CETA than just trading. CETA is a new type of free trade agreement, which some people celebrate as a positive and more progressive thing and others especially because of that see it as a dangerous pitfall. The first and main concern is about the “corporate court” system which will afford many more corporations special legal process to sue European governments for passing laws they do not like.
As a matter of fact, that was one of the main reasons the Belgian region of Wallonia almost boycotted the signing of the contract. Belgians in general feared that agreeing to set up a special court for hearing foreign investor disputes would undermine national sovereignty, limiting the ability of local governments to enact environmental, safety, and health regulations. A lot of people in favour of CETA agreed, that this might cause problems in the future, that’s why they did in fact change it. The change relates to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) under Chapter Eight (Investment) of the CETA. Yet, it does not change the general dispute settlement procedures set out in Chapter Twenty-Nine of the Agreement (which apply to the interpretation and application of the CETA as a whole).
CETA that the agreement with South Korea for example brought 200.000 new working places, in addition, he goes on to say that “Whoever thinks the EU is doing better while going back, is wrong”. Although it is tough to pick a side, one thing seems to be clear – the EU and Canada did accelerate the negotiations as soon as Trump claimed his protectionism. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN TTIP AND CETA? Initially CETA is already signed and ratified, unlike TTIP, short for Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which was already under sluggish development during President Obama and now under Trump, was stopped in January 2017. Regarding to the content of the Agreement EU has generally the same goals, even though one faces a totally different trading partner. With 509 millions inhabitants, the EU faces with Canada’s 35 millions inhabitants a compared small trading partner to the heavily populated U.S.A. with 310 million people living there. Of course not to mention, that Canada is only the 12th most important trading partner to the EU and the U.S.A is the most important trading partner. In fact, if TTIP was signed, it would cover a third of the world trade with it’s regulations. As far as we know, TTIP has about the same controversial issues as CETA, but when it comes to sensitive topics like the corporate court system or the investors protection,
the USA would not relinquish its policy, despite Canada who managed to compromise about those topics with the EU. But as mentioned before, none of that really matters since Trump took over the Oval Office and declared, that TTIP will not be up for any more negotiations. Despite all those difficulties, Germany however still believes, that TTIP will find its way and actually got a response from US-trading minister Ross saying, in contra to Trump that America’s interest in bringing TTIP back on track is there, particularly since CETA was signed. DOES CETA AFFECT THE U.S.A AT ALL? It seems that it has become a priority for the EU to set deals with all of Americas “Seconds” such as Canada and Mexico. As a matter of fact, that is something based on mutual interest. Since Trump became president, Cecilia Malmström, the European commissioner responsible for trading, is a well-received guest in Canada and Mexico. Building alliances seems to be a very important step to form a proper non-Trump economic bloc, considering TTIP is not the only Trade Agreement Trump threatens to throw over board. On August 16 2017 re-negotiations for NAFTA, the trade agreement with Canada, Mexico and the USA, started.
NAFTA, short for North American Free Trade Agreement, was signed 1994 by Mexico, Canada and the U.S. which quadrupled the trade within those three countries. Notwithstanding, Trump sees the Agreement as a catastrophe and if it the re-negotiations will not bring improvement, he threatens that the U.S. will resign from NAFTA. CETA therefore does not play a magnificent role but with reference to Trump’s protectionism, CETA will actually be more helpful for the U.S than Canada, because CETA would open up Europe to direct challenge by US corporations in special corporate courts. About, 40,000 of the biggest US corporations have subsidiaries in Canada which could use CETA to sue European governments. Although rumour has it, that CETA was only signed so fast to make a point against Trump, it might also help him. On the other hand, Canada sees itself more confident in its position against the USA since CETA is signed. Although they know that CETA is nothing like NAFTA, they did something supposedly unexpected by getting a very progressive Trade Agreement signed. Canada presents itself confident, that by renegotiating NAFTA, they will bring the agreement into the 21st century by making it more progressive, such as CETA. Concluding one can say CETA might have no influence on the negotiations about NAFTA at all, still, one shall not forget that CETA is just the small brother of TTIP, which means, if CETA is successful, the U.S. will have a tough time ignoring the EU much longer. And although Trump for sure will not abdicate his position, apparently as before mentioned trading minister Ross seems to be a bit more comprehensible. So even after all the U.S. is first in competition, if there is nobody else competing, it might just be last as well.
Another big issue seem to be severe concerns that the Standards for goods in Europe will deteriorate; particularly when it comes to meat, people fear that imported goods from Canada may cause harm. However, CETA does de facto have an article which specifies that the standards European citizens are used to will not be harmed. If Canadians want to import goods, they need to increase their standards, notably when it comes to food.
Sabine Hanger Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, likes to remind people who are against
The Oil Market: New Reality and its Implications on Global Politics As the global political conjuncture getss more troubling each day, the state of the world economy is in a different shape. The revolution of shale oil — at least for some time — has helped to stabilise global oil market, which is a positive sign for the West. Besides that, potential geopolitical implications of these new realities in oil market might work well. Though, as recent years had showed, stability is a phenomenon, not a tendency.
Indeed it is no surprise that oil has a huge impact on international politics. Since its emergence as one of the most valuable natural resources in the end of the 19th century, at that time, great empires and later dominant world powers were competing massively in order to control as much oil resources as possible. In almost every major regional conflict throughout 20th century, oil, and its potential economic benefits, was one of the key driving forces for various countries to enter the bloody conflicts. And we do not need to look back to the old history to remember such precedents. Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988), a Gulf War (1990-1991) and American invasion to Iraq (2003-2011) can be seen as visible examples were oil was, if not the most import, but indeed significant aspect for the conflict to began. In modern times, when the stable oil price became a vital part of global international economy architecture, inevitably, oil is a significant object in the context of the bilateral and multilateral relations for the various countries. Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is the biggest oil association, which unites a dozen major oil producing countries — from Saudi Arabia and Iran to Venezuela and Nigeria. Created in the 60s, its official mission is to coordinate and unify petroleum policies around the world to uphold stable situation in global oil market. In other words, OPEC was established to preserve oil price high, which is an essential factor for the OPEC countries economies. For many years OPEC had a bunch of levers to maintain its
policy of high oil prices successfully. Besides that, OPEC, as an organisation for the better part consisted of Muslim countries, has used its economic influence to shape international agenda. After US backed Israel in 1973 Yom Kippur War, OPEC retaliated by proclaiming an oil embargo which raised oil prices enormously. At that time U.S. was producing a lot, but it was also consuming a lot, forcing it to import more from OPEC states, which produced about 55% of the world’s oil in 1973. The embargo created a fourfold jump in prices and a global oil shock and, of course, huge economical and domestic political consequences for the Washington. It was an explicit economic tool by the OPEC so as to impel one’s political opponent make concessions and to achieve one’s political and geopolitical goals. However, the current situation is changing drastically. In the winter of 2016, the price of oil barrel reached a low unseen since 1999, the price was swinging between 29-31 USD for the barrel of both Crude and WTI types of oil. The oil giants — Chevron, Shell, British Petroleum — were cutting salaries and firing employees; a plenty of small American oil producing firms went to bankruptcy. Moreover, many analytics drew dark scenarios for the oil dependent economies, such as Saudi Arabia, Russia or Venezuela. Though after some time, it looked that situation is getting better. In the second quarter of 2016 the general price for the barrel started to grow, though in the second part of the last year it stopped. After the final impulse of growth, the
price for the barrel of both types of oil stabilised in about 47 USD and has not been growing for almost a year — an unprecedented period of time in the oil market history. REVOLUTION Although the word could sound too harsh, it is fully accurate. We are witnessing no less but a revolution in the history of natural resources. The magic word in the current revolution is shale and the new opportunities to produce huge amounts of oil (and gas too) through the shale. In the 1990s American scientists started to find a way how to combine shale fracking with a separate process known as horizontal drilling, which allows a well to be drilled vertically, then, when the drill hits the desired sedimentary layer, it is turned to drill parallel to the layer. In 1991, a first well was successfully horizontally drilled and fractured for the first time, and in 1998 the first profitable horizontally fractured well was completed. In other words, U.S. producers have found a way to efficiently produce shale gas, and shale oil. At the current moment, the new ways to produce oil starts to show fruitful results, and American oil production is growing rapidly. First and foremost, U.S. has weaned itself off foreign oil. Just a couple of years ago the US started producing more oil than it imported, and it has not looked back — since 2010 its production of crude oil has grown twice. The numbers of U.S. oil production growth correlates with tremendous export figures. For instance, the U.S. exported 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day in this year March, a whopping 64% increase comparing with last year. These new marvellous numbers of U.S. oil export are the main cause of the new realities in the global oil market. U.S. currently is able to uphold the price of the oil barrel below 50 USD. This is a nightmare for Russia, Saudi Arabia and other oil driven economies. In order to gather a budget, Russia needs the oil price to be approximately 70 USD for the barrel; for the Saudis, the price for the barrel of oil needs to fluctuate around 80 USD. Therefore, today OPEC and Russia are in complete Catch 22. In order to raise the price, OPEC and Russia decreased the number in production; however the price is not rising because of increase in U.S. supply. Vice versa, OPEC and Russia can not reduce production much further, due to US full capabilities to increase production and to uphold the price similar to todays. GEOPOLITICAL IMPLICATIONS First of all, the new reality of oil prices means that OPEC countries no longer has a leverage to pursue its economic and geopolitical goals and influence America and its allies foreign policy. After the revolution in shale oil, America has all instruments in its hands to guide global oil market in
the way it feels the most beneficial for itself and its allies. As mentioned above, the present standing in oil market is a nightmare for Russia. It’s almost clear that Moscow will not be able to collect its budget by the year 2018. There is even information that Kremlin is planning to cut its spending for the Defence sector. Indeed, Moscow is planning to reduce spending for its military while it is in an active position in Southeast Ukraine, Syria and is moving aggressively in Eastern Europe. We cannot reject the possibility that the new U.S. policy with regard to oil production is in some way an unofficial sanction to Russia for its aggressive stance in various regions. Therefore, it is worth hoping that Mr Putin, in the context of tragic economic situation, is going to rethink its adventures in Ukraine, the Middle East and the meddling in European countries democratic procedures. By modernising its infrastructure and adopting the newest technologies, European countries step by step are becoming oil independent economies. Consequently the current oil market environment is quite satisfying for Europe. More than two-thirds of Europe’s oil import comes from outside of Europe, therefore, to buy a barrel of crude oil for less than 50 USD is a no headache to say the least. Nevertheless, Europe should follow the path in segregating its economy to the complete independence from oil. Without a doubt, international economy today is in an unprecedented state, and it is working well for the West. While in the near future the global oil market most likely will avoid the drastic changes, the next regional turmoil — would it be the Middle East, Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe — could alter the situation drastically.
BE ON In 1935, George Dangerfield published what was to become one of the most iconic works of British political history: “The Strange Death of Liberal England” sought to shed light on the bewildering decline of the Liberal Party which throughout the 1930s was being steadily replaced by the Labour Party as the country’s second natural party of government after the Conservative Party. Not least in the aftermath of the Second World War which saw the definite replacement of the Liberals as a major political force by Labour, Dangerfield’s study gained highly influential status and remains staple reading of any undergraduate historian of British politics. For the demise of classical British liberalism, known for producing some of the kingdom’s eldest statesmen from Viscount Palmerston to William Gladstone and David Lloyd-George, constituted the most radical party-political realignment in modern British history.
The Sudden Death of Liberal Britain? “It’s 2017 and liberalism is dead” stated recently the British columnist Rod Liddle. Whether friend or foe, there are many within Britain who share his observation. In the eyes of many pundits, 23 June 2016 has proven a catalyst in entrenching illiberal tendencies in British public opinion and abetted a major realignment in UK politics.
THE LIBERAL CONSENSUS Crucially however, the Liberal Party’s reduction to a rump of its former self was not tantamount to a disappearance of liberalism from the British political scene, as many liberals found a new political home in either the Labour or Conservative party. Especially from the 1960s onwards consequently, these liberal influences forged a new ideological consensus in Britain. On the left, statesmen such as Roy Jenkins paved the way for a more socially liberal and cosmopolitan society. On the right, Harold MacMillan and Ted Heath committed the Tories to the European cause, whereas Margaret Thatcher, during her premiership, reestablished the Gladstonian values of individual liberty and free-market capitalism firmly in Britain’s political mainstream. The election of Tony Blair and New Labour in 1997 marked the ultimate apogee of post-war British liberalism which, no longer tied to a single party, permeated every single one of them. David Cameron’s rise to the Conservative leadership completed this forward march of liberalism by adding a strong dosage of social liberalism to Toryism. Rather than disappear into oblivion therefore, no philosophy was to gain such sway within British politics in the 20th century as liberalism. BREXIT – THE ANTI-LIBERAL REBELLION? At the latest since 24 June 2016 however, this liberal consensus has come under challenge. This was not least due to the prevailing interpretation of the Brexit vote as a rejection of this liberal consensus and all it represented: EU membership, open-minded immigration policies, a free-market economy, individualism. Although still strong among most parliamentarians of either side of the House of Commons, the leaderships of both the Tory and the Labour Party consequently began from autumn 2016 onwards to forge their own peculiar “illiberal” brand in response to the result. This first required a rupture with the past: already when first elected in 2015, Corbynites had been keen to remove the remnants of Tony Blair’s liberal centrism
within the party whom they not only blamed for his illjudged invasion of Iraq alongside US President George W. Bush, but also for a pro-capitalist agenda that had failed to prevent, if not abetted, the exacerbation of social inequality in the country. It was only after the referendum, with its perceived character as a rebellion of the “have-nots”, that especially this economic critique gained credibility within the Labour mainstream. In a similar vein, Theresa May wasted little time upon her accession to the premiership before showing that she decided to break with the legacy of David Cameron. In a first sign of things to come, she swiftly dismissed most of her predecessor’s ideological allies from the Cabinet, allegedly telling former Chancellor George Osborne that he “needed to get to know his party better” as later emerged. That times truly were a-changin’ became however most clear at the party conferences of Britain’s natural parties of government: in Liverpool, Jeremy Corbyn succeeded in crushing the centrist inner-party opposition that had marred his initial tenure, by fending off a leadership challenge mounted by his MPs with great ease. His re-election was not so much seen as a personal victory, but one for his brand of unapologetic socialism. Likewise, at the Tory party conference in Birmingham, Theresa May delivered a keynote address in which she forcefully highlighted that she had no time for the liberal conservatism of the Cameron era. The speech culminated in a vociferous repudiation of cosmopolitan liberals as snobbish “citizens of nowhere”. For too long, May insisted, politics had placed the concerns of these metropolitan elites above those of wider public and vowed to forge a society “on the bonds of family, community, citizenship.” THE NEW COMMUNITARIAN CONSENSUS Though both like to depict their political stances as lightyears apart, there is a case to argue that the ideologies of May and Corbyn share many defining traits (though of course with different emphases): a dislike of free markets, a firm conviction in the primacy of the state’s ability to alleviate poverty through large-scale redistribution of wealth, an instinctive scepticism of supranationalist governance, even a belief in immigration’s corrosive effect on social harmony. What enables this surprising ideological congruence is one core belief common to Corbyn and May alike: the foundational pillar upon which their political philosophies rest is a rejection of “selfish individualism” against which they posit the special bond of the community – in May’s case organised along broadly national, in Corbyn’s along class lines. It should be stressed that, this philosophical overlap notwithstanding, it would be misguided to regard the Prime Minister’s social conservatism and the Labour leader’s socialism as equals however: though she likes to play to Britain’s fearsome and powerful right-wing populist press gallery, May is not a far-right populist of
Trump’s or Farage’s ilk. Corbyn on the other hand has throughout his political career shown a highly worrisome contempt for basic norms of liberal democracy. The list of his anti-liberal misdeeds is long: from engaging in apologetics of terrorist organisations such as the IRA, Hamas, and Hezbollah, to the appointment of avowed Stalin and Stasi apologists in his inner circle, lax handling of anti-Semitic outbursts within the Labour movement, and most recently, his refusal to disavow the Venezuelan Chavista regime whom he has overtly supported for years, Corbyn has shown sympathies for nearly all of the most unsavoury elements of left-wing opinion on offer. However, this cannot conceal the radical shift that 2016 represented: as Britain’s two natural parties of governments retreated into their socially conservative and socialist corners, Liverpool and Birmingham left a gawping hole where Britain’s liberal centre-ground had been. CAN THERE BE RECOVERY? Eight score and one year after Dangerfield’s landmark study, Britain may hence again be faced with the end of liberalism as a predominant political force in the kingdom – yet whereas Dangerfield and his contemporaries were startled by the steady demise of a formerly ebullient colossus of British party politics, the country currently marvels at what appears as the erstwhile end of liberalism’s philosophical sway in British politics. Whereas the end of the liberal partisanship in the 1930s unfolded gradually and somewhat intangibly to its then-observers, philosophical liberalism suffered its asymmetrical shock tangibly and swiftly on 24 June: across the political spectrum, Brexit has encouraged its principal parties to a greater or lesser extent to retreat into a communitarian, isolationist creed that, each in its own way, rejects individualism, cosmopolitanism, and free markets. How and if liberalism may recover as a political force in the United Kingdom within the near future remains to be seen – and indeed, with the defeat dealt to May’s vision of Britain, it is possible that the tide may turn again in liberalism’s favour. Rumours of British liberalism’s demise might yet have been greatly exaggerated.
War on the Web
Is the world experiencing the first global cyber war? Back in May 1961, Leonard Kleinrock, introduced an idea to the world, through his paper “Information Flow in Large Communication Nets”. This is what is thought to have opened the door to the introduction of what is now the most important are of communication and operation, the internet. Little did he know that the idea he conceptualized would end up being strategically exploited in a matter of years, and end up as, arguably, the hottest battlefield.
BE ON that International Law does not even cater fully to these situations to resolve the arising conflicts. This creates a giant loophole which can be almost easily exploited if one boasts a strong enough cyber threat. Without a doubt, this one of the biggest advantages that Russia holds over the west. SHIFTING TERRORISM ONLINE Another important development that the west needs to counter is the growing online presence of Terrorist Groups. While ISIS have been experiencing heavy territorial losses in Iraq and Syria, their cyber presence has been growing at alarming rates, with which the West has failed to keep up. Throughout the past few years, ISIS has been using the internet as the main area for recruitment. Nevertheless, it is understood that they will be shifting their financing for attacks to a virtual dimension in the near future. While this may be different to the threat posed by the Russian Cyber Attacks, it is equally alarming. Europol understands that there are attempts to create a social media architecture in order for their followers to be exempt from security restrictions which may hinder the organization from exchanging their strategies and communicating them to their followers. The threat in place here would mean that through this network, ISIS would be able to communicate their next move and encourage further attacks. The alarming reality is that the main concept of ISIS has shifted from a State to an Idea. With its strong online presence, defeating this idea will be a near impossible task for the west.
FROM LUXURY TO COMMODITY TO NECESSITY TO WEAPON In 2017, it is impossible to deny the great importance that the internet represents to absolutely everything we do. Being an always changing environment makes it all the more tough to control, as what is legal today may not be legal tomorrow, but equally, what cannot be done today, may be done tomorrow. It is this principle that has made Cyber warfare such an attractive alternative to Nation States and International Organisations. Any country nowadays is better off investing heavily in the Information Technology sector more than any other, for the mere reason that over time, the internet has developed from a luxury into a weapon. It comes to little or no surprise that back in December 2016, Forbes has predicted for 2017 to be ‘The Year of Cyber Warfare’.1 Back in 2013, a cyber attack on Yahoo compromised more than 1 billion accounts, 1/6 of the world’s population. When speaking of such an issue, the first country that will always come to mind is Russia, with the alleged meddling in the US Elections raising red flags across the whole world that is now more or less official, that no place is a safe place. The more troublesome fact is
REAL THREAT The concept of a cyber attack needs to be carefully understood correctly before one can identify the potential threat it poses, and more importantly, address it. A potential cyber web represents different threats to the traditional kind of war we are more accustomed to. It is no secret that over time, Soft Power has developed to become as important, if not more, than Hard Power. When it comes to Soft Power, one of the more important factors is undeniably the individual who is handling the situation. It is specifically in this way that cyber attacks can sway the political scenario in favour of the party deploying the attack. Taking the alleged Russian involvement in the US Elections is a prime example of this. Through severe hacking into portals and distributions of the now-so popular, ‘fake news’, Russian operations managed to give Donald Trump an advantage in the elections, in the result that practically shook the world. With the German Elections now around the corner, it is understandable that authorities are concerned at the fact that a similar situation may ensue. It comes to no surprise that European Centres, together with NATO are now setting up centres to identify ‘fake news’. This is something which has been happening even since 1998, when the first case of Russian Government hacking took place. Then, U.S. sites were accessed and sensitive intelligence was collected.
SHUTTING DOWN THE THREAT It may not be to a full extent, but the reality is that the world is experiencing a Cyber War at the moment. The strategy that countries need to deploy is that of finally accepting the fact threats are no longer solely physical. Whereas in the past, having a strong army was the only essential ingredient of keeping your country safe, the same ideology cannot be used for the threats that are faced today. All that stands between a country’s most sensitive information, and its enemy, is a couple of buttons clicked and files downloaded. The Russian Government in recent years has continued to focus on developing its cyber operations. Just 10 years ago, they managed to make a strong statement when an attack on Estonia prevented the removal of Soviet-era war memorial. Through a cyber attack, the Russian Government managed to weaken Estonian computer networks.
Having said that, it is never too late. Europe does have the human resources it needs to counter these attacks, but it needs to invest more on the digital infrastructure to cater for it. At this day and age, it cannot be acceptable that the West is powerless in the face of the Cyber Power the Russian Government has in its hands. The caveats in International law need to be clearly defined and heavily enforced to cater for the ever-changing technological advancements, otherwise it would really be too late. This is definitely a field in which the United Nations has power to intervene. Bringing together main countries such as the U.S. and Russia to bring together a form of treaty tackling cyber-warfare is merely a necessity at this stage. As things stand however, the world’s Cyber War can be considered to have been going on for quite some time now, with different attacks taking place throughout the years. A notable event would be that of WikiLeaks, which gave brought many important documents to the light they were never destined to see. The only question mark still remains when will the West be able to match the threat that Russia poses at this moment, because so far, this seems to be a one-way street.
Neil Smart Costantino
The return of Europe’s sick man? Turkey’s adhesion progress The very first thing that comes to our minds when hearing anything about Turkey is its adhesion progress. Is Turkey going to be a member of the EU? How? When is this going to happen? First of all it has to be made clear that Turkey is a special case and a country that has to be analysed from many different angles. Turkey’s social and political structures stem from a special past and are characterised by a complexity that is hard to be totally understood. Then, the major question arises; why does Turkey want a possible accession in the EU? The answer is linked to the fundamental topic of geopolitics and the alliances that shape our status quo. Being a member of an alliance as large and influential as the EU, brings benefits that are hard to be found somewhere else. Some of them are definitely the custom duties, the visa regime, the free circulation and settlement of its citizens, the educa-
tion and employment, the common foreign policy and most importantly the common defence policy. Turkey would immediately become an ally, which means that it would not stand alone; Turkey’s problems would be Europe’s problems and Turkey’s “enemies”, would be Europe’s enemies. It would also grant access to many financial benefits and funds. But what can the EU gain from a possible accession? One can say that the EU would expand its influence to a major part of the planet; EU's borders to the East would no longer be in Greece and Cyprus but Turkey and therefore the Middle East, Georgia and Armenia becoming the natural neighbours. Europe would also integrate one of the world’s biggest
emerging regional powers and cross theoretically out the most severe Turkish – EU conflicts (Greece/Cyprus), demanding actual cooperation. Accordingly the next question would be “is such a scenario actually feasible?” The truth is that Turkey’s accession to the EU faced many problems even before 1999. First of all, Turkey has longstanding conflicts with two of the 28 member states; Greece and Cyprus, conflicts that prevented it from making any progress on its path to the adhesion. Secondly, it is very important to mention the so-called Copenhagen criteria, which Turkey does not seem to fulfil. Apart from the country’s incapability to comply with the human rights
and the democratic values (especially after Erdogan’s rise in power), an issue we will further analyse later. Questions also arise regarding the second criterion concerning a functioning market economy. Although Turkey managed to get out of a big recession and restore economic growth, is it really a stable economy, especially after the bursting of the refugee crisis? The third and the most fundamental concern about the criteria, is the implementation of the acquis. Many doubts have arisen there, as well as the question if is Turkey willing to allocate a respectful amount of its national sovereignty to the European vision for the sake of its accession? The answer must be quite easy considering the latest acts of Recep Erdogan. Some other problems arise from many EU members’ perspective about Turkey’s intentions. Some of them argue that Turkey is indeed not a European country, neither geographically or culturally. Another argument lies with the many problems the country carries along especially after Erdogan’s re-election, the constitutional reform and the refugee crisis. Is the EU willing to undertake those problems? It must be assumed that at the moment,the EU cannot handle the immigration crisis on its own ground. This would be even more difficult, should it happen within its borders, especially after the massive terroristic threat has entered the European agenda. Furthermore, Turkish accession would bring massive institutional changes; the country would become the largest in the EU, taking Germany’s place and
even having the highest number of votes in the European Council. Another concern is Turkey's accession could leave an open door to other non-European countries, wishing to join the EU. But can the present European Union, with its financial issues, see an increase of 80,5 million people? Setting those questions aside, does Turkey really want to become an EU member state? In the past three decades, we have experienced many alternations in Turkey’s behaviour concerning the accession in the EU. Looking more closely, there was a period (1990’s – early 2000s) during Turkey was openly expressing its willingness to join the European family. But as the years were passing, especially after the financial crisis, it seemed that it started distancing itself from the European vision seeking other possible alliances. Erdogan’s election and his growing power played a major role in this. As he has become stronger inside his country, he is less willing to sacrifice Turkey’s sovereignty. Turning it into an autocratic state, it is clear that Erdogan has more to lose that to gain in a possible accession. And that was the the main point that clarified the major differences between Turkey and the Europe of 28. As the former great empire was changing over the past ten years, it was becoming more obvious that an adhesion case was at the least extremely hard, impossible and insane at the most. As Erdogan is leading Turkey away from the democratic values and distancing himself from the “cliché” protection of human rights, many European
leaders express their concern about Turkey’s future. It was (and it is up to this day) visible that the country could not and was not willing to follow any democratic path under European standards. Erdogan is more focused on reconstructing “Turkey’s great image” than reforming and democratizing his country. Besides, his phrase that “Democracy is like a train, we should disembark when we reach our destination.” is quite famous.By stating this, Erdogan means that his goal was to use people’s voice only until he had reassured the strengthening of his authority. It was the time that both sides were making common statements, which were basically canceling the adhesion process. On one hand Turkish officials would state that full access is not what Turkey wants, as they would prefer a connection to the EU. On the other hand European leaders were underlining that “The EU cannot accept a country that bans Twitter”. The year 2016 was the end point of Turkey’s adhesion progress. The refugee crisis might have altered the landscape again but not to the point that the EU can discuss full membership. It seems that the two parts can mostly rely on cooperation and a mutual understanding, but the accession progress has at least been frozen. The recent EU-Turkish agreement regarding the relocation of the refugees coming to Greece and the agreed financial assistance that is to be given to Turkey from European funds, prove the same thing. So given all the above, what is the conclusion we can extract? Is Turkey coming back? Can it hope for a future accession? The answer is obviously no. Given all the challenges that the EU faces nowadays, the last issue it can tackle is an enormous country with autocratic tendencies. The first criterion of Copenhagen seems to be taken quite seriously by the European leaders who already watch their countries struggle with terrorism, financial crisis and many other issues. On the other hand it is also quite evident that Turkey has also abandoned this idea, marking its own path, characterized by its nationalistic and populist ideas. Especially after the very recent constitutional reform, when Erdogan obtained even more powers, Turkey made another step ahead of the European vision. If a possible cooperation on other levels is feasible, it is yet to be proved. In that case, the violation of human rights, the international law of the sea and other issues will probably play their role again, but for the next years, predictions are against any adhesion…
UNIVERSITIES A DIFFICULT TIME, A CHANGING SOCIETY AND THE NEED OF A NEW EDUCATION The diverse and heterogeneous society of the new millennium is characterised by a series of internal crises in the welfare state. The consequences of these crises include the exacerbation of social and economic inequality; the emergence of new decision-making centres that have undermined the decision-making power of individuals and states; and citizens’ loss of confidence in the democratic. These dynamics coupled with the disruptive effects of the technological develops urge the need for a new education, but as Albert Einstein once said, “no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”. Current needs suggest that governments, institutions and people must learn to view the world and therefore education, in a new way.
The Challenges of Higher Education in the 21st Century Maria Montessori, the Italian educator famous for the philosophy of education that brings her name, used to say that “Education is a work of self-organization by which man adapts himself to the conditions of life”. But what happens if conditions of life change so quickly that the education system struggle to adapt to them? This is what is happening to the higher education facing the challenges of the 21st century. Every country on earth at the moment is reforming public education. There are two main reasons for it. The first one is economic. If education institutions do not find new and better ways to educate young generations to take their place in the economy of the 21st century a huge price will be paid by our societies. The second reason is cultural. Education institutions and government around the world are trying to harmonize two aspects: the protection of cultural identity with the opening towards globalisation.
WHAT CHALLENGES? According to the UNESCO report prepared for the 2009 World Conference on Higher Education, tertiary education is being influenced by five main factors: the impact of globalisation, the phenomenon of massification, increasing inequalities in access, increasing student mobility and information and communication technologies. An increasingly integrated world economy, ICT innovations, the emergence of an international knowledge network and the English language are shaping tertiary education like never before. According to statistics, in the next five years there will be 3 million students moving around the globe, enhancing the need for deeper international cooperation and agreements. The efforts to respond to globalisation towards internationalisation have been prominent. The Bologna Process and Lisbon Strategy in Europe are probably the clearest example of international engagement at this level, with the first bringing more than 40 countries into a voluntary process of enabling a European Higher Education Area. Europe has become a reference for similar efforts elsewhere in the world: Latin American countries launched the ENLACES initiative, the African Union started developing a harmonisation strategy, 27 countries in the Asia-Pacific region launched the Brisbane Communiqué initiative and discussion are undergoing among ministers of education in South East Asia. However, inequality among national higher education systems has increased in the past years, and tertiary education is more and more characterised by a centreperiphery dynamic, where developing countries, like African countries, are struggling to find their footing on the global higher education stage. Responding to mass demand is another challenge that is proving difficult to be addressed. There are some 150.6 million tertiary students globally, the number has been growing by around 53% since 2000 and is forecasted to grow further. This expansion will be difficult to govern, especially considering that it has been driven by the shift to post-industrial economies. Despite this rising demand and considering that 2.5 million students are studying outside their home countries and that estimates predict their number to rise to 7 million by
2020, the enormous challenge facing tertiary education will be to make international opportunities available to all equitably. In order to do that, inequalities to access will need to be addressed. As recent comparative studies show, privileged classes have retained their relative advantage in nearly all nations and cost remains an enormous barrier to access, also in first class economy countries. Finally, it is now many years that it has been said that the traditional university will be rendered obsolete by information technology, distance education and other tech-induced innovations. If the demise of traditional university will not take place any time soon, the impact of new technologies on distance education has already been huge. Although this mode of education delivery has increased access to courses worldwide, reliance on ICT is leaving behind the world’s poorest countries and is rising serious question about quality assurance. WHAT EUROPE IS DOING FOR EDUCATION The renewed EU agenda for higher education, adopted by the Commission in May 2017, identifies four key goals for European cooperation in higher education: Tackling future skills mismatches and promoting excellence in skills development; Building inclusive and connected higher education systems; Ensuring higher education institutions contribute to innovation; Supporting effective and efficient higher education systems. To help achieve each of these goals, the Commission proposes specific actions at EU-level, primarily supported by Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 programmes. In order to ensure that these aims are met, the European Commission is also developing and financing tools to promote mobility (such as ECTS and the Diploma Supplement), increase the recognition of skills and qualifications, and provide better information about higher education in Europe. The Commission also provides support to the Bologna Process, which since its introduction has brought a major expansion in higher education systems, accompanied by significant reforms in degree structures and quality assurance systems. The financial and economic crisis affected higher education in different ways, with some EU Member States investing more and others making cutbacks in their tertiary education spending. However, according to the data provided by Eurostat, the picture is far from being bleak: early leaving from education and training has been falling continuously in the EU since 2002, for both men and women; The fall from 17.0 % in 2002 to 10.7 % in 2016 represents steady progress towards the Europe 2020 target of 10%; and the EU countries are well on track to meet the target of 40% of the young population having a tertiary education qualification by 2020. NEW EDUCATION, NEW SKILLS While the 2015 Bologna Process Implementation Report confirmed the positive prospects mentioned before and assessed that Europe is performing in addressing the global challenges posed to higher education, there are still issues that needs to be addressed.
In 2016 of the total population of 18 to 24-year olds, 15.2 % were neither in employment nor in any further education or training (NEET), putting them at risk of being excluded from the labour market. Social divisions -especially gender segregation- have been growing in universities, the gap between school, vocational provider and universities is still problematic and many countries of the EU are experiencing shortage in certain high-skill professions. While the shortage for medical, science, technology, engineering and mathematics professionals, although serious, seems easily reversible, another finding of Eurostat statics seems far more worrying: 56% of graduates are found lacking basic and transversal skills. These kinds of skills are fundamental in order to build up the resilience of young generations in the fast-changing economy of the 21st century and the European Council recognised their importance when in its 2011 Council Conclusions on Education for Sustainable Development it stated that: “In a continuously changing world, all European citizens should be equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to understand and deal with the challenges and complexities of modern day life […]”. This fundamental concept has somehow been disattended and yet, since 2011 it has become even more important. If new ways of living and acting are to be imagined, then education must provide to youngsters the right basic, transversal and social skills to assess and bringing about social change. To ensure a sustainable and prosperous future the education systems must first empower the individual and develop not only its personal, but also its social qualities. This is probably the only way education could become again “a work of self-organization by which man adapts himself to the conditions of life”. Individuals aware of themselves and the society could better face the crises of our times, including the crisis of democracy, because, as sustained by Tocqueville: “The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by its individuals”.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Reforming the EU(ropean Studies)? The interest of students wishing to learn more about the European Integration has steadily grown since the end of the war. The European Studies as a field of study have firmly developed, following all innovations experienced by the European integration process. Universities in Europe and in the rest of the world saw degrees in European Studies burgeoning and the field of study is firmly established today. However, European Studies may become the victims of their success: an increasing number of students with varying expectations and an increasing number of European policies. A LIVING SUBJECT OF STUDY The field of study known as the European Studies has, like all fields of study, closely followed the evolutions of the topic of its interest: the European Integration process. What has made its specificity is the close relation between the European Studies' and the European Integration's goals and actors. Indeed, many leaders from the European countries felt the need to teach future generations of European leaders to work together on common project. This "Europtimism" appeared as soon as the Congress in The Hague in May 1948 which led to the creation of the Council of Europe in 1949 and, in the course of the same year, to the creation of the College of Europe. Colleges, Institutes and Universities developed study programmes on the new phenomenon, often with the blessing of European Statesmen. Such programmes have constantly adapted to the increasing number of policies, which are related to any of the multiple European International Organisations (it being the EU, NATO, OSCE, the Council of Europe...). Nonetheless, the dramatic surge in the number of policies which are related to the EU, after the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties is putting the Higher Education under strain. Programme managers are struggling to provide degrees and programmes which cover all aspects of the European Integration process while meeting the increasing expectations coming from prospective students and the labour market. A standard Master in European Studies with 120 ECTS is not perceived anymore as providing enough possibilities to specialise in certain policies. This situation leaves Universities and Institutes with few alternatives: a break-up of the general European Studies in different specialisations or an extension of the learning-period needed for the European Studies. SPECIALISATION VS. EXTENSION Many Higher Education institutes are now proposing a diversified catalogue of different masters in European
Studies, focusing on the EU different policies: Law studies, Economic studies, Administrative studies, International Relations, Home Affairs, Environment, etc. This enables students to give a strong focus on the area of interest they have within the European framework. This can take the form of a master on one of the abovementioned topics, an option within a more generic master or a certificate, which may be less desirable in the context of the labour market (which usually requires a master). Those different solutions come with several challenges which complicate the universities work. Beside the administrative burden of dealing with a mushrooming number of different courses, universities face two main financial difficulties: sustaining larger numbers of professors while ensuring those masters' curricula encounter enough success to justify their existence. This could be partly resolved with visiting professors and "flying faculties". Another perspective could be the generalisation of specific courses of European Studies, related to student's majors, in a manner that students would have lectures on the European aspects of their studies; much in the way curricula already include specific law or language classes. This solution could increase all students' awareness of the European Integration. On the other side, the extension of the whole European Studies’ programmes by the generalisation of Bachelor's degree and the possibility of minors in European Studies could free up room for more specialised courses in the Masters' curricula. Minors in particular are an important instrument for providing a solid introduction and the bases for a further specialisation during the Master. Furthermore, those minors could act as prerequisite for accessing specialised Master's degrees in European Studies. Next to those aspects which are mostly related to
European Day of Languages Why would you care about it?
Higher Education, Secondary Education should not be forgotten: the story of the European Integration process and introduction to European institutions should be included in History and/or Geography classes, providing the basis to the highest possible number of pupils. This would help pulling the rug up from under populists' and eurosceptics' feet as they often exploit the combination of a legitimate disappointment of the European policies with people's ignorance of the European framework. REFORMING IN A FLEXIBLE WAY Last decades have seen an increasing cooperation between Higher Education Institutions in Europe and beyond. Due to its specific nature, European Studies as a field of studies is at the forefront of this cooperation. While all actors may acknowledge the need for reform of the European Studies, the respect of academic freedom means that the pulse has to come from the Higher Education Institutions. On their side, policymakers' and administrations' role is not to be underestimated as they have the tools to facilitate such reforms, the public financing being one of the main ones.
The European Day of Languages (EDL) has been celebrated annually on 26 September since the European Year of Languages 2001. It was an initiative by the Council of Europe, which eventually ensured that the importance of this particular theme is being raised up on annual basis. The main objectives of the European Day of Languages are to raise awareness of Europe’s great linguistic diversity, the need to diversify the range of languages learnt by people and the need for people to develop a required proficiency in order to be able to play their part in democratic citizenship in Europe. During this particular day, countless amounts of events are taking place all around Europe in order to promote linguistic diversity and reinforce intercultural understanding. Often when talking about the linguistic situation in Europe, one may hear references on the rather interesting and unique linguistic situation that exists in the European Union. Having 24 official languages, which are defined in the treaties also as the working languages, it is truly something unprecedented. The equality between different languages varies certainly between different institutions in their dayto-day work, but nonetheless, the current language regime gives a signal of the importance of linguistic diversity to the EU. Despite that uniqueness, one should not forget that it is merely a part of the bigger picture. There are also 60 regional or minority languages in the EU and more than 200 languages spoken in Europe in total. That number includes all the languages spoken by those who have arrived to Europe from all around the globe. ENGLISH IS NOT ENOUGH Some people argue that knowing English is all that matters and that currently English should not even be included when talking about foreign language skills. One argument is that because it is already so widely spoken and it should be counted as a basic skill for everyone to learn. It is true that, especially since the Second World War, English has gained a rather impressive dominance on the global level. Some have claimed that it is an inevitable consequence of a cultural McDonaldization, a concept that was originally used by an American sociologist named George Ritzer. There is also an argument why English is not enough, which derives from a completely different perspective: there are not enough English speakinging people. According to the Eurobarometer 386 (2012) on Europeans and their languages, it is true that English is the most widely spoken
foreign language, but only with a share of 38%. Naturally the situations vary greatly in different countries, but that number tells a story of its own. When we add to the equation countries where respondents are least likely to be able to speak any foreign languages at all, like Hungary (65%) and Italy (62%), it is understandable to argue that English is not enough because it is simply not spoken widely enough. While it is vital to know English, why should you stop there? Numerous studies have also suggested that there are various advantages of being multilingual. Those include not only all the social and employment advantages, but also many neurological and cognitive aspects. Generally speaking, multilinguals are not restricted to a single worldview and they are better able to deal with distractions. They are better problem solvers and being multilingual may also delay Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, learning new languages include much more upsides than just being able to transmit a simple message. HOW ABOUT REGIONAL OR MINORITY LANGUAGES? While all the benefits of being multilingual might be true, one should not underestimate the importance of your mother tongue. It is a part of the very foundation of a person’s identity and challenges might occur if that language happens to be a regional or a minority language. The situations are naturally different in every country and in some cases there are no problems whatsoever. However, many of the regional and minority languages have faced different forms of unjustified exclusion and restriction, which eventually might endanger the very existence of that language. While these questions are relevant in every day of the year, EDL offers a great chance to shed light on these matters.
To tackle these issues, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe adopted the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages as a convention on 25 June 1992. It holds several principles and commitments on which, having ratified the Charter, each country must base their policies. These include for example: “the provision of appropriate forms and means for the teaching and study of such languages at all appropriate stages”, and “the facilitation and/or encouragement of the use of such languages, in speech and writing, in public and private life.” Despite the fact that it entered into force on 1 March 1998, there are still some European countries left which have not signed or ratified the Charter. In conclusion language skills are a necessity in a modern day world and, despite the risk of repeating clichés, you are never truly too old to start learning a new language. Being able to speak various languages gives you many opportunities and advantages, which are positive not only to the individual, but for the society as a whole. When adding the importance of the protection of regional and minority languages, the European Day of Languages is clearly well justified.
BULLSEYE EDITORIAL TEAM
BullsEye Editorial Team
EDS Executive Bureau 2017/2018
Julien Sassel (27) is a Belgian and Italian dual citizen and has been an active member in EDS since 2012. He has a Master in International Relations from the Université Catholique de Louvain and is currently pursuing the MA in EU International Relations and Diplomacy Studies at the College of Europe, in Bruges.
Mattia Caniglia (30) A Master in Strategic Studies and several years of professional experience in international organisations gave him extensive knowledge of global geopolitical and economic dynamics. He is currently collaborating as a political and economic analyst with media like Foreign Policy, Fortune China and The Guardian for the production of country reports.
Neil Smart Costantino (22) is a Maltese Student, reading for a degree in European Studies with Contemporary Mediterranean Studies at the University of Malta. His main areas of interests lie in the fields of Human Rights, National and Foreign Security and Political Strategies.
Sabine Hanger (22) studies Law in Vienna, Austria. Since 2016 she has been member of the Aktionsgemeinschaft and in June 2017, she got elected to be the Chairwoman of AG Jus, bringing her in a situation in which she is confronted with great responsibility and political sensitiveness, but also in which she has the chance to work with a lot of various people.
Ramy Jabbour (24) was born in Beirut, Lebanon. He received a degree in International Affairs and Diplomacy and currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Political Science at Notre Dame De Louaize. Ramy is currently the media and communication officer in the Lebanese Forces Youth Association (LFYA) and editor in the BullsEye magazine since 2015.
Virgilio Falco (27) is EDS Chairman. He is an Italian law student and is writing his thesis on institutional communication in the age of social networks. As president of the Italian association StudiCentro, he worked on writing the reform of the school system in Italy and he was coordinator of the Education Committee of the National Youth Council of Italy. He has working experiences at the Italian Parliament and in private universities. He writes for the newspaper Il Foglio and for the webmagazine Formiche.net.
Tomasz Kaniecki (23) is a Polish law student and a Secretary General of EDS. Tomasz’s introduction to politics came through service as a field organiser for the former Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Sikorski in 2011 general election. He has previously served at the European Parliament as currently works on both political and business researches. In 2015 he was honourably awarded by the British and Swedish Embassies for the best student paper on the TTIP. He writes for various think tanks.
Sara Juriks (22) is from Oslo, Norway. She has a BA in Music, and is finishing her Masters Degree in Democracy and Comparative Politics at UCL in London. She has been active in youth politics since 2011, and was elected to the national board of HS in 2016 where she is still an international secretary and board member. Sara has been active in EDS since 2014. This year in the Bureau her main responsibilities are the conference resolution and fundraising.
Tommi Pyykkö (28) lives in Helsinki, Finland, where he has studied French, European Studies and Political Science at the University of Helsinki. He is the international secretary of TK Finland now for the second term. His first EDS event was in 2015 and during the last working year he was part of the Social Media Team. Currently he is the Vice-Chairman responsible for publications. He has acquired experience also in the EPP Group in the Parliament and would want to create an EU-related career.
Beppe Galea (21) is a University of Malta student and is currently reading a Bachelor (Hons.) in European Studies. In 2013 and 2014, he served as a Youth Ambassador in his region and he is an active member of Studenti Demokristjani Maltin and The Malta Scout Association. He has been working in an MEP office for the past 2 years in both Brussels and Malta. Europe is his passion and he likes to travel and share his European experience.
Vladimir Kljajic (26) has a BA in International Relations. He is currently the Director of a small local cultural centre in Belgrade, Serbia. He is a supporter of EU integration, and interested in the impact of development aid. He likes to read books about politics and history.
Maciej Kmita (22) is alumnus of international relations study, 2nd year student of master's degree in public administration. Councillor of polish town Pińczów. Assistant of the Polish MP. Vocalist and poet. His main interests are social policy, education and problems in Central and Eastern Europe.
Kristina Olausson (27) has completed a double-degree in European Governance and is working in the EU bubble, as she is being engaged in the debate on digital policy. She considers EDS as a creative platform on which to discuss issues on Europe's future with likeminded, politically engaged and clever young people.
Sarah Katharina Wolpers (23) is studying towards her Master of Arts in Governance and Public Policy at the University of Passau. Since 2015 she is an active member of RCDS Germany. Her focus of interest is political campaigning, higher education, digitization and European integration.
Teodoras Žukas (22) is a 4th year student at Vilnius University, Institute of International Relations and Political science; he is in his second year as Editor in BullsEye magazine. He's academic interest lies in History of International Relations, Russia's foreign policy and the Middle East.
Pantelis A. Poetis (23), is a Greek-Cypriot and he is Vice Chairman of EDS. He studied Law and International Relations - Global Political Economy in Middlesex University London. Pantelis is involved both in national and international youth politics for many years now. In EDS, he currently runs the portfolios of Fund Raising, Statutory Amendments and Member-Organisations. Moreover, he works as Associate of International Affairs in Dr Andreas P. Poetis Law Firm based in Larnaca - Cyprus.
Carlo Giacomo Angrisano Girauta (20) is a law and global governance student at ESADE, and is active in the Partido Popular since 2012. He is the current Vice Secretary General of International Relations at NNGG in Spain, and has been active in the European politics for the last three years. As Vice Chair of EDS he has assumed responsabilities in the fundrasaing of the organization, in the social media team as well as representative in the work-
Libertas Ezako (26) lives in Namur, Belgium. She holds a Bachelor degree in Political-Sciences and pursues her Master's degree in International Relations at the Université Catholique de Louvain. Since 2015, she has been an active member of Jeunes cdH, and as a Vice-Chairwoman in EDS she is mainly incharge of the Permanent Working Groups and drafting Conference Resolutions. Later she would like to use her rich double backgrounds to enhance fair and fruitful partnerships between Europe and Africa.
Robert Kiss (28) lives and works in Sfantu Gheorghe, Romania. He holds a Bachelor degree in Business & Management from Corvinus University of Budapest. Robert also holds a Masters degree Economy & Tourism and Political Campaign Analysis from Transilvania University Brasov. Currently he is doing his PhD in Economics at Bucharest University of Economics. Robert has been active in youth politics since 2011. Currently he is Vice-Chairman of RMKDM. He is active in EDS since 2014. As ViceChairman he is responsible for the Permanent Working Groups.
Mihaela Radu (25) is responsible for the running of the EDS office in Brussels as Deputy Secretary General. She comes from Chisinau, Moldova. Mihaela holds a Master’s degree in Public Relations and Advertising from the Academy of Economics Studies and is a honorary graduate of promotion. In the last years, she served as the executive director of Dreamups, where she contributed to the development of the Moldovan start-up community. Mihaela is also a member of the PLDM National Political Council and TLDM.
epp european peopleâ€™s party
BullsEye is the official newsmagazine of the European Democrat Students.