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Apathetic Britain? / Handan Wieshmann / Who Do I Call When I Want to Call Europe? / Maja Sojref / Assessing Gender Inequality in the EU / Ana Catarina Silva / Rugby in French Sporting Culture / Markus Findlay

editorial Whilst political life is, inevitably, marked by many successive ‘significant’ events, it’s fair to say that late 2010 has proved a notable moment in the politicisation of the British student population. The NUS rally in early November drew over 50,000 protesters to the streets of London, at the time of print there are student-led ‘occupations’ taking place in universities throughout the country, and students are making a prolonged stand against governmental policy they fundamentally disagree with. This issue of Eureka seizes the momentum that has developed since the Browne report and considers whether it is out of keeping with British nature to protest (page 5) and gives a first-hand account of the occupation taking place in our own university (page 10). The events happening now need to be documented, so we can look back in 30 years and see the social phenomenon our generation resurrected. Whether the cuts, the protests and the responses are right or wrong, we believe that we can all agree that the reawakening of political consciousness in Britain’s younger population 2

should be celebrated and encouraged in promoting a fresh and active democracy. In addition to the recent student protest, this issue of Eureka will of course deal with the problems and challenges Europe and the European Union are facing. These range from the possibly devastating impacts of the financial crisis on the project of European integration (page 23), the often problematic relationship with its Mediterranean neighbours (page 28) to issues such as gender equality (page 16). This issue of Eureka is going to discuss where Europe has and should make progress, and where there has been or should be standstill. We hope that you will enjoy this issue of Eureka and that it will provide new insights and opinions on current affairs and offer a fresh perspective on the most pressing European issues. Your editors, Tom, Omar and Christine.

Contents FOCUS: PROTESTS 5 6 8 10 11

APATHETIC BRITAIN? Handan Wieshmann Thoughts On Student Activism Lisa Zhang Economic And Legal Reform Results In Anger In Spain David Jerez Antoni On a scale of 1 to 10... Tom Platt Inside The UCL Occupation

22 Keeping Bosnia‘s EU Accession On Track Tim Stone 23 A Discredited Union? Elliot Nichols 25 Brain Drain Andreana Panayi 27 Soap Opera Politics Christine Seifert 28 when the value of oil obscures the power of reason Micol Chillè

Politics & Society

Arts & Culture

14 16 17 19 20

31 No Boundaries Sarah de Morant 32 rugby in french sporting culture Markus Findlay

Who Do I Call When I Want To Call Europe? Maja Sojref Stuck in the sand Omar El-Nahry The Tide is Turning Ana Catarina Silva An Independent Catalonia? Henry Clarke The European Citizens‘ Initiative Christina Hastesko

Think Young 37 38

The Roma Deportations Markéta Jélinková Learning Lessons In Diversity Henry Briggs



Apathetic Britain? / Handan Wieshmann / Thoughts on Student Activism / Lisa Zhang / Economic and Legal Reform Results in Anger in Spain / David Jerez Antoni / On a Scale of 1 to 10... / Tom Platt / Inside the Occupation



Apathetic Britain? Should we protest more?

by Handan Wieshmann The announcement of George Osborne’s Spending Review and the recent conclusions drawn from the Browne Report seem to be generating a potential turn to the notion of ‘people power’ for the characteristically disinterested British public. However, while a proposed 47-hour strike by fire fighters in London is mulled over in the press for days, across the channel our continental counterparts barely raise a nonchalant eyebrow at what has been described by Tariq Ali, writing in the Guardian as the “miserable measly actions” of the “lily-livered English trade unions.” Sarkozy’s controversial pension reforms saw over seven days of protests and strikes in France during the month of October and were a testament to the huge capacity of trade unions there to mobilise protesters. A record turnout of demonstrators, estimated to number between 1.2 and 3.5 million, took to the streets and rolling strikes at oil refineries resulted in wide spread disruption with 10% of filling stations running out of petrol. The action also included a brief yet symbolic occupation of the Opera House at Bastille. Despite this, it seems on this occasion, even the revolutionary French spirit was drained by the unstoppable nature of the political process. The unpopular bill was voted through in the National Assembly by 336 votes to 233 and backed by the Senate with 177 votes to 151. This raises an uncomfortable yet essential question regarding the effectiveness of such action. Beyond the media attention that protests and industrial action inevitably cultivate, can they actually achieve anything in the current political climate? The obvious answer in light of October’s events seems to be that they cannot. Particularly when they are held in comparison to the three continual weeks of strikes by public sector and transport workers in France in 1995 which succeeded in forcing the Juppé government to abandon its plans for economic reform. However, we must ask ourselves what was truly at stake for the French during the protests over pension reforms: Was it simply a matter of securing two years of their retirement or were they striving to protect a notion at the heart of their nation’s values; that of the people as a source of political power? Whether their action is deemed to have failed or succeeded, surely in Britain, where a tube strike is unlikely to generate anything on a large scale apart from irritation amongst commuters, we should take note of such an actively engaged approach. It is quite clear that there is a flip side to such a romantic vision of this form of political activism. Principally, that it comes at a price, particularly in terms of its cost to the economy. According to the Finance Minister, Christine Lagarde, the strikes and protests in October cost the French economy between 200 and 400 million Euros per day.

Furthermore a descent into violence and vandalism can often overshadow and sometimes denigrate a cause. Student protestors in the UK who smashed windows and defaced police vans at Millbank should perhaps remember that it is the taxpayer who pays financially for this damage and the student community as a whole who pay for it terms of their reputation. It is a sad possibility that this particular protest may be remembered not for the tens of thousands who presented solidarity in opposition to unjust and counterproductive proposals but for the one unknown individual who took it one fire extinguisher too far. The effectiveness of protests in directly changing a policy makers’ course of action may vary. Yet it is undeniable that mass demonstrations and industrial action play an influential role in shaping public opinion. The undertaking of such action by any social or political group is always a gamble. Get the balance wrong and the result may be misrepresentation in the media and a public backlash. However, as expressed by Professor Howard Zinn of Boston University, it is a gamble “worth taking” as not doing so will leave us “stuck with the status quo and I suppose we all agree the status quo is extremely undesirable.” Protest serves as a reaffirmation by a social group of its identity, its interests and as such it is extremely powerful. What is essential to remember is that it becomes truly useful when people participate to provoke thought, rather than for the superficial feel good factor of a herd mentality. It is most effective when it is a genuine attempt to persuade rather than a purely antagonistic tool. What seems indisputable is that dissent is productive. If people are protesting or engaging in other forms of political activism, one would hope that they are thinking too. They are thinking about the issues which affect them and their fellow citizens and inviting the public at large to do the same. Mass participation is the corner stone of the democratic ideal and it cannot survive without the public directly engaging in the political process. Protest is an essential way in which we can “enrich the public discourse, add to the marketplace of ideas, and help create the context where good ideas will flourish” as Donna Lieberman the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union so eloquently puts it in the New York Times, Should the British protest more? It seems the answer is yes. Times of austerity have often proven to bring voters to the polling stations. With the relative certainty of hard times ahead it seems likely we will also see more protestors taking to the streets. We can be hopeful that this will encourage the British public in general and young people in particular to become more interested and involved in political activity. Let David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ make itself heard and let us all hope that he will listen.


Thoughts on Student Activism Between the “End of History” and Rebirth.

by Lisa Zhang We are witnessing the second day of the occupation of the Jeremy Bentham Room in UCL. The spacious and normally empty room has changed character completely since yesterday. It is almost filled up with people who move and participate within a range of various activities offered in the space, from casual chatting to the planning of the occupation in one of the “everyone can join” working groups. Sleeping bags lie scattered around the corners and the white walls are covered with numerous banners and posters showing slogans and illustrations of the protest “No to 79% cuts in teaching funding, No to the tripling of the tuition fees to 9000 pounds and No to the abolition of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).” Three months ago such a scenario would for most people have seemed like a bleak dream of political student culture in Britain. A ground shaking movement appeared very distant, if not impossible. The prevalent mood among the British students seemed to fit the description of a “dismissive post-1989”, an attitude whose origin perhaps is best captured in Francis Fukuyama’s highly controversial and influential paper “The end of history”. Fukuyama claims that we are living in a time when the ideology of Western liberal democracy has been proven victorious over all others. The argument is amongst others backed up by the fact that the current political agenda seems to revolve around a social liberal consensus as the only perceivable viable option. Exemplified, this is


shown in how most big political parties today in the western world seems to have a centre social liberal stand with very few differences between them. Since there are no ideological struggles left, the conclusion is that we must have reached the end of history. The system has stagnated and cannot fundamentally progress any further. Neither courage, daring ideas, radical solutions nor politics, philosophy or art are needed, instead they are replaced by economic calculation. While the thesis of “The end of history” was not cutting edge it still became very popular: A retrospective analysis would probably suggest that the success was precisely due to the fact that it fitted like a glove to the political currents in the Western world of the 1990’s. It appealed very much to the ideological climate at the time, e.g. it provided a theoretical basis for both Ronald Reagan’s and Margaret Thatcher’s policies. The phenomenon of Fukuyama’s “the end of history” seems to indicate that we are living in times where it is justified to withdraw from political controversy and struggle for change. Applying this to UK campuses, British students seemed very much to embrace this approach. Instead of daring ideas and radical solutions the general mood expressed a consensus that made student activism a lost cause: the current education system was not great with, for instance, the charge of tuition fees. Still, it was not too bad either, it was “okay-ish”. The system appeared to be the best we had, proven in history and renowned worldwide. Thus

it seemed to be an unwritten rule that British students just “didn‘t do protests” and protesting was “not expected to be a part of university experience”. Indeed, there was no sign of anything even resembling a student movement last year, until the 10th of November 2010 which took the nation by storm. It is obvious that this demonstration which brought 50,000 people to the streets of London was of utmost importance for student activism in Britain. It has been suggested that this “National March” was the largest student demonstration for decades. Similarly, the 34 or more occupations in universities and colleges across the country have been taking a dimension most people could not have anticipated. So how can we explain these recent developments? What is more, are we experiencing a short outrage over the latest spending review or will these protest go as far as giving rebirth to student activism in Britain? In 1998 there was a similar potential for protests when tuition fees were first introduced. Nevertheless the British reaction was demure, especially compared to the outrage on similar occasions in Europe. Take the example of Germany: When the government there sought to restructure the traditional system of higher education according to the so-called Bologna-Process (to adapt it to the “European”, namely the Anglophone system) and to introduce tuition fees in some federal state, this sparked off weeks and months of protests and occupations of several universities. Without doubt, British universities have always represented an exception in the wider context of student activism. As opposed to the well documented and well known US movement, there are only few accounts of its British counterparts. Even JSTOR, the holy source of knowledge for any Humanities or Social Sciences student proves this point: A search on the history of the topic offers a very small database, especially in comparison with the numerous academic studies on student activism in the States, Argentina and China. Even if Britain’s student activism seems blank on paper, the country was still involved in the 1960’s student protests, a time which is widely acknowledged as the “Golden Age” of student movements in recent history. With growing numbers admitted to university students represented an ever growing stake in society. Moreover, the reasons for the flourishing of the student movement were closely interlinked with the development of the first real youth culture at the time and the corresponding rise of adolescents as an economic power. Students consequently no longer accepted their traditional relationship with authority and demanded more participation “on” and “off ” campus.

This is of particular interest for the British case where greater student representation was always a prime motive for protests. While activists in other countries focused more on non-educational topics, the campaigns in this country were mainly concerned with internal university or college issues. As an example, one could compare how it was the Vietnam War that the mobilized students in the US as opposed to the demand for enhanced student representation at the occupation of LSE in 1966. It is important to point out that the London School of Economics (LSE) was one of the “hot-beds” of student activism at the time. The first protest evolved when Dr Walter Adams, supporter of the white government in Rhodesia, was announced to become the university’s new director. As part of the campaign, students (supported by some staff ) occupied parts of the campus and issued a boycott against the school, during which 56 percent of students refused to attend lectures and 39 percent participated in a sit-in occupation lasting nine days. Although the occupation could not reach its goal, it has become a symbol of student activism in the UK. More importantly, it is a counter example against the thesis that British students are inherently apathetic. A similar survey conducted in the US about the student movement of the “Golden Age” suggests that only 9 per cent of the students at Berkeley University were involved in the protest on their campus which makes LSE, the symbol of British student activism not look so passive after all. This brings us back to the current protests at UCL and to the question why all this is happening now. Just as the “golden age” shows, times of social change, times of turbulence, always have the potential to become times of transition. And we are definitely living in times of turbulence with an ever more global world, an unending war on terror, an economic crisis and new political changes that will have drastic changes, especially to the welfare state. In the stable world of 1998 the case might have been more attractive for a world view coined by Fukuyama. However, in the aftermath today of the so-called credit crunch, the perfection of liberal values and the economic and political system must be questioned again. Since ideological turbulence is impossible in “the end of history” this is a moment to challenge that we have reached the “end of history” and to confront Fukuyamaists along with the apathy that has taken hold of British students (and arguably much of the rest of the population). Also in accordance with the British tradition and the LSE campaign, the current student protest today is referring to issues that affect everyone on campus. The movement is essentially addressing and defending the daring idea that anyone should be able to go on to higher


education regardless of income, something which concerns all current students and certainly will have an impact on all future students. Perhaps the combination of turbulent times and the struggle over the definition of education could be the trigger needed to revive student activism, a chance for student activism to reinvent itself. Even though the number of students actively involved in the UCL Occupation is relatively low (a few hundred at peak times compared to a total of 21620 students at the university) it cannot be denied that the occupation has become a matter of interest for everyone. Whether they agree with it or not, students have been passionately debating the issue which shows the extent to which students can be sensitized for educational topics and that there is thus potential for student activism in whatever direction. From the standpoint of a Fukuyamaist the argument will be that it makes no difference: The occupation will have to come to an end at some point and chances are that once the vote in parliament has passed things will simply go back to normal. But this would deny that student activism has with all certainty exponentially grown in the past weeks, and that this does imply a change in attitude among students: Instead of living in a discharged, passive and dismissive “end of history” numerous students

are taking action and getting politicised. Students are recognising and moreover, many are fighting for ideals. The success of the occupations at SOAS and LSBU show that student’s demands are achievable as they have here been met by the management. In the past 36 hours the protesters have been linking up with similar movements across the country as well as releasing press statements, addressing both the university management and the wider public. Members of both academic and non-academic staff have been showing their support. Just as with respect to Fukuyama, it is not yet possible to pass a final judgment on what we are witnessing: We can never know if we are living in the end of history, to know this we would need some kind of transcendental objective standpoint regardless of our contingent historical narrative. Similarly, it is not for us in the current to proclaim that this is the rebirth or a desperate failing attempt to form a student movement. Nevertheless one thing clearly distinguishes the protesters of today from the activists in the 60’s. There is no way these protests will go down in history unnoticed- however the actions may be judged in the future, thanks to facebook, twitter, flickr, youtube and the like no one will be able but to ignore that the British can be active and critical and loud and anything but apathetic.

Economic and Legal Reform Results in Anger in Spain

An Open Article.

by David Jerez Antoni The global economic slowdown, which has affected most of the developed world, has forced many governments across Europe to take draconian measures. The group of countries referred to as PIGS – Portugal, Ireland, Greece and Spain – have been especially pressurised to take measures in order to improve their public finances. This article intends to give an overview of Spain’s example, what its situation is, what measures have been taken and what reaction those have triggered. Even though Spain has been pigeonholed with PIGS status, this article posits that its problems may be of a different sort. This raises several questions, which I am asking Eureka’s readers to give their opinion on. While most EU countries will finish the year with positive economic results, the IMF predicts that Spain’s GDP will have shrunk a further 0.34%. Unemployment


currently stands at 20.8% [Eurostat, Sept-2010] and has been over 20% three times in the last 25 years –in the mid-80s and the mid-90s. It is not all doom and gloom though, with public debt at 53.2% of GDP in 2009, while Britain’s stood at 68.1% and Germany’s at 72.1% [CIA’s World Factbook 2010]. Even though Spain is less indebted relative to other European states, the prospect of sluggish growth and the rising costs of unemployment to public finances have forced its government to take action. Action has been taken and can be classified in three kinds of measures: reduction of public expenditure, tax increases and legal reform. One of the most controversial measures the Spanish government has taken in order to reduce expenditure has been to cut taxpayer-funded salaries across the board by 5% –and cabinet members’ salaries by 15%– as well as

the freezing of public pensions. Child benefits will also be axed: the end has been declared for what has been known as the “baby cheque” (el cheque bebé); a 2,500-euro cashin-hand natality-incentive introduced in 2007. In order to increase tax revenue, VAT has been raised from 16% to 18% as well as various increases in income tax, which will especially affect high earners while reducing taxes for small businesses. The main piece of legislation that both international organisations and European leaders had been asking Spain to reform was its labour law. The previous government led by José María Aznar had already tried to do this and ended up reversing its decision, out of widespread opposition culminating in the 2002 general strike. Zapatero’s socialist government finally managed to push reform through the lower chamber on 9 September 2010, facing opposition from most of his political allies to the left of the political spectrum, as well as from the main opposition party, the PP. The main changes this reform introduced are cheaper dismissal compensations, publicly-funded help towards dismissal compensations for struggling companies and more conditions under which dismissal can be deemed pertinent. The new law also allows recruitment agencies to operate in more economic sectors from which they had previously been banned such as the public service. Spainish trade union reaction has been fierce. The two biggest unions –totalling more than 2.2 million members– called the country to a general strike on the 29 September. In their common manifesto, they oppose the axing of public sector salaries and the freezing of pensions, making an argument in favour of increased taxation as a solution for Spain’s public finances. They also fully oppose the labour law reform, which, they say, will not create employment but simply takes rights away from workers and gives more power to employers. I am asking Eureka readers’ opinions on the matter. Is it true that labour law reforms of the sort that have been introduced in Spain will not have any long-term benefits? It is tempting to think that trade unions fail to grasp the long-term benefits of public policy. This may be the case because they lobby for their own survival as movers of public opinion as well as out of their representation of workers that have more stable jobs. For the former, data actually shows that, while trade union membership has been

in decline throughout most of Europe, it has been increasing during the 90s and the 00s in Spain [EIRO, European Industrial Relations Observatory]. The hypothesis of unions lobbying for their own survival seems, thus, somewhat unlikely. Whilst data is sparse, it seems reasonable to assume that the composition of trade unions is mainly older members of the workforce that have been in their jobs for a certain amount of time, and hence enjoy the more stable kind of contracts (contrato indefinido). Up until now in Spain, this has meant a dismissal compensation of 45 days’ pay for every year worked for one’s employer. This would explain why the unions are more concerned about the dismissal compensation going down to 37 days than about the 42.5% youth unemployment rate [Eurostat, Sept-2010]. A number of facts mentioned in this article seem to point towards a more fundamental problem with Spain, aside from the financial slowdown. Three times has the unemployment rate been over 20%, two of those before the current downturn; there is staggering youth unemployment, and many families are struggling to make ends meet, but yet, one goes to Spain and does not see streets flooded with beggars as you would expect of a country with such statistics. There is an underground economy that still operates without contributing to the public purse. I would even suggest that there is a fundamental problem with attitude. Spain is a country where tax evasion still enjoys prestige among many, or at least lacks an attachment of guilt. This is a problem not simply people, but also a systemic problem that has historically been neglected.

This is an Open Article. If you have a strong opinion on this matter and would like to bring your ideas forward, please email or comment on EUREKA’s online edition. Our next issue will contain an article with readers’ views.


On a Scale of 1 to 10...

Look to the streets, not to the statistics for a marker of British discontent. by Tom Platt The Prime Minister would like to know how you’re feeling. A little down? Depressed about the weather? Fearful of the austerity cuts and the inevitability of increased taxation for years to come? Despite hesitation from some officials in Whitehall, the government and the office of national statistics will shortly go ahead with plans to create a happiness index as a means to measure the quality of life of the British public. Whilst Mr. Cameron denies the index is impractical, arguing he would never advocate a worthless policy, there are those who disagree that it is an effective use of resources at such a time. Whilst Cameron seeks to improve the lives of many and understand why the British public may be unhappy, Liam Byrne argues ‘it is a great irony that a Government doing so much to spread pessimism and is making it harder for people to get on is going to start measuring wellbeing’. Indeed, Cameron’s barometer of British happiness seems to be missing a pretty big marker for discontent. The UK public are taking to the streets in their thousands, protesting the rise in tuition fees and the tax-avoidance measures taken by big-corporations, such as the Arcadia Group. The student population has launched a prolonged attack on the coalition government, sometimes peaceful, sometimes not. From my own experience at UCL, the majority of the student movement has indeed been peaceful and well informed; fighting for a cause they believe in and quite selflessly, a generation they do not belong to. Students are fighting a rise in tuition fees that many believe will discourage those from poorer backgrounds applying to university and choke the cash-strapped middle-classes even further. It is also a protest against the Lib-Dems, the party many gave their vote to and now feel they have been deceived by. Indeed it is the banner unfurled again and again by the UCLOccupation, with Leader Nick Clegg’s words that ‘Debt is not the answer to debt’ standing out from the crowds. There are those who feel deceived and angered by a government attempting to build a new high-education system on the foundations of yet more broken promises. Phillip Green’s appointment as an advisor to Cameron’s government has irked some because of the perceived tax avoidance schemes of his own company. His wife Cristina, in whose name much of the company is owned, is an official resident of ‘tax-haven’ Monaco and thus the Green family avoids paying a large amount of corporation tax to the UK coffers. Again, elements of the British public


feel that there may just be something wrong here. Activist group UK Uncut has taken to the streets – protesting outside, inside and occasionally on (one group glued themselves to a shop window) Green’s businesses throughout the country. They argue on their website that the taxation lost as a result of Green’s measures could pay salaries for 20,000 NHS nurses. Our public services face cuts and austerity measures, whilst government advisors avoid millions in taxation. The strong do as they will, whilst the weak suffer what they must. Those protesting see these as examples of the double standards of our coalition government. The disparity between what they promise and what they deliver, the appointments they make and the policies they advocate are only reinforced by the introduction of a happiness index when so many are discontent. In a video-clip from UCLOcuppation’s Top-Shop demonstration, protesters told the London-Met that when the cuts come for them, they will stand by them in solidarity. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before the discontent felt in these times of austerity, coupled with the great inequality between the rich and poor of modern Britain, will become too great for the Prime Minister to need any happiness index to measure.

Inside the UCL Occupation A Photoseries.

Pictures by Marie Chaudet & Christine Seifert

clockwise from top left: Timeline at the Jeremy Bentham Room / Banner at the Portico steps / Slade School of Art went into occupation on November 30 / Wall at the Jeremy Bentham Room / Organisation of the occupation / Bannermaking at the Jeremy Bentham Room, November 25



clockwise from top left: Banners at the entrance of the Jeremy Bentham Room / Lecture at the occupation / Banner / People interested in the occupation, November 25 / Sign at the Jeremy Bentham Room / “R.I.P. Education” Banner in the Octagon 12


Who Do I Call When I Want To Call Europe? / Maja Sojref / Stuck in the Sand / Omar El-Nahry / The Tide Is Turning / Ana Catarina Silva / An Independent Catalonia? / Henry Clarke / The European Citizens‘ Initiative / Christina Hastesko / Keeping Bosnia‘s EU Accession On Track / Tim Stone / A Discredited Union? / Elliot Nichols / Brain Drain / Andreana Panayi / Soap Opera Politics / Christine Seifert / When the Value of Oil Obscures the Power of Reason / Michol Chillè


Who Do I Call When I Want to Call Europe? An account of the state of European foreign policy and its prospects. by Maja Sojref

The appointment of Baroness Ashton as the first High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union in December 2009 marked the endpoint of a debate about the reform of the Union following the Treaties of Amsterdam and Nice in 1997 and 2001 respectively. Ten years later, after a highly contested “period of reflection” the reform’s constitutional framework was given its final shape in the 2007 Treaty of Lisbon. As vague as the treaty’s overall goal: to reinforce democracy, transparency and efficiency (particularly after the enlargement of the last decade) might sound, with respect to foreign policy there was a clear goal – namely, to stop the decline of Europe’s importance in international affairs. Since the end of the Cold War era it has been unclear how the European Union will cope with that allor-nothing struggle for recognition in a multilateral world and where it will stand next to old and new powers. One of the most recent groundbreaking essays on the topic was published in July 2009 by the London-based Centre for European Reform, and carried the provocative title: “Is Europe doomed to fail as a power?”. In this essay, Charles Grant first of all defines European power as “the ability of the EU and its member-states to influence the world around them (…) to adopt political and economic systems


that are compatible with, though not necessarily the same as, those of the Europeans” that is to establish a “rulesbased multilateral order” on a global scale. From this starting point he examines the state of Europe’s soft and hard power and gives examples of why international affairs in recent history have been solved mainly without significant European contribution. Based on these explanations the author then proceeds to give advice how the EU’s stand in the world could be improved. Grant’s choice of title received a lot of attention on both sides of the Atlantic and was seen by many as an alarming sign of how severe the problem was. What Grant merely touches on are the prospects of European foreign policy after Lisbon: now that Baroness Ashton has completed her first year in office, has the High Representative as an institution remedied the flaws in European policy as laid out by Grant and, more importantly, is Europe really “doomed to fail as a power”? The achievements of European integration go beyond the borders of its member states. In addition to the long lasting peace between its members and the single market with free movement of goods and people, Europhiles like to draw attention to the successes in foreign policy. In what they call the “demonstration effect”: the European

model encouraged democratic development in Portugal and Spain in the 1980’s and later in the states of Eastern and Central Europe that had previously been under Soviet influence and now wanted to join the Union as quickly as possible. Twenty years on, however, this seems forgotten as there is an obvious discrepancy between ambitions and reality in European foreign policy. Such an example is shown by the former French President and European enthusiast Jacques Chirac, who seems to be too optimistic in his outlook on the EU as a “counter-pole” to the United States, when, in fact it is “either largely invisible or absent” in international crises as assessed by Grant. The main reasons for this lack of influence are to be found in the EU’s difficulties to maintain and demonstrate both soft and hard power: As far as soft power is concerned, Grant suggests that as long as euro-scepticism is still commonly found among Europeans themselves and thus also noticed abroad, it will be hard for European representatives to take a strong stand. Although EU policy makers have attempted to tackle the Union’s relative weakness by appointing Javier Solana as the first High Representative of foreign policy in 1999 or by launching the “European Security and Defence Policy”, the broader picture looks rather disenchanting. In Afghanistan where “European governments are involved in all sorts of ways, but seldom co-ordinate their various national agencies” so that the different EU bodies fail to cooperate effectively, to the international combat against climate change, European influence as defined earlier lacks significance. The latter example has been even more sensitive since the 2009 Copenhagen Climate talks where European delegates failed to add their own handwriting to a document drafted by China and the United States. We do not want to elaborate on economic reasons here, although it is true that a European single market for energy would make the Union more independent and that export interests hinder common diplomatic interest (as it is the case with the German attitude towards Russia.) Germany receives further attention here as it has traditionally been a catalyst for integration but recently seems to lack such drive and has also opposed most armed interventions. This view tends not to be taken seriously by countries like China and Russia who argue that “a power needs guts and guns”. Finally, the Greek debt crisis among other incidents during the recent economic turmoil, has put into question the Euro zone as a whole which had so far been one of the more prestigious achievements of European integration and a source of strength when facing other powers. In addition to all of this, the core problem in both EU domestic and foreign affairs has constantly been a fundamental lack of agreement between its (today twenty-

seven) member states. As stated before, with the challenges inherent in the enlargement, a process of reform had become inevitable and was realised in the Treaty of Lisbon. What deserves particular attention when discussing the prospects of foreign policy is the post created for the High Representative as currently held by Catherine Ashton. Before even spending her first day in office, Baroness Asthon was predicted to fail because of her lack of experience and was said to have been chosen mainly for strategic reasons. Since then critics have pointed out many examples where Ashton failed to strongly represent the European Union such as recent Middle East Peace Talks or during the ongoing controversy over the Iranian Nuclear Programme. In the course of this criticism, however, not enough attention is paid to the distinction between personal failure and structural flaws, even more so as judgement is passed after a period of time so short. Firstly, Baroness Ashton presides over a bureaucratic mess as her job merges three functions: foreign-policy envoy of the European Council (representing EU members), head of external relations for the European Commission (the EU’s civil service) and chairman of EU foreign ministers’ meetings (formerly assigned to a national minister on a six-monthly rotation). It may simply require more time for her to flourish in her job as she still lacks a diplomatic and bureaucratic cadre to help her cope with her responsibilities, let alone a functioning apparatus that would be worth being called a “ministry”. As far as Ashton is concerned personally, her supporters therefore insist that she is, in fact, to be taken more seriously than ever anticipated given what she has had to put up with. And there are examples to prove them right: One of the most recent was a joint EU-Serbian resolution at the UN general assembly opening the way for a dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. On a more general level, according to The Economist, Baroness Ashton as High Representative “is a symptom of Europe’s shrinking ambitions, not the cause” and cannot be an all-for-one remedy either. As an institution, the High Representative has finally created the badly needed medium for Europe to speak with a single voice or, in other words, to respond to Henry Kissinger’s famous question: “Who do I call when I want to call Europe?” The reasons for Europe’s decline in importance are as broad as illustrated by Grant. What is at the heart of most of them, however, is a lack of consensus. Hence, even if there is now a medium existent in the form of the High Representative, there is still not necessarily a common point of view waiting to be expressed by that voice. Charles Grant is therefore not the first one to argue that “The EU will earn the respect of the world’s other powers if and when its member-states unite around a firm position and stick to


it”. In summary, it all leads to a question whether European countries are ready to enhance European integration and partly trade national autonomy for a common stand in European foreign policy. After all, as opposed to European countries on their own, the European Union has

still unique cards to play in the game of foreign policy such as the single market and the EU membership that both remain attractive to its immediate neighbours. Europe is by no means doomed to fail as a power but it must not lose any time in agreeing on how it wants to play the game.

Stuck in the Sand

The EU can and should play a central role in the Middle East Peace Process. Unfortunately, neither Brussels nor the European states seem to be able or willing to fulfil their role. A critical view on the prospect of a joint European Foreign Policy. by Omar El-Nahry

The Middle East Peace Talks, the newest attempt to solve the Middle East’s longest crisis, mark a significant change. Not because they are more likely to succeed than earlier attempts to put an end to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians – the talks have stalled over the issue of new settlement constructions in Jerusalem and have reached a stalemate that seems impossible to break. What is really astonishing is that the negotiations included Americans, Israelis, Egyptians and Jordanians and Palestinians – but that no representative of the EU or a European country could be found anywhere. When the talks were started in Washington earlier this year, a famous picture taken of the participants showed Mubarak, King Abdullah, Abbas, Nitanjahu and Obama, but there was no sign of Catherine Ashton, Merkel or Sarkozy. How come the Europeans seem to play no role in the Middle East? Whilst some would argue that Europe never played an important role, that is a role comparable or close to the one the United States play, a look at the history of former negotiation rounds draws a different picture. Not only did the talks take place in major European cities – Oslo and Madrid, for example – but the European Union, the United Kingdom and France were always among the brokers. In the newest round, the picture could not be more different. Although the EU is officially part of the “Quartet”, made up of Russia, the US, the United Nations and the European Union, and therefore theoretically a part of the negotiations, the pictures of the newest summit speak a clear language. It seems that for the Americans, undoubtedly the most influential player and the most important mediator for any kind of solution, favour regional powers such as Egypt and Jordan over the EU or any European country in finding a solution. These developments can be explained by a


number of factors. Firstly, the European states seem to lack a common position on the subject. The three major European powers, the UK, Germany and France, agree on Israel’s right to existence and on the idea of a TwoState Solution, but are all constrained by different factors in their role as brokers in the Middle East. Whilst Germany defends Israel, due to its historical debt towards the Jewish people, France has at times tended towards a more pro-Arab position, and relations between the UK and Israel have recently been strained due to the use of forged British passports for the assassination of a Hamas leader in Dubai. Furthermore, the United Kingdom is constrained in its actions in the Middle East as the result of a history of colonialism in the Arab world and the Balfour Declaration of 1917 – the document that declared British support for the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine and the partition of the land between Arabs and Jews. All these factors make the creation of a common Middle East policy very difficult, which makes the job of the High Representative, the representation of a “European” opinion on the Middle East conflict, almost impossible. Nevertheless, the EU and the European states should be included in the peace process. This is true due to a variety of reasons. First of all, Europe is important for both sides. The EU has been one of the major sources of economic aid for the Palestinians, being “the largest donor to Palestinian state-building”, and it endorses the Arab Peace Initiative. At the same time, countries like Germany have always been, and will probably always be, a source of not only of financial, but of moral and political support for Israel, a factor that is of major importance for the Israelis. With its policies often being controversial, Israel needs support by the West in order to retain the legitimacy of its right to self-defence, especially in times

when its the appropriateness of the measures taken comes under close scrutiny and, often enough, heavy criticism. Furthermore, very strong ties exist between Israel and the EU. Javier Solana has even gone so far as to call Israel an “EU-member in all but name”. This, at least in theory, puts the European countries and the EU in a unique position, which is equivalent, if not superior to the American position. They possess significant leverage on both sides, in financial, political and moral terms. It is one little key aspect that could lift the importnace of European brokerage to even higher levels: Most European countries are not perceived to be as biased as the United States, which are often accused to be acting on behalf of Israel. True or not, the Europeans, especially the French, could use this perception to facilitate negotiations. At the same time, and this is another unique European strength, the influence of countries like Germany, could calm Israeli fears of an overly pro-Arab bias. Obviously, the creation of such a position would be difficult and require great skill and determination. It

would mean that the European Union would have to stop playing the “second fiddle” behind the United States and take on a responsible position in negotiations. And it would mean that Catherine Ashton would have to take part in the talks instead of claiming that EU participation would have “no substantial influence on the talks” as they are “strictly between two parties”, statements that seem contradictory to the EU’s official standpoint on the Middle East Peace Process, which is called a “strategic priority for Europe”. Keeping in mind that we live in constant fears of terrorism, and the Arab-Israeli conflict being a major recruiting aspect for a fight against the “Zionists” and the West, it is hard to imagine how this should be different. This round of talks has come to a standstill, and might have already failed, Europe will have to wait for its next chance to make an impact on the peace process. But when the next chance arises, the EU should play a role that is appropriate to its importance as a diplomatic power.

The Tide Is Turning: Assessing Gender Inequality in the EU

With social situation deteriorating in the EU due to the economic crisis, it feels like the time to call on the European society to make sure gender equality issues are not forgotten. by Ana Catarina Silva As the “European Year for combating Poverty and Social Exclusion” approaches its end, it seems like the right moment to try to assess the developments in the field of gender equality within the European Union and take a look at the general scenario. According to the results of the Eurobarometer on “Gender Equality in the EU in 2009”, it is widely acknowledged by the European citizens that decisions in this field should be made jointly within the EU, which immediately seems to point to the fact that these are issues pertaining to cross-national patterns, which do not necessarily correspond to specific national structures or systems. However, it is undeniable that some member states do better than others when it comes to the effective implementation of equality policies. Such is the case of the Nordic countries – Sweden and Finland – who are among the “top 5” in the 2010 Global Gender Gap Index

of the World Economic Forum. Notwithstanding this reality, the ultimate goal should be to try to reduce differences between countries within the EU, in order to have a bigger homogeneity that allows for the Union as a whole to become even more of a reference in the field of gender equality. Despite the evidence that gender inequality in the EU is nowadays considerably lower then it was ten years ago thanks largely to the work of the European institutions, there are still some 62% Europeans who believe that gender inequality is widespread, while only 34% think it is a rare phenomenon. What is perhaps most interesting is the fact that “nearly two-fifths of Europeans believe the economic and financial crisis will increase inequality”. This perspective is shared by Portuguese MEP Ilda Figueiredo, a member of the parliamentary committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. Mrs Figueiredo has recently stated


that “the economic and social crisis is seriously affecting women”, as a result of rising unemployment, precarious work (to which women are far more subjected than men) or the poor wages and incomes (including pensions), and the difficulty to access quality public services at a low or no cost. The MEP called for particular attention to be paid to the socio-economic situation of women throughout the elaboration of community policies, and mentioned the need for a study on the social impact of the new community strategies, in order to avoid that discriminations and inequalities are further increased, to ensure equality in the social progress and to protect the social function of maternity and paternity. In this context, it is well worth mentioning the Resolution approved last month by the European Parliament, which determines the increase of maternity leave provisions from fourteen to twenty fully paid weeks, among other things. The President of European Women’s Lobby called this a very important victory since the costs of maternity will for the first time shift “from individual women to society as a whole”. In September the European Commission adopted the Strategy for equality between women and men for


the next five years (2010-2015), which combines specific initiatives with principles of so-called “gender mainstreaming”, setting out five main priority areas that include economy and labour market, equal pay, equality in senior positions, tackling gender violence and the promotion of equality beyond the EU. This last topic in particular clearly shows the need for the EU to keep working towards a more equal society, should it want to be taken as an example of “good practices” elsewhere, so as to be able to promote equality beyond its borders. For the time being, European women are still earning on average 17% less than men, a figure that seems to remain stable, and to raise awareness to this fact the new strategy includes plans to institute a “European Equal Pay Day”. What is more, women’s employment rates are still lower than men’s, despite the fact that women account for the majority of students and university graduates.

An Independent Catalonia? by Henry Clarke

Mention the date September 11th, and almost without exception everyone in Britain will recall the horrific scenes when New York’s Twin Towers collapsed following the worst terrorist attack on the United States of America in its history. In the north-eastern corner of the Iberian Peninsula, however, whilst as shocked and appalled as everyone else by those tragic events in New York, September 11th is first and foremost La Diada – the National Day of Catalonia. Catalonia is not, legally, a nation, but an autonomous region of Spain. The Catalan Parliament (a body legally recognised by Spain) however, has defined Catalonia, somewhat confusingly, as a ‘nation’ on the basis of the ‘will and sentiments’ of the Catalan public – a definition upheld as a valid historical and cultural term, but one with no legal basis, by Spain’s Constitutional Court in June this year. There certainly is a good deal of nationalist sentiment in Catalonia. In Barcelona during the summer of 2010, when Spain performed so marvellously at the football World Cup, you would have been hard pressed to see many native Catalans wearing the Spanish football shirt – ‘It’s not well looked upon’, I was told by a Catalan language teacher who himself was in favour of a separate Catalan team. There is great pride taken in Catalan culture, from the great Catalan figures of the past, such as cellist Pau Casals, artist Joan Miró, and architect Antoni Gaudí, to traditional Catalan food and Catalan history. Barcelona houses both the National Museum for the History of Catalonia and the National Art Museum of Catalonia, whilst just outside the city, Catalan chef Ferran Adrià was hailed for several years as the man behind the best restaurant in the world (in as far as one can measure these things), El Bulli. The issue of Catalan independence has long been deeply divisive, with passionately held feelings on either side of the debate. In the 1930s, there was fierce opposition to the Spanish Second Republic’s attempt to grant autonomous powers to the region, which contributed to that government’s fall in 1936 with the coup d’état that marked the start of the Spanish Civil War. During the war in 1939, at a church ceremony in the Catalan town of Tarragona attended by a company of Franco’s infantry, the officiating Spanish priest from Salamanca raved during his sermon: ‘Catalan dogs! You are not worthy of the sun which shines on you!’ That sentiment was echoed by Franco, who sup-

pressed Catalan culture throughout his near forty year long dictatorship. Catalan language and culture enjoyed a resurgence with the transition to democracy following Franco’s death in 1975; a new Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia was introduced in 1979, and since then the debate has continued over what autonomous powers Catalonia should hold, and whether it should be fully independent. Today, the Catalans who actively push for independence are still a small enough minority so as not to pressure unduly the Spanish government. On 13th December 2009, Catalan activists organised an informal referendum in almost 170 towns and villages across the region on whether full independence should be granted from Spain. Although only 30% of the 700,000 people eligible to vote actually did so, (short of the organisers’ 40% target), with 96% in favour of independence, the referendum is a reminder of the passionate and not entirely insignificant minority of Catalan people who want full independence from Spain. The feeling of being Catalan is not universal among the natives. Roger Buch, author of L’esquerra independentista avui (The Independent Left Today), a study of the Catalan independence movement, speaks of three broad groups in Catalonia at the moment: those who don’t feel at all Spanish, those who do, and those who feel either Spanish or Catalan depending on the circumstances, and who are comfortable with the apparent contradiction. Furthermore, Buch believes that although there are Catalan nationalists who are perfectly content with Catalonia’s current status as an autonomous region of Spain, the number of the Catalan nationalists who do want full independence is growing, and that within one generation the majority of Catalan nationalists (note, however, not necessarily a majority of Catalan people) will be in favour of independence. There are several problems the granting of full Catalan independence would bring, which are continuing obstacles to the Catalan nationalists clamouring for a separate Catalan nation. Aside from an official referendum on Catalan independence contravening the Spanish constitution, independence for Catalonia would mean Spain losing one of its wealthiest regions, the region accounting for 18.8% of the Spanish economy (with approximately 15% of Spain’s population). On top of this, granting independence to Catalonia may well be seen as providing


encouragement to the Basque terrorist group ETA, which has long wanted independence for the Basque region, but against whom the authorities have made significant progress recently. Yet, on the basis of significant cultural differences, should the already strong Catalan nationalist sentiment

continue to increase, and with Montenegro setting an example with its successful separation from Serbia in 2006, perhaps it won’t be long before the growing push for Catalan independence succeeds in putting some real pressure on the Spanish government.

The European Citizens‘ Initiative A Path to a European Society or a Road to Nowhere? by Christina Hasteko The idea of the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is to make European citizens feel involved and a part of the decision making process by creating a possibility for them so start their own initiatives, which if successful can be proposed as law. This is meant to bring citizens of the member states closer to becoming ‘European citizens’ in more than just an abstract legalistic sense. The drafters of the Lisbon Treaty were keenly aware that outside of Brussels few of its ‘citizens’ felt any meaningful connection to the idea of ‘Europe’ and the ECI is an attempt to remedy that divide. So far the ECI is only at drafting stage. The main components were incorporated into the treaties by Lisbon (Article 11 TEU and Article 24 TFEU), but the particular provisions – those aspects which give the ECI real form are not yet decided. The European Parliament is currently discussing the issue and is trying to work out how to bal-


ance the competing interests of legitimacy, ease of use, effectiveness and limitations placed upon them. A clear process is important to ensure that citizens wishing to start an initiative understand what is needed from them, as well as ensuring a proper response from the commission. Failing that, the ECI may yet remain a paper tiger; a good idea that lacked teeth. So do you fancy the chance to start your own initiative to create a new law? Well if so, you should probably note the following: The first issue you will encounter is during the initial registration process with the commission, and is mainly whether the commission have an obligation to accept all initiatives. In short, Article 11(4) (TFEU) reads: Citizens ‘may take the initiative of inviting the European Commission, within the framework of its powers, to submit any appropriate proposal on matters where citizens consider that

a legal act of the Union is required for the purpose of implementing the Treaties.’ So if you thought that the ECI would give you the power to start any initiative you wanted – you will be disappointed. The only initiatives that can be accepted are those that fall within the framework of the commission, and are seeking to change a legal act. If this was not restrictive enough, it is important to scrutinize the wording; what does “appropriate proposal” mean? And who is to decide the standards of “appropriate”? This unfortunate wording has the possibility of becoming a loophole for the commission, where it can reject proposals on the basis of suitability. In essence if the Commission does not like your proposal, the whole adventure is over before it begins. This will disappoint numerous groups and individuals since, for example, a proposal to limit return powers to a member state or hold a referendum (without being asked to vote again) falls outside the commission’s powers. On face value it seems likely that a question would only be approved if the Commission would support the probable answer, which goes some way to undermining it as an exercise in democracy. The second issue is the practical problems interests groups will encounter after registration. So far the specific details have not been decided, but the original proposal by the commission set out that one million EU citizens must have signed the petition, one third of the Member States must be represented, and this must be done within a year. Everyone wishing to sign a petition must also supply their European ID card number (or equivalent national ID number), in order to verify their identity and age. These are harsh rules indeed, and the European Parliament and the council are currently presenting a draft amendment to the proposal. If their amendments are accepted, the rules will be slightly softened, but there are currently no guarantees as the issue is still in discussion stage. For example it is proposed that only one fifth of the member states have to be represented and that ID card numbers will not be necessary. The future outcome of the proposed details has immense significance for the citizens and groups wishing to participate in the scheme, because as things now stand it is likely that only larger lobbying groups will have the resources to comply with the elements set out in the commission’s proposal. To soften the rules would give smaller citizens’ groups a possibility to take part as well. These difficulties are already noticeable, since it is the big organisations that are already starting initiatives. For example Greenpeace already has more than a million signatures for their initiative “GM Facts not Crops” ( eu_gmo). If the threshold is set too high, only big organisations like Greenpeace will be able to propose initiatives, and better involvement in civil society will prove difficult to reach smaller interest groups. In other words the ECI

will mainly become a further tool for lobbyists and NGO’s instead of being used by citizens groups. The third issue is perhaps the most overlooked. Many have been exited and hopeful that the ECI would finally make the EU more democratic, by taking into account the views of its citizens. However, regardless of how many signatures and how much support an initiative has, there is no guarantee that it will actually have a legal significance. If a petition has gone through all procedures and conditions successfully, it only transforms into a commission proposal. The European Parliament and the Council must agree upon it and adopt it for it to pass into a law. If it would pass, there is nothing stopping amendments and changes to occur in the process. The ECI therefore cannot be compared to, for example, the Swiss system of citizen involvement. It is more a sort of suggestion that the commission will have the option to take into account the proposition if it chooses to do so. Finally, there is a serious concern about the ability to appeal. If the commission for example would decide that a registered initiative does not comply with the “appropriate” standards, would the interest groups have a possibility to appeal this decision? The answer to this cannot be found anywhere in the legislative proposals and amendments. This raises issues of accountability, since it would render the ECI nothing more than a toy the commission can play with if it decides to. The commission only acknowledges that it intends to give reasons for such refusal, which is little help if there is no formal mechanism for appeal. The ECI may have been a good idea in the beginning, but it is difficult not to question whether it was ever intended to have a real impact on participation in the European Union. It is possible that the creators did have meaningful goals in mind, and a vision of a Union where every citizen has the possibility of co-operating with likeminded people across the member states, in order to reach a common goal. However this is not the reality we are facing today. Realistically, the ECI offers no more than the merest possibility for citizens to have their initiatives taken into account; as long as the commission agrees that it is an appropriate issue of course. Without any real measure of appropriateness and with no affective appeal system, the ECI is a futile attempt to enhance participation and transnational debates. Yet it cannot be forgotten that although the ECI is not as effective as one might have hoped, it does plant seeds for the future. The original idea of the ECI is not a bad one, and with the right tools it could have been a success. This time there is little chance to create a good system, but hopefully it will lay down the groundwork for better methods of participatory democracy in the future. To track the progress of the European Citizens’ Initiative, go to:


Keeping Bosnia‘s EU Accession on Track By Tim Stone

In December last year, the rail link between Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Belgrade in Serbia reopened 17 years after it was severed during the intense, ethnically-fuelled fighting between Serbs, Croats and Bosnians. The railway once embodied what former Yugoslav President Tito called “brotherhood and unity” between the six republics which formed the country. The reconnection symbolised progress in repairing relations between these two neighbours and former enemies. However, when it comes to political connections further afield, Bosnia’s progress has been slow. Following the elections on 3rd October 2010, European Union Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele warned Bosnia and Herzegovina’s elected leaders to put internal political reform first lest they risk the process of integration with the EU. The country signed a pre-accession deal with the EU (the Stabilisation and Association Agreement) in June 2008. This was heralded by the then EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn as “a new stage in our relations” and “the gateway to candidacy”. However, Miroslav Lajčak, at that time the international High Representative and EU Special Representative in Bosnia, added “We have entered the process but it’s up to Bosnia and Herzegovina how long the process will take”. The EU has set as a precondition for Bosnian application the closure of the Office of the High Representative, the international body which oversees the implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement which ended the war in 1995. This in turn requires various constitutional reforms which require the consensus of the central government. However, the accession process has been mired in difficulty due to the complex and fragmented nature of the Bosnian state, in which power is divided and devolved, leaving institutions of the central government weak, ineffectual, and failing to pass even the most uncontroversial reforms. The country is divided into two ‘entities’ according to territory occupied at the end of the 1992-5 conflict: the predominantly Bosniak (Bosnian-Muslim) and Croat ‘Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina’ and the mostly ethnic-Serb ‘Republic of Srpska’. When Bosnians went to the polls in October they voted for the parliament of the central state, parliaments for the two parts of the country, regional assemblies, as well as three presidents representing each of the ethnic groups; Serb, Croat and Bosniak. Polling papers in The Republic of Srpska only list Serbian candidates, while those in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina give the option of both Bosnian-Muslim and Croat candidates. There is an expectation in Bosnia that if one belongs to a particular religion or ethnic group, one should vote for that group’s candidate. The results of this year’s


election saw voters in The Republic of Srpska re-elect president Nebojša Radmanović and prime minister Milorad Dodik of the Serb-nationalist Alliance of Independent Social Democrats; a man who, according to Agence-France Presse, dismissed Bosnia as an “impossible state”. In the run-up to the election, he expressed secessionist sentiments, and has opposed handing any power to the country’s central government at the expense of The Republic of Srpska’s autonomy. This provoked dismay among some commentators who saw in these results a regressive Bosnia still plagued by the ethnic rifts which produced the devastating conflict of the early 1990s. However, in Bosnia’s current political climate, voting choice is limited, with most parties being more or less nationalist by definition due to the fact that voting is divided along the largely ethnic lines of the territory occupied at the end of the war. This has led to a sentiment among many Bosnians, especially the younger generation, that they are voting for the least of several evils. Despite this, Željko Komšić, who gained the Croat group’s presidential seat, won by far the largest share of votes in the whole Federation, appealing to both Croat and Bosniak sections of the population. He has campaigned for a unified, multi-ethnic Bosnia and, along with the moderate Bakir Izetbegović who won the Bosnian-Muslim presidential seat, may have the potential to counter the separatist intentions of the Republic of Srpska. The EU can play a role in actively nudging forward reform within Bosnia. It would do well to approve the European Commission’s proposal to enable Bosnians to travel to Schengen countries without the need for a shortterm visa, thus rewarding existing progress in reforms and providing motivation to the political class. It would also show good will, especially to the country’s younger generation . It is in this younger generation, which has grown up with the consequences of ethnic division, where the best hope lies of breaking the apathetic and nationalistic status quo which defines Bosnian politics. With eased restrictions, Bosnians would be more able to engage with their European neighbours and broaden their horizons beyond the nationalistic atmosphere at home. In the mean time, the results of Bosnia’s elections may suggest a greater willingness among a large proportion of the population for a move towards internal unity rather than further division. However, it remains to be seen whether Komšić and Izetbegović will be able to translate this into greater functionality of the state as whole, based on strengthened central institutions, and thus meet the EU’s candidature requirements for external integration within the bloc. But with a past like Bosnia’s, the only way is forward, however slow that may be.

The EU after the Crisis: A Discredited Union? The economic crisis is asking some very fundamental questions about the EU; and the old answers are no longer working. By Elliot Nichols A famous analogy for the European Union is that of a bicycle – that it must relentlessly travel forwards lest it fall over. This attitude, that whatever the question the answer must be for more integration, came to dominate European policy in the aftermath of the ‘empty chair crisis’ in 1965 and has continued to do so ever since. The culmination of this doctrine can be found by the passage into law of the Lisbon Treaty. Ostensibly designed to adapt the decision making processes and institutional structures designed for 15 to a Union of 27 and to recognise the realities of the 21st century it has – less than a year after an excruciatingly painful ratification process finished – come to represent a missed opportunity of monumental proportions. Instead of taking the chance presented by the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty to radically rethink the direction of the Union, decision makers chose instead to continue with the dogma of greater centralisation and closer integration. Concerns raised about a lack of responsiveness and a marked unaccountability in key areas were invariably brushed aside. Prominent figures on the ‘pro’ side even went so far as to refer to critics of Lisbon (or its near identical forerunner) as ‘risking a second holocaust’ (Margot Wallström, then an EU Commissioner) or argued that such persons ‘put them in mind of National Socialists’ (Graham Watson MEP, then Leader of the ALDE Group). It was in this climate that the treaty was passed and consequently it is easy to understand why a great many questions went unasked. Foundational issues like the long term survivability of the Euro, the stark north - south divide on issues like growth, debt and competitiveness or the material errors in the budget went without discussion, much less resolution. Failure to address these concerns stemmed from an unwillingness to concede that integration brings with it risks as well as benefits. As with all such equations there exists a trade off: do the potential benefits outweigh the likely risks? By displaying an unwillingness to engage with these risks European policy makers may have delayed the day of reckoning (and indeed they may do so – at great cost – for a little longer yet) but as with most unpleasant problems this only increases the eventual price. Events have since, and continue to, borne this out to be the case. When the Euro was introduced amid great pomp and circumstance there were many voices (certainly a minority but not an insignificant group) who raised concerns that monetary union between countries as diverse as Germany, Ireland, Spain and Greece would result in enormous tensions in the events of a serious economic downturn. Although dismissed out of hand at the time the fear that the countries of the Eurozone would require (and disastrously be unable to enact) signifi-

cantly different polices, such as interest rates or quantitative easing, in such a crisis now looks oddly prophetic. It is time to concede that integration has gone too far; that the risks of contagion and rigidity outweigh the potential gain. The missed opportunities of Lisbon are unlikely to re-emerge in anything like so pleasant or painless a manner. Having chosen not to chose, Europe is now in the process of having its future decided for it; and trying to restore the ‘old way’ is making the situation far worse. Attempts to prevent Greece from falling out of the Eurozone include outright breaches of EU law – resulting in desperate attempts to change the treaty before it is declared so – and have led to the further spreading of financial contagion. It is nothing short of abhorrent that Ireland was forced to borrow money to send to Greece when its own predicament is so very dire. New times necessitate new thinking, yet the response from Brussels is for more of the same failed policies. Calls for full fiscal and monetary union or ‘economic government’ are indicative of the same mode of thought which brought about the current situation. Instead of conceding that monetary union on its current scale has failed, negotiating as controlled an exit as possible and allowing Ireland (Greece, Portugal etc) to devalue their way back to competitiveness in the mode of Iceland, Europe’s leaders are desperately throwing good money after bad in an attempt to protect an political project. One of the largest and most compelling arguments made for the Euro was that it would simultaneously protect weaker economies and catalyse the stronger ones. Now that this has manifestly failed to prove the case, European officials demand what was promised to be impossible (inter-bloc wealth transfers, economic government, bailouts etc.) as an inevitable necessity. Consequently the ‘democratic deficit’ is expanding explosively, with taxpayers held liable for the excesses of another countries government – with no influence over how the said government is formed or how they use the money. Is it any wonder that support for the Union amongst its citizens lies at an all time low? The crisis has demonstrated that the existing model for the EU is outdated. It may have worked in the 1950’s when its constituent nations were at once both younger and relatively richer, but not in 2010. Today, when, in spite of a massive expansion of the blocs membership, its share of the world economy continues to decline (from 36% in 1990, to 25% now and to an estimated 15% in 2020) it looks increasingly old fashioned; a 20th century answer to a 19th century problem. The single market, the Euro, the social chapter and the CAP are all relics of a time when Europe


could trade primarily with itself; of a period in history when the world needed Europe more than Europe needed the world. The continued rise of new economies (and not just the ubiquitous BRIC bloc but also of South Korea, Taiwan and Mexico to name but a few) has made continuing in the same old way totally infeasible. Europe cannot continue to simply internally redistribute an ever decreasing amount of wealth, it has to come out from behind the barricades of the external tariff and compete on every variable. The world does not owe us a living and certainly not such a living we have come to enjoy. If Europe is to compete it must adapt itself to this new reality. One size fits all legislation lacks the flexibility vital in a global world, strangles enterprise and is often outdated before it is ever implemented. It is essential that countries with economic compositions as different as those of the members of the EU are not prevented from to responding to a rapidly changing reality. Or from making the best use of their own distinct assets and working to mitigate their own particular risk set. In the midst of a boom almost every economic model dictates a rise in interest rates to cool demand, stimulate savings and in so doing prevent the formation of a ‘bubble’. Membership of the Euro denied (and continues to deny) Ireland this option since the requirements of export driven Germany and high debt Italy were that rates remain low – the resulting bubble has now burst and the ensuing tragedy is plain to see. It is not possible to avoid the ups and downs of the economic cycle but it is achievable, through flexible policy which fully reflects local requirements, to minimise some of the worst excesses. This should not be viewed as a pessimistic outlook, after all the nations of Europe have been here before. Prior to the 15th century it was the oriental powers of the east which held sway. The empires of the Ottomans, Chinese and Mughals had both gunpowder and canals, possessed ocean going ships and a stable paper currency, their universities taught advanced mathematics and astronomy. Compared to these civilisations late medieval Europeans lived in poverty and were technologically primitive. Yet in the following centuries, continuing up until the late 20th,


this situation reversed. What made the nations of Europe so successful? In brief: competition, diversity and mobility. While the formerly dominant Eastern Empires centralised, bureaucratised and raised taxes ever higher to pay for it the nations of Europe followed another path. Co-operating at need, they competed between each other. No ruler, lord or later nation could long ban an innovation or raise taxes too far without being fearful of a rival gaining an advantage through it. Competition breeds mobility, mobility creates diversity and diversity stimulates both growth and innovation. It is once again to this model that Europe should now turn. Co-operation between the various nations of Europe is important. But such co-operation should only occur when it allows them to leverage their influence to best effect without compromising their own vital interests. Free trade is vital as is co-operation on security matters. But for this to occur it is not necessary or even desirable for political or economic union on the scale and form of the modern EU. European states must be free to co-operate with other states (global) on issues which effect them. They should not be bound tightly to always follow a joint policy with the same nations or wrapped up in suffocating regulations which, designed for a country with different needs, totally fails to meet there own unique needs. It is increasingly the norm that these interests vary in the particulars country to country and often can only be served (defence, protectionism etc) by engagement beyond the borders of the continent. For instance it is difficult to see how the countries of Europe could project hard power or guarantee physical security without US, Canadian or assistance by the NATO. The emphasis must be on working together at need and allowing free competition at all other times. The crisis has shown the fatal flaws of the current model for ‘ever closer union’ but this need not be the end of the EU as an entity. Reform of its practices, focusing its competences and above all re-evaluating its purpose will be both painful and not without difficulty. However, this does not make them any less necessary, unavoidable or – ultimately - desirable.

Brain Drain By Andreana Panayi

Among the top ten universities in the world four are found in Britain and this is quite an accomplishment when we take into consideration its relative size and population. Britain has just one percent of the world’s population and produces eight percent of international scientific publications, which in turn receive 12 percent certification by other researchers. It should therefore be of great concern to all of us if the best scientists in the United Kingdom are looking to take their talents elsewhere as they search for better‐funded jobs in other countries. The basic ingredient of success is talent, so an ‘exodus’ of researchers would actually result in a “brain drain” of talent. According to a letter sent to David Willets, science minister, by John Krebs, Chair of the House of Lords science and technology committee, where he expresses concern ‘in a world where talent is highly mobile, a widening of the funding differential ... will put at risk the ability of the UK to continue to recruit and retain the very best brains...’ Wanting to validate his claims he contacted the heads of six of the country’s most well‐known research universities Cambridge, Oxford, University College London, Imperial College, Manchester and Edinburgh. Unfortunately his fears have already been realized as he has been informed that two applications for positions at the University of Manchester have been withdrawn for the reason that the proposed funding for laboratory space was inadequate. Malcolm Grant, provost of University College London reported similar examples of the nation’s incapability to compete with international universities. The heads of these six universities seem to have painted an altogether gloomy picture and it is obvious that the UK is now faced with a ‘lost generation’ of researchers as the best brains are seeking overseas places. Evidently universities are facing a great obstacle when trying to attract the most brilliant of PhD students due to a lack of resources. Britain is a global pioneer in scientific research a feat even more remarkable considering the fact that this country spends less money on science than any other G7 country with the exception of Italy. Therefore if state funding for research amounts to 0.55 per cent of GDP as the most recent numbers show then state funding remains approximately similar to 1986. Whilst the US has announced it will inject 13 million pounds for science and France already has contributed 30 million, Britain is in fact looking to decrease even further its science funding that amounts to a mere 6 billion pounds. The Business Secretary, Vince Cable has warned researchers to do “more with less” because as part of a cuts programme funding will have to be reduced.

The question is will it be feasible to do “more with less”? This is highly unlikely according to researchers. Dr Lewis Dartnell of UCL, who studies the likelihood of microbial life on Mars, conveys his total disillusionment. “Science funding in the UK is already extremely competitive, and many first‐rate research projects are already falling unfunded. Cutting back funding won’t sort the wheat from the chaff, but will mean more excellent science is neglected.” Dr Dartnell firmly believes that science is an investment that pays for itself and “everybody in the country will suffer if we lose our edge in innovation feeding into the economy ... this is isn’t just about trying to protect jobs for scientists.” Dr Dartnell who also feels that this country is facing a brain drain is not afraid to say so “If the UK smothers its research base, scientists will migrate elsewhere. Scientific output isn’t a tap that canbe turned on and off. Once research groups have disappeared and expertise has leaked away it will be difficult to get it back.” And it is not only researchers who are giving warnings about the irrevocable consequences that will follow cuts to research funding. According to Lord Sainsbury, former government science and innovation minister if funding falls it will not only affect the amount of research being done but it will also reverse our present position where “we have gone from brain drain to brain gain and if we ...start cutting [funding] we will see that reversing again...hugely damaging.” Last March, The Royal Society released a major report requesting an increase in long term investment in science and on people involved in scientific research. This is crucial so the country will regain economic strength and retain its place among the leaders of global research. Why stand out as a major economy aiming to cut science funding when competitor countries like the US, France and Germany have made it clear that scientific knowledge will aid recovery.


Commenting on the government’s intention to cut research funds across the board to diminish economic deficit, Malcolm Grant said he was trying to “understand what is the economic case for long term growth in this country to which research is not relevant.” Referring to a boy who had undergone a trachea transplant in an operation that had been carried out for the first time at Great Ormond Street Hospital, he said: “This is research that touches people’s lives...research that our universities are doing today. And this is what we fear we will not be doing today in the event we fail to convey to the public and to our political leaders what is that research achieves.” Last September, stem cell scientists expressed their worries that Britain’s leading position in regenerative medicine, which aims to repair damaged organs and tissues through the use of stem cells, was in jeopardy and blamed the previous government that it had not invested sufficient funds to help researchers turn their breakthroughs into therapies. The pro‐vice chancellor for research at Newcastle University, Nick Wright, gives evidence that younger researchers are turning away from Britain. It seems that while a number of excellent researchers from Germany had come to Newcastle during the past years, there are no more applications from Germany since now a great number of jobs and better funding has kept Germans home. Wright believes that British universities had the advantage of attracting an international blend in faculty staff and is saddened that “in the long run that will go down. If you want research of the highest international standard, it’s very hard ... if we don’t have significant numbers of staff from overseas ... It’s impossible to believe that all of the talent will be generated in the UK.” He also said that Britain should not become a “second‐rate nation” and “live off the research of other people” because in order to be first we have to “be generating knowledge, not absorbing it second hand.” Professor Brian Foster, a particle physicist at Oxford University is “seriously contemplating” moving the majority of his research to Hamburg University in Germany where he was offered a highly esteemed post that comes with 4.3 million pounds funds for research of his choice for five years. Another scientist, one of the country’s most respected neuroscientists, Professor Kate Jeferry, has started searching for better job opportunities overseas in order to secure her career. Her work involves spatial navigation trying to find out how the brain makes sense of the space around us, which consequently helps explain Alzheimer’s. Working at University College London she has attracted


many researchers from Spain, Greece, Iceland, Germany and Italy. Since her research depends on grant money, if finding funding for her research becomes impossible then she would have to leave the UK and she has already started to “explore what options might be available outside the country if the worst happens.” Applying for funds is lengthy procedure and the chance of being unsuccessful is a chance of four out of five. Unlike finance as Jeffery says, science is “deeply cultural and that culture is fragile and easily damaged. I really hope we don’t end up vandalizing one of our greatest assets.” Carlos Gias is a postdoctoral researcher also working for University College London at the Institute of Ophthalmology where he is searching for different treatments to effectively treat loss of sight. He says it is rather frustrating and extremely difficult to find a job in Britain and if one is found then most of your time is spent applying for grants over and over again. Gias is in fact thinking of quitting science and become involved in finance. After all politicians in Britain seem to prefer that “the banks will be saved, but not the universities.” Fortunately the government’s spending review did not include severe cuts to the science budget as scientists had predicted and the 4.6 billion spent each year on scientific research by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Bis) will be ring‐fenced in a “flat cash” agreement that means a 10% cut, after allowing for inflation. This should dispel fears of a brain drain as Dr Evan Harris, former Liberal Democrat science spokesman, said “Hopefully this will convince any scientists thinking of leaving the country that all is not lost. Morale will be boosted by this because, on the face of it, it is a good settlement.”

Soap Opera Politics

Bad boys gone good in Ukraine? Probably not. By Christine Seifert

There are many reasons why it could seem like a surprise that Viktor Yanukovych of the Party of the Regions won the Ukrainian Presidential elections earlier this year. Not only was it the first time in the country’s history that a president was elected with less than fifty percent of the votes. No, he also was the ‘bad boy’ of the Orange Revolution of November 2004, which resulted from general public discontent about the corrupt government of the day. This feeling was increased by the direct electoral fraud that took place during the 2004 presidential elections. 500,000 Ukrainians camped out at Kiev’s Independence Square for two weeks in the bitter cold demanding change and demonstrating that there was one thing they did not want and did not vote for: Viktor Yanukovych as president. Remembering this massive demonstration now, one feels compelled to ask: What happened between 2004 and today that makes it possible for a former ‘bad boy’ to now lead the country? And is he maybe not that bad at all? A possible explanation for Yanukovych’s victory earlier this year lies in what The Economist calls “the soap opera that was Ukrainian politics after the Orange Revolution”. A major result of the 2004 electoral crisis was a constitutional reform that severely limited presidential power. So while Viktor Yushchenko of the party

Our Ukraine, the ‘good boy’ of the Revolution, became president, he also heavily depended on the parliament to approve any of his promised economic, social and constitutional reforms. Yulia Tymoshenko, the woman with the long braided blond hair who used to be the most prominent face of the Orange Revolution, became the first Prime Minister under Yushchenko. However, only several months into her government, her administration was ridden by internal conflicts and was dismissed for that reason in September 2005. In 2006 the Party of the Regions won a majority of seats in parliament and Yanukovych became Prime Minister for the second time in his career (he had already served in this office from 2002 until the Orange Revolution). However, the continuous fighting in parliament caused President Yushchenko to dissolve parliament in 2007 since he felt that it posed a threat on democracy. After this Yulia Tymoshenko became Prime Minister. Again. The power struggles and fighting continued and the promised reforms stayed away. This brief insight in Ukrainian post-2004 politics illustrates a major point all too well: Ukrainian politics is not driven by ideas to fight against poverty or improve the country’s economic situation. Quite on the contrary, Ukrainian politics seems to be dominated by a small group


of wealthy and influential individuals who take turns in assuming different posts and seek to improve their own financial situation by trying to get into positions of power. And it is no wonder the Ukrainian people came to realise this as well somewhere along the way. Hopes were up after the Orange Revolution, however, since the government failed to implement reforms and with the internal political fragmentation mentioned above, disappointment about Our Ukraine and Yulia Tymoshenko spread and the population lost confidence in the people they once had put so much faith in. This and the questionable character of the leading Ukrainian politicians results in a dangerous pattern of permanent political paralysis: People loose interest, since they feel like whatever happens in the political sphere is only marginally about them after all. This discontent causes a victory of the opposition of the day in almost all elections and results in incoherent and therefore ineffective policymaking. For example, the number of years needed to complete Secondary education was changed from eleven to twelve years under Yushchenko and changed back to eleven years under Yanukovych earlier this year. Considering the administrative impact of the change and the infrastructure needed to reprint books and the like twice within a couple of years, this seems like an unnecessary waste of resources. However, it shows how the actual policies proposed by the different parties become a minor point of consideration for the electorate since nobody expects politicians to fulfill their promises anyways. This is what allowed the former ‘bad boy’, Viktor Yanukovych, to come into power. Again. The lack of credible political actors that causes popular frustration with the matter is one of Ukrainian politics’ major problems. Many had hoped it would be solved by the victorious outcome of the Orange Revolution, but Yanukovych’s victory illustrates that Ukrainian

politics is now probably deeper in a crisis than ever. This point is underlined by the authoritarian tendencies displayed by Viktor Yanukovych during his first 300 days in office. He twisted parliamentary rules to form his new government and consolidate his power, and last month’s local elections are widely regarded as not free and decided in Kiev. In terms of press freedom, the place for criticism has clearly decreased. This is best demonstrated by an incident that occurred in late June this year when Nico Lange, Ukraine director of the Konrad Adenauer foundation who had issued a report questioning the democratic character and calling attention to the alarming tendencies of the new government in May, was denied entry to the country and was detained at Kiev’s Borispyl Airport for ten hours. Critics talked about a return to KGB tactics. Though journalists claim that censorship is being imposed by owners of media companies rather than by the government, these two positions are often connected: for example, a major stakeholder at Ukraine’s most popular television channel Inter is also the head of the country’s security services. The question that remains is how Europe should deal with its Eastern neighbour. With a weak and fragmented opposition that is very occupied with its internal power struggles it seems like there is not much that could stop Viktor Yanukovych from following his course. During the EU-Ukraine Summit that was held in late November EU representatives stressed the importance of human rights, democratic values and the freedom of the press. The parties also talked about possible visa liberalisation and integration in the EU’s internal markets. However, only the future will show if these incentives are enough to motivate Ukrainian policymakers to implement the political and social reforms the country desperately needs. As of now, this seems quite unlikely.

When the Value of Oil obscures the Power of Reason The EU and Lybia. By Micol Chillè

What lies behind the fast-track economic and political relationship between the European Union and the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya? An internationally isolated and sanctioned country has been put on a diplomatic pedestal, surrounded by forced politeness and courtesy. Paradoxically, whilst a widespread fear of Islam is on the rise in Europe, it holds out his hand


to its Arab Mediterranean neighbour. In such a relationship, moral and ethical factors are at stake. However, the definition of the political and economic moral has become increasingly difficult in today’s world. Firstly, in order to step out of international isolation and initiate diplomatic relations, Libya had to clarify and admit responsibility for its past involvement in terror-

ist actions and chemical armament. The pivotal instance, still at the centre of heated debate in Europe, was the bombing of the PanAm flight 103 in 1988. Libyan admission of responsibility and reimbursement of $3 billion led to the end of the 1992 trade and arms embargo, and the abandonment of chemical and nuclear weapons of mass destruction projects in 2003 was also a proof of progressive moves towards a Western concept of cooperative and comprehensive security alliance. Secondly, if this process appears ethically appropriate in the Western eyes, it is important to bear in mind the market driven necessity of such behaviour. In Libya, in 2007, the hydrocarbons sector accounted for 71% of nominal GDP, more than 97% of exports, and 90% of government revenues. In 2008, mineral fuels represented 62% of EU-27 total import from Africa ). In the same year, 90% of Libyan exports to EU-27 were mineral fuels, for a value of more than 35 million Euros. The five main EU trading partners with Africa in 2008 were Italy, France, Spain, Germany and the UK; member states that are indeed the principal political voices of the EU. Italy and France are furthermore the countries that established key diplomatic contacts with Libya, and, not to forget, two of the many countries with loud anti-Islamic political forces. It is this last factor that provides the most controversial element of relations with Libya: immigration regulatory policies and funds. The EU has consolidated the idea of a Mediterranean region in 1995 with the Barcelona Process, linking the two shores of the Mediterranean and creating a bridge with the Middle East. The challenge that the Barcelona Process faced was to overcome the asymmetrical relations between Europe and North Africa, with the latter perceiving its role as “policy taker”. In order to modify this imbalance, the EU adopted the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) in 2003, which is an attempt to “Europeanise” Eastern and Southern peripheries of continental Europe. Its main tool is the European Neighbourhood Policy Instrument (ENPI), which assists specific cross-bordercooperation programs and has a budget of 12 billion Euro between 2007-2013, which is used to harmonise legislation at political-security, economic and socio-cultural level. Within this sub-regional partnership, Libya has a position of relative power that other Maghreb countries (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia) do not possess: control of immigration fluxes to Europe. When sub-regional agreements imply an uneven relation, Libya has been using such issues to confront EU superior position. Migration flows to Libya have their origin in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria and Palestine and have increased from 1989 with the creation of the Arab Maghreb Union and with the active involvement of Muammar Gaddafi in

pan-African policies. Libya, as an oil-producing country, is seen as a possible destination for labour migrants, or else, as a necessary stop before journeys to the coasts of Italy, Spain, Greece and Malta. Migration from North Africa and the Middle East has many different aspects. It can be voluntary, when people leave their country for socioeconomic reasons or forced, when people escape war, political persecution or oppressive regimes and therefore seek asylum. Factors like family reunification, the necessity to enlarge Europe’s labour force and the migrants’ wish to gain access to educational resources and basic freedoms also play an important role. Among these aspects, the darkest area lies in the organisation of such flows: it is either in the hands of “hierarchical mafia-type organised crime groups”, or in deeprouted “smuggling networks of locally operating individuals”, based on family and ethnic ties. In front of the EU commitment to protect human rights in the Second and Third legislative pillars, Libya does not have any asylum regulations, has not signed the 1951 Refugee Convention, and has expelled the members of the UN Refugee Agency from its territory. In front of the uncontrolled detention of migrants and asylum seekers in Libya, Italy has signed the “Treaty of Friendship, Partnership and Cooperation” with the Jamahiriya in 2008, paying $5 billion for its colonial invasion, donating police boats and equipment, and granting education scholarships. At the same time, the EU Commission is negotiating funds for 2011-2013, having rejected Gaddafi’s request of €5 billion and offering €50 million instead. This negotiation is still in its early stages. What becomes morally appropriate here is the diplomatic relationship that has a single scope: survival. In realist terms, European economic survival and political survival are ethical criteria that have to become appropriate policy-making motifs of action. In the case of EU-Libya relations, the intersection of need for primary energy resources and need for migrant blockage has overshadowed the only fundamental moral issue to solve: inhuman treatment of migrants. The benefits of this relation allow European states to maintain their high economic development and attempt to reduce of their inner religious and racist struggles. The costs are tangible in terms of answers to “diplomatic blackmail”, high sums of funds and neglect of the destruction of human rights. While, on the one side, the “Christian Europe” has participated in the politicisation of religion in modern discourses of clashes of civilisations, on the other side, it is funding the same “Arab enemy” that it considers a threat to its security and an inferior actor in world politics, reminding a lot to the ideology of the age of Crusades. Nothing appears to be moral or ethical in this double-dealing. The power of reason has been subdued to the power of the “black gold”.



No Boundaries / Sarah de Morant / Rugby in French Sportinng Culture / Markus Findlay

No Boundaries

A reconsideration of ‘poking’ as a means of ‘communication’. By Sarah de Morant

Disclaimer - This is not yet again an article aiming to enlighten you on the fact that Facebook is more evil than all the countries of the ‘Axis of Evil’ put together, nor to force you to admit what a stalker you’ve become over the course of your social networking years. Rather, its premise is a reconsideration of how hitting the ‘Sign up’ button may have influenced your ways of communicating. Mark Zuckeeberg, the world’s youngest billionaire, CEO of Facebook, and central character of the recently launched film ‘The Social Network’, was awarded, no later than last year, The Economist’s Innovation Award for ‘No Boundaries’. In effect, sponsors claimed that his ‘contribution to social networking [had] made a significant impact in opening up the boundaries of communication’. An appraisal which- certainly in the opinion of viewers of ‘The Social Network’- is perhaps undeserved, but, more importantly, which seems to rest on a misconception of the real nature and meaning of communication. Look at it this way: has Facebook, through enabling us to ‘Like’ one’s status, ‘Tag’ them in a cringe worthy photo, or ‘Share’ a video link, truly taken social interaction to the internet? Are these features an accurate reconstruction of human communication? Has the constructed element of Facebook messages, which one can carefully devise and think twice about posting, not taken away the spontaneity once considered crucial to social interaction? (Yes, sobriety is obviously a requirement for such cautious behaviour, but an a unintended drunken comment can easily be deleted once sobered up.) Moreover, what should we make of the fact that communicating through Facebook cuts off not only body language, gestures, and tone of voice; aspects of human communication which convey just as much meaning as words and sentences (and definitely more meaning than hitting ‘Like’)? Obviously, I do not mean to deny that the cultural differences linked to these elements of communication can sometimes have a hindering effect. Indeed, it is clear that talking to someone with your face almost touching theirs so as to emphasize a point, constantly maintaining a loud tone of voice, or punctuating discussion with forms of physical contacts, normal features in certain cultures, could cause certain discomfort for others. Yet can we claim that by breaking down such communication ‘blockers’, Facebook has established itself as a leader for greater tolerance and understanding in the world in

Gandhi’s footsteps? Isn’t it by experiencing such cultural differences and progressively and mutually accommodating to them that two humans achieve the connection we call communicating? Consider now to the use, or misuse of personal data on Facebook. With regards to this matter, I do not wish to engage into the never ending debate on the extent to which Facebook is wickedly exploiting our personal data, nor to remind you of the fact that the one incriminating picture of yourself in a debatable state of sobriety recently posted by your ‘mate’ means that you can never hope to get a respectable job. Rather, I’d like to highlight the impact of the fact that now, regardless of our consent, we can find ourselves face-to-face with someone’s religious and political views simply by clicking on their name. Although seemingly ‘basic’ fields of information -at least according to Zuckerberg-, knowing such intimate details about a close to stranger evidently affects our opinion of that very person, and will inevitably influence, whether subconsciously or not, how we interpret their words and actions. In that sense, wouldn’t Facebook be nothing more than an obstruction to any form of unprejudiced discussion? Although such comments can only aim to remain open-ended, another more easily arguable ground on which Facebook has been hailed as the leader for a utopian, open, connected and equal world is its potential to push social boundaries, and to allow open communication not only across physical but also socially-constructed borders. Indeed, Her Majesty the Queen herself is now making herself more accessible to her subjects via Facebook. A sign of the ultimate breakdown of the golden social barriers surrounding the monarchy, which had until now been well guarded? Take another look, and you’ll realize that Her Majesty’s royal status has been effectively safeguarded by excluding the possibility for others to be friends with Her or to ‘poke’ her (a form of only interaction which some have claimed to be the first step to intercourse). Indeed, one can only ever hope to ‘Like’ the Queen. As for the rest of us poor mortals, social barriers, although perhaps more easily covered, since Facebook is after all a means for individuals to careful construct their own image, also seem to be just as solidly standing. ‘Sent from my iPhone®’, ‘via Facebook for BlackBerry®’, ‘Attending VIP Night in Superposh Club’, ‘Likes Jack


Wills’, ‘Pictures Upload of my Oh-so expensive holiday abroad’… There remains many ways for the glamorous to publicise their Oh-so-desirable social status. Similarly, taglines claiming that Facebook enables pure world openness should not be so easily bowed down to. I certainly wouldn’t deny that in searching for the culprits of the recent student protest in London, The Met Police should certainly have Facebook as its number one enemy. Indeed, Facebook does provide an incredible potential for mass social action. (Though I simply cannot constrain the will to stress that us French managed fairly well without it in May ‘68) Moreover, who would

accept a ‘Friend request’, let alone submit one, from an individual whose neither name nor pictures rang any bell? Try adding me stranger, ‘Not Now’-ing you, I certainly will decline the offer. Indeed, few are those who venture outside their close (or at least as close as 1248 friends can be regarded to be) friendship group. Yet with all that being said, whilst I thus see Facebook as another weaker form of social interaction rather than a substitute for human communication, I obviously wouldn’t delete my Facebook account for anything in the world. Beside Michael Jackson coming back to life.

Rugby in French Sporting Culture By Markus Findlay

Rugby’s personal attraction extends beyond the varied nature of the game, one where all aspects of skill are incorporated. The unique emphasis on inclusiveness and interdependence are the reasons why I am so passionate about rugby. I believe there is a universal appreciation for great spectacles of athleticism, similar to the times of antiquity where athletes were idolised for their physical qualities. This enthusiasm for rugby (and sport in general) is widespread in the southwest of France, and not dissimilar to the complete awe for the ancient athletes of the past. The origins of this enthusiasm lie in the late C19th when English merchants and sailors first brought


the game to northern France and set up the first club Le Havre Athletic. Three further clubs were established in Paris in the following years. After 1899 the French championship, now opened to clubs outside Paris, was won by Stade Bordelais. This was a watershed in the nation’s sporting history that shifted the power base of French rugby to the south, which is now the heartland of the sport. I have often felt some envy for such a community where the rugby culture is so valued. Something not expressed so tangibly in Britain - where games incorporating a more round ball are more appreciated! Whereas traditionally the ethos of rugby in Britain was to teach

teamwork, and encourage character building, the sport in the south of France was, and is, largely an expression of identity. The date is Friday 14th August 2009, and in the spirit of investigative journalism I take up an invitation to watch a training session of the professional side Sporting Club Albigeois. Now well accustomed to the French rail system, I take the train from headquarters Toulouse to Albi Ville station where I am greeted by Benoît, a local student and enthusiastic volunteer at the club who gives me a lift to the stadium. I befriended him at last week’s pre season friendly in the tiny rural town of Camarès, and am grateful for Benoît’s generosity. Out of the burning sunlight from underneath the shelter of the shady grandstand I witness perhaps the best example of the French rugby spirit I could have hoped for. Whilst an intense training session unfolds, small children (also on the pitch!) provide encouragement and support, handing back stray balls and chatting casually now and again with players as if this is a routine event. It is also on this day that I discover a common feature of the sporting culture. This being only training, I am surprised to find a congregation of some 50 or 60 fans also watching. If not before, it was now clear to me that rugby plays a huge part here in the community. From head coaches to fans what I saw here was a family. There seemed to be no boundaries, no restrictions, a complete contrast to the detached world of professional sport in Britain. Just days before, on a farm in the depths of the Pyrénées I was introduced to a French expression by Colin Spiro, a charismatic gonzo sports journalist from Essex, and the editor of the website The expression was “l’esprit de clocher”. Bluntly defined as parochialism, this phrase underlines exactly what I saw in Albi. I was kindly lent a book by Colin called ‘Inside French Rugby,’ the poignant account of a retired New Zealand rugby player named John Daniell. The expression is often used by Daniell to explain the French sporting mentality and its various manifestations. In essence, l’esprit de clocher, literally translated as the spirit of the church bell tower, is the French “credo of collective duty to the town, the team and the jersey”. However, symbolically it represents “everything a good Frenchman holds close to his heart- his family, his friends, his town- the roots of an existence.” The friendly family atmosphere I experienced in Albi was a perfect demonstration of this expression for me. However, the meaning of l’esprit de clocher extends beyond the apparent romantic community spirit. As pointed out by Daniell, historically the phrase meant that anyone who lived within earshot of the church bells was supposed

to “uphold the honour of that town in the traditional sport of la soule.” La soule is an extinct sport akin to rugby but not an ancestor. Often played between two rival towns, “each side aimed to manhandle a ball made of leather or an animal’s bladder into their own goal, be it a wall, a tree or a body of water.” Although the sport is long gone the fiery pride it inspired lives on in France, now through the medium of rugby. George Orwell’s quote “serious sport is war minus the shooting” portrays the combative nature of the sport in general, but the magical part of rugby is its inclusive nature and the prevalent ethos of sportsmanship. Serge Simon, a former French prop, once said of rugby: “C’est un jeu où on peut se etre des marrons et puis aller boire des bières ensemble après” - “It’s a game where we can slap each other around and then go and have a beer together afterwards”. The French rugby culture has always valued these principles, in fact Daniell indicates that “once the game had been won, the recipient of the soule - probably an inn keeper or the local noble - was obliged to put on food and drinks for the victors as recognition of their valour on behalf of the village.” The post match communal meal has great social importance in France. On my visit to Millau to watch another pre season friendly, I was privileged enough to sit in on a meal with the Sale Sharks after their game against Montpellier. There, in a modified barn I was amongst players and fans alike, sat together enjoying a meal. But another notable feature of this occasion was the willingness of the French players to sign autographs and pose for photographs with their young fans - whilst in the middle of their dinner. I was confused. Were the French fans just more audacious, or were the players just very kind? These were my thoughts, as I sat absorbing the occasion, placed opposite at the table from French international and Montpellier back row Fulgence Ouedraogo, as a small girl approached whilst he was eating. Rudi Keil, the South African Sale Sharks player enlightened me, saying: “In France the players are very conscious that they are only where they are because of their fans.” I wondered whether the same could be said of the footballers in the English premiership? The next destination my project led me to was the town of Brive-la-Gaillard, located in the department of Corrèze in the Limousin region. During the 10 days I spent there I discovered something about the changing role of rugby in France. As Daniell describes it, the town of Brive is “picturesque, the countryside beautiful, and the food excellent, but there is not a lot going on - apart from rugby.” I navigate my way to the auberge de jeunesse on


what is another scorching day. After checking in I arrive at the hallowed ground of Club Athlétique Briviste, to give them their full name. Tonight is the first game of the new season, and I am very fortunate to be spending the next week at the club on work experience. The British Liaison Officer at the club is a man named Keith Charge, a former policeman from Bath; this friendly warm-hearted man is perhaps the most passionate man I have ever met. He is responsible for organising this opportunity, and I meet him outside the ticket office with his wife Julia before the match begins. It fascinates me that Keith, who once held a season ticket at Bath for ten years, is so enthusiastic for this French team. He declares that he would buy the club tomorrow if he won the lottery! As I am introduced to the staff I discover that there are quite a few British people involved in the set up. In fact, I am told there are over 150 British season ticket holders here alone, not including the regular attendees. I immediately realise why the club’s website is also in English, something I would later be responsible for translating. The nickname of ‘Brive England’ given to the team (with five capped England players in the squad) by the British sporting press also seems an appropriate title for the club itself. But why is this, and why is there even a need for a British Liaison Officer at what is a French club? In answer to my previous question Keith tells me that Chief Executive Simon Gillham, another British person, has his “finger very much on the pulse.” He saw the opportunity to entice the large population of British expatriates living in the nearby Dordogne to be involved with the club, hence the need for a British Liaison Officer, an ambassador for the Anglophone community within the club, and a writer for the witty English column in the match day programme. Despite the tireless unpaid work Keith does for the club, (between thirty and thirty five hours a week!) I couldn’t help thinking there must have been something else that transformed these people from Brits to Brivistes. Keith’s enthusiasm certainly was contagious, but later on that evening I witnessed the animated carnival atmosphere of the match against Montpellier, and the routine postmatch pitch invasion - a chance for the fans to meet their heroes. These experiences were like nothing I had seen before, and certainly enough to make me a fully-fledged supporter myself. “Long may the pitch invasion last” says former policeman Keith, as we stroll across the turf ourselves on the way to the function room. I really admired the sense of accessibility here. It seemed, as Keith said, the club was very much “in touch with the grassroots.” But I was not content! I wanted to know what it


was about Brive, and French rugby in general that won Keith over so overwhelmingly. The root of his enthusiasm lies in the story of the European Cup Final of 1998. The match between Bath and Brive was held in Bordeaux. Committed Bath fans in those days, Keith and Julia travelled to France for what was a nail-biting encounter. The game and therefore the title went Bath’s way by a single point. But the significance of this story was not the game itself. As the match ended and they stood up from their seats, satisfied and ready to leave the ground, they were beckoned over by a gathering of surprisingly jovial Brive fans. On their approach glasses of fine champagne were poured out for them and they enjoyed a long bonding conversation. Touched by the hospitality they were shown, Keith told me in his deep voice that the event “underlined perfectly the spirit of rugby”. Thereafter, Keith and Julia planned holidays in France that would coincide with Brive matches, before they would eventually emigrate completely to the country, partly for the lifestyle - but mainly for the rugby. On that ever so special November day in 2003, when a certain Jonny Wilkinson kicked the drop-goal that would bring the Rugby World Cup to the Northern Hemisphere for the first time in history, my own passion for the sport was sparked - just as with many of my generation. It captured the heart of the nation and made a huge impact on the sporting community. The golden Web Ellis Cup even made a celebratory visit to my home, the rural market town of Nantwich in Cheshire, the newspaper cutting of which still mounts my bedroom wall, now faded and bleached by sunlight. It is fair to say that I would probably not be writing this article had that kick not bisected the posts in the dying minutes of the game. But exactly four years on in 2007, it was France who held the tournament. A key element to my project was exploring whether the hosting of the Rugby World Cup had a similar cultural impact in France, as the victory of the tournament did for England? When I entered the office concerned with the école de rugby in Albi, I was shown figures of the subscription to the club, from both before and after the tournament. To my surprise I discovered a double in the recruitment levels of the youth teams, two hundred members before the World Cup, four hundred after. There was a similar trend at amateur club Tulle. The junior subscription to their club showed an increase of 30% following the World Cup. Clearly the fact that France played host influenced the younger generation to participate in the sport. It is interesting however, that this reaction occurred despite the hosting nation’s failure to win

the tournament (France knocked out in the semi-final by none other than England). Usually, such a sporting frenzy, for example the Rugby World Cup 2003, or The Ashes of 2005 occurs only after a victory, when the country receives a boost of patriotism, and prides itself on being the best at something. Success, it seems, is the formula for nationwide zeal. Strangely, France is a perfect example of how a country can suddenly change its mood, which is why it is peculiar that the 2007 World Cup had such an impact on the culture. In the article that perhaps triggered the theme of my project, this typically French quality was illustrated to me. Gavin Mortimer’s ‘Bonjour and Bienvenue’ from the magazine Rugby World, stated that “in the weeks leading up to the 1998 Football World Cup, the majority of the French public didn’t appear very interested in what was going on because they had no chance of winning. It was only when Les Bleus topped their pool and then beat Italy to reach the semi-finals that the French really sat up and took notice.” Of course France then won the competition, but as Mortimer puts it, it’s funny “how success can turn the apathetic into the enthusiastic, and transform the fagsmoking into the flag-waving.” In England, similar to the majority of the French sporting public, rugby is an irrelevance - football is all that matters. As Mortimer’s article points out, in England the divide between the two sports has “traditionally been along class lines”. To illustrate this, in the last England international fixture there were only three players in the

entire starting line up who were educated at state schools. Whereas, unusually in France “it’s a geographical border that separates the two”. The south-west of France is often nicknamed ‘Pays de l’Ovalie’ - ‘the land of the oval ball’ - due to the concentrated rugby enthusiasm in the area. If you draw a line across the middle of France from La Rochelle in the west to Lyon in the east, of the thirty clubs in the professional divisions (Top 14 and Pro D2), only the two Paris clubs Stade Français and Racing Métro, are north of the line. Despite the strongholds of Marseille and Lyon, rugby dominates in the bottom half of the country, and “the majority of the France squad where born in the south”. This particular cultural comparison fascinated me, and provided huge inspiration for my project. But the answer as to why this divide exists caused me to do wider research. Once again it was John Daniell’s book that provided the most pertinent answer. I have already mentioned how rugby in the south is largely an expression of character. This is linked to the very French idea of terroir, the notion that a “product draws its identity from the soil in which it is produced and its character from the culture that surrounds it”. This romantic sense of rootedness manifests itself more strongly in the south, where the sport “thrives in the hothouse environment of small French towns”.


Think Young The Roma Deportations / Markéta Jélinková / Learning Lessons in Diversity / Harry Briggs

Think Young is a Brussels-based think tank oriented towards young Europeans. As a part of our collaboration EUREKA is publishing two articles byThink Young writers in this issue. Learn more about Think Young at


The Roma Deportations in France By Markéta Jélinková

Huge controversy has been sparked by France‘s decision in July 2010 to deport Romanian and Bulgarian Roma, dealing with illegal camps in the country and triggered by a clash between a young Roma and police in the town of Saint Aignan. Subsequently, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called a ministerial meeting, where the decision to shut down some 300 illegal camps and squats within three months was made. Those people who were illegally living in France in such camps have been deported. France says that security is the reason for these stricter measures imposed at the beginning of July 2010 and that increasing crime rates are caused mainly by immigrants. However, is this reason strong enough for such a crackdown? Why not try to solve immigrants’ problems rather than acting drastically only when violence occurs? Problems with itinerant peoples such as the Roma, who move according to where work can be found originate probably in the fact that there are not enough places where they can legally reside. Deportations of Roma are also criticised as being Sarkozy’s means to achieve higher popularity before the presidential elections which are due to take place in 2012. Critics believe that the Roma question is being addressed in order to divert attention from unpopular plans to raising retirement age and reducing state expenditure. Interestingly, two thirds of French people agree with the repatriations of the Roma, seeing them only begging in the streets and therefore consider them a nuisance. On the other hand, a majority of French politicians criticise the deportations, including many within Sarkozy‘s own cabinet. Critical reactions to the deportations also come from the EU. Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner, likened Sarkozy‘s behaviour to that of Hitler during the Holocaust, where in both cases people were being deported from one European country to another because of their ethnicity. It is questionable whether such a statement is too strong, but it has undoubtedly served to give greater attention to the Roma issue. Sarkozy responded that Luxembourg (Ms. Reding‘s country of origin) is welcome to have the Roma in their country instead. I believe that such a statement is inappropriate, not least because Ms. Reding speaks on behalf of the EU as Justice Commissioner, and not on behalf of Luxembourg. Such personal retaliations should best be avoided in European politics.

According to some European Commioners, France is in contravention of European law, which states that every European citizen has the right to move freely within the EU. In response to this accusation, France stated that the Roma are leaving France voluntarily. However, without the recompense of 300€ per adult and 100€ per child that the Roma receive for leaving the country, most Roma would most likely not want to be deported. There is a more disturbing aspect regarding France‘s response to the Roma issue. Mass deportations as a security policy are based on collective punishments. Those people being deported do not have the valid work or residency permits which are needed if they want to stay in France for more than three months. However, of course not all of these people are a threat to the security of French people, which is cited as the main reason for their repatriations. Moreover, even if the all French Roma from Romania and Bulgaria were deported, it would be probably only a short-term solution for France. From January 2014, seven years after their accession, Romanians and Bulgarians will have full freedom of movement anywhere within the EU anyway. One must ask oneself, therefore, if this fact confirms that Sarkozy’s behaviour is merely an attempt to guide public attention away from topics such as changes to the retirement age. Statements of some deported Roma imply that they intend to return to France. When looking at the Roma situation from their point of view, it is not so incomprehensible: Romanian and Bulgarian Roma are discriminated against at home and they have even faced evictions in their countries. Thus, the problem of discrimination of the Roma is not only an issue for France, but also for Romania and Bulgaria (their home countries) and similarly for other European countries as well. To conclude optimistically, everything bad is good for something. After experience of Roma deportations from France, the European Commission decided to form a special group dedicated to the Roma issue. Among the goals of this group will also be the use of the member states’ funds for the integration of the Roma. Markéta Jélinková is a Czech student at the Louvain School of Management in Belgium.


Learning Lessons in Diversity

What EU policymakers can learn from the private sector. By Harry Briggs

Not so long ago I was sipping coffee in the garden of my favourite café, hidden in the quintessentially English countryside of Cheshire. But at that moment the quaint setting was lost on me. My mind was preoccupied with the speech I had just been reading. Britain’s newly elected Prime Minister- master of coalition and head of a thriving centre right, Euro-sceptic party- was in Turkey. He wasn’t there to take in the sun; but rather to declare Britain’s support of Turkey’s bid to join the European Union. I sat in the café for some time, pondering why this purported Euro-sceptic was suddenly advocating the enlargement of the European Union (EU). He gave a number of (frankly perfectly good) reasons in the speech. After all, Turkey’s economy had grown by 11% at the start of this year and they are predicted to be the second fastest growing economy by 2017. He also cited security concerns as a decisive factor in Turkish integration: with most EU members militarily active in the Middle East, a friend of such significance in the Muslim world would be a key political ally in ensuring continued peace and stability. These arguments are sensible and persuasive, quantitative and tangible: altogether the sort of thing that one can easily digest without having to balance pros and cons. But as I considered these points I found that the most persuasive argument for European expansion is that of diversity. Diversity is a term frequently thrown about by businessmen. In practice, it refers to the value derived from having different perspectives. Naturally, this is a difficult thing to measure. Take a look at the American business review magazine FORTUNE’s list of top 10 companies, however, and each one has a section of their website expressing dedication to diversity. Would this be the case if there was no true value in diversity? Emphatically no. If one accepts that diversity is an asset to business, why is it important for the EU? Corporations within member states have been able to draw upon diversity as a human resource and have nurtured strong, profitable partnerships with firms from different cultures. As a collective economy, these advantages all serve to further unite the EU and enlarge its global influence. The EU has a long history of ignoring value in diversity. Uncannily resembling contemporary arguments against Turkish accession to the EU, General de Gaulle said of the UK in 1963, shortly before vetoing its accession, that it was a country “which is not European, its history, its geography, its economy, its agriculture… the character of its people – admirable people though they are – all point in a


different direction. This is a country which cannot, despite what it claims and perhaps even what it believes, be a full member.” Heads of member states and their politicians need to recognise the value that diversity has created in the commercial world and therefore embrace it in politics. Different views and perspectives should not be perceived as threats or dissidents, but rather as enlightening new paths and opening up new opportunities. General de Gaulle was right when he described the UK. Those who apply his statement to Turkey are also right. These countries do have different histories, different cultures and different economies from the rest of Europe. What de Gaulle failed to realise, however, was that this is the very reason for which they should be members of the European Union. Turkey can open new inroads to the Middle East and add an oriental perspective to European affairs. A strong, influential European Union needs diversity to survive, and enlargement is the only way achieve it. Harry Briggs is an accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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