#EUdecides2014: The clear winner is the European public

The first European-wide debate with the candidates for the next president of the European Commission ended after exciting 90 minutes in Maastricht. Jean-Claude Juncker from the Conservatives (EPP), Martin Schulz from the Socialdemocrats (S&D), Guy Verhofstadt from the Liberals (ALDE) and Ska Keller from the Greens were in the debate broadcasted live by Euronews. The clear winner of the debate was the European public that for the first time could engage on a large scheme with the future policy makers. The only problem was the format that hardly allowed debate and had moderators that were way too strict. Another failure was the Left where Alexis Tsipras (GUE) was not present. Clearly a signal of weakness and not of strength. In the following, I will describe the performance of each candidate. Continue reading “#EUdecides2014: The clear winner is the European public”

Turkey’s step towards accepting Armenian mass killings

Armenian genocide memorial (c) Flickr/Zadoune

Today, Armenians all around the world start to remember the victims of the Armenian genocide, the brutal murder of some one million people that started 99 years ago. However, a small revolution took place and the world hardly noticed it. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the events of 1915 for the first time as “inhumane.” These words could transform the almost non-existing relations between Turkey and Armenia. For sure, Turkey is still not ready yet to accept that genocide or a genocidal attempt took place during World War I in the Ottoman Empire against Armenians. However, Erdogan’s remarks could break the ice and bring back some kind any normality in the region. At the same time, there are loads of spoilers out there that will try to undermine the process. Continue reading “Turkey’s step towards accepting Armenian mass killings”

“I want the United States of Europe”

Stefan Windberger in a discussion on science and research in Vienna (c) EFP/APA/Preiss
stefan profilfoto
Stefan Windberger from NEOS is running as a Member of European Parliament

The youngest Austrian candidate with a realistic chance to be elected into the European Parliament is Stefan Windberger. The 25-year-old has studied international affairs and international political economy at the London School of Economics and Sciences Po in Paris and has started recently his own consulting firm in Vienna. In February, he was officially selected as the number two candidate for NEOS, a newly established liberal movement. The polls suggest that NEOS will get some 12% at the European Parliament elections on 25 May 2014 whereby about 10% would be necessary for Stefan to become a Member of European Parliament (MEP). Standing up against youth unemployment, calling for educational reform and establishing easier ways to start new businesses for young people are his main priorities. In addition, he presents his ideas about Europe that are based on a call for a federal Europe. This Skype interview was conducted on 12 April 2014. Continue reading ““I want the United States of Europe””

Kenyatta one year in office: mediocre at best

President Kenyatta's poster before the 4 March 2013 election in Nairobi

One year and one week ago, Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as the new president of Kenya. In early March 2013, largely peaceful elections were held. I have myself been in Eldoret, in the northern Rift Valley, for one week during the times of the elections and I was a “local” election observer with the VUP Foundation. The talk of the time were about sanctions as Western governments, particularly the UK, threatened that they might impose some sort of sanctions against a Kenyan government that would include the ICC suspects Kenyatta as well as his running mate, vice-president William Ruto. Continue reading “Kenyatta one year in office: mediocre at best”

Remembering the Rwandan Genocide: The Difficulty to Remember All Victims

The symbolic flame remembering the victims of the Rwandan genocide

20 years ago the 1994 Rwandan genocide started. In just 100 days some 800,000 to a million people were killed. The world stood by, the international community did literally nothing. The phrase “never again” coined after the Holocaust got an empty phrase. Although, very ironically, Rwanda was on the UN Security Council at the time, the killings were only stopped by the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) that invaded the country from Uganda and stopped the killings. Today, Rwanda and the world are remembering the 1994 genocide, although not all victims are commemorated. Continue reading “Remembering the Rwandan Genocide: The Difficulty to Remember All Victims”

Any hope left in the UK for pro-European minds?

Nigel Farage in the European Parliament. He is infamous for his speeches. (c) Flickr

The UK experienced a show-down on the EU during the past two weeks. Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Lib-Dems, debated against the Europhobic Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP). The UK is known for its anti-European sentiments and Eurobarometer polls show the UK consistently on the last places in any kind of enthusiasm for the EU, only sometimes topped now by countries that have to implement austerity measures. The two debates demonstrated another time why the UK is very much at the edge of EU. The only leader of an established political party who declares himself openly as pro-EU failed to demonstrate why the EU matters. Continue reading “Any hope left in the UK for pro-European minds?”