20 years later, the ghosts of Srebrenica are still alive

The mass killings of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys around Srebrenica carried out by Bosnian Serb troops in July 1995 is widely referred to as the single worst massacre in Europe after World War II. The cruel events happened in the very last months of the civil war in Bosnia (1992-1995) and involved the failure of Dutch UN peacekeeping troops and the international community at large to protect innocent civilians. On 11 July 2015, the 20 years commemoration of the genocide takes place, bringing many world leaders to the memorial in Potocari. In Serbia as well as in Bosnia and Herzegovina itself, however, the population is still split about what happened and how “Srebrenica” should be remembered. The ugly business of memory politics is still in the making. Continue reading “20 years later, the ghosts of Srebrenica are still alive”

Gloomy times ahead, but hope dies last: Greece’s way forward after the referendum

More than 60% of Greeks rejected an outdated and expired rescue package offered to Greece by its European partners. Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ strategy for an “all in” at the negotiation table worked, at least for now. His government can now claim that Greeks are tired of austerity and need growth. While all reasonable observes would agree that it is growth that Greece needs, the country is at the brink. However, also the Eurozone is facing its worst crisis since it started to exist in 1999. Continue reading “Gloomy times ahead, but hope dies last: Greece’s way forward after the referendum”

The evil is called TTIP: Emotional debates in Europe about free-trade agreement with the U.S.

In general, trade is considered to be boring. Besides economists and businessmen, hardly anyone follows the news on trade and business – it is too complex and burdensome to understand and debate it. However, when it comes to free trade agreements, people can get mobilized. So it happened on Saturday, when tens of thousands of Europeans were on the street to protest against the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a free trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU. Continue reading “The evil is called TTIP: Emotional debates in Europe about free-trade agreement with the U.S.”

Eurozone: Agreement with Greece first step to overcome austerity

Greece has experienced painful years. The crisis has basically turned around Greek society during the past seven years. With the early Greek elections on 25 January 2015, the “radical” left-wing party Syriza triumphed with 36.3% while the established parties had to face huge losses. Greeks have enough of austerity policies; they want to regain some hope – and particularly change. Continue reading “Eurozone: Agreement with Greece first step to overcome austerity”

Macedonia’s way to an illiberal democracy

Macedonia’s accession process to the European Union (EU) is ever more under threat. It is not only the name issue with Greece, but it is the internal development inside the country that is much more worrying. As the latest report of the European Commission at the end of October shows, Macedonia is not progressing but is taking a couple of steps backwards. Continue reading “Macedonia’s way to an illiberal democracy”

Albania rewarded with EU Candidate Status

Albania received the official candidate status of the EU. The country in the Western Balkans has a population of three million people, 17% unemployment and is known for its endemic organized crime but also its beautiful beaches. It is likely that the talks for Tirana will last for many years. It will depend on the speed of reform and the political will and consensus how long Albania’s road to membership will take. Continue reading “Albania rewarded with EU Candidate Status”

Lithuania approved as 19th member of the Euro

The Euro remains popular. Lithuania declared that it wants to join the Eurozone in January 2015 and the Commission confirmed that the small Baltic country fulfills all the criteria. At the Brussels summit on 27 June 2014, the EU Council not only voted in favor of Jean-Claude Juncker as the next president of the EU Commission, and signed partnership agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, but importantly as well included a statement that Lithuania will become the 19th member of the Euro. I remember vividly that many of my friends in 2010 in the U.S. told me that the Euro would fall apart. Now, the Euro is back on his feet and enjoys popularity among member states. Continue reading “Lithuania approved as 19th member of the Euro”

The Formation of Three Right-Wing Alliances in the European Parliament

The EU-skeptical, ultra right-wing and right-wing populist parties in the European Parliament try to get themselves organized. Most likely there will be three EU-skeptical party families and one of them might be the third biggest faction. The project for a far-right party led by Marine Le Pen’s Front National will come into existence and also the future of Nigel Farage’s EFD seems to be now secured. All of these EU-skeptic parties have different aims, from leaving the Euro to abandoning the union. All three parties are not characterized by strength but rather weakness looking at their party programs. Continue reading “The Formation of Three Right-Wing Alliances in the European Parliament”

#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”

“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””