On 5th March next 4.4 million Slovaks are being called to ballot to renew the 150 Members of the National Council of the Republic, the only chamber in Parliament. 23 parties, i.e. three less than in 2012 are running.
The international community met in London on 4th February in a bid to collate financing to help the displaced and Syrian refugees. On this occasion the Foundation offers its readers an interview with Jean-Pierre Filiu.
The euro is irreversible. There, with these few words, which are all at the same time - political, psychological, financial and economic - (and in that order), everything has been said! At last, there is an explanation to the problems and difficulties encountered at present in the management of the euro zone, in the strategic wager that led to its birth. And so how should we understand the wager of the euro zone and the difficulties in implementing it? How should we understand its importance, not only that of it as "a" monetary zone but also the "the" leading economic entity in the world? What is the next step?
Has Russia become a threat to European security? The answer has to be considered carefully, as the Europeans are about the revise their 2003 Security Strategy. The Ukrainian conflict is rather the expression of the paroxysmal exasperation of an increasingly fierce confrontation between Russia and the West. It highlights how the geopolitical tectonic plates have been at work since the redefinition of the borders at the end of the Cold War. A true process of confrontation has developed over a quarter of century, in which international power struggles have interacted with motivating forces in Russia, as well as in Western societies. Explaining the causal sequence is not justified the Russian policy, but helps us understand, and understanding is vital if we are to act and define a strategy. For convenience sake let us describe a series of ten disputes, starting with Chechnya ending with Russia's intervention in Syria.
Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, former leader of the Social Democratic Party (PSD) (1996-1999), supported by the PSD and the People's Party (PP) became President of the Portuguese Republic in the first round of the election that took place on 24th January with 52% of the vote. Antonio de Sampaio da Novoa, supported by LIVRE/Tempo de Avançar (Free/Time to move forward) (L/TDA) and the Communist Workers' Party (PCTP/MRPP), came second with 22.89% of the vote. Third place went to MEP Marisa Matias (Left Bloc, BE), who won 10.13% of the vote. She was followed by Maria de Belem, former leader of the Socialist Party (2011-2014), who was standing as an independent candidate; she won 4.24% of the vote. The other six candidates won under 4% of the vote.
Transport is more than just a question of mobility: it is a factor of competitiveness. Without transport, there is no trade, no movement of goods or people, no Single Market and even less the European Union. From the beginning the European project has endeavoured to create a "European area of transport". At present the revival of the European economy is dependent on a revised, renewed "European transport policy". Although the European Commission has announced the financing of over 250 projects for a total of 13.1 billion €, as part of the European Interconnection Mechanism (EIM) we might question the choice of investments in terms of environmentally friendly, competitive modes of transport.
Europe is facing a new strategic context calling for response, in which it appears totally powerless. Without promising uncertain stability, Europe must guarantee real security otherwise the very essence of the project to unify the continent will be brought into question. But the defence of Europe has not really moved forward; its failings have been highlighted. To guarantee the defence of its citizens Brussels must accept a temporary change of method in this area and for the Member States to be aware of the dangers surrounding us, so that we as Europeans can respond together with European solidarity and cooperation. If we succeed, European unification, its institutions, our States, will all benefit greatly.
In an editorial on his site, given the rising threats to security and defense, Jean-Dominique Giuliani, Chairman of the Foundation looks into the reasons behind the doubts about European integration..
The People's Party (PP) of outgoing Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy came out ahead in the parliamentary elections that took place on 20th December in Spain. With 28.72% of the vote, the party won 123 seats in the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of the Spanish Parliament, i.e. 63 less than in the previous parliamentary elections that took place on 20th November 2011. The PP also won 124 seats in the Senate (12 less). The PP was followed by the Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), led by Pedro Sanchez, which won 22.01% of the vote and 90 seats (20 less) and 47 Senators (1 less).
British Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to organise a referendum in 2017 on the issue of the UK's place in the EU: "Do you think that the UK should remain in the European Union or leave the European Union?" The question of the UK's status within the European Union is one of the issues at stake in the latter's development. The Robert Schuman Foundation offers its readers an information file on the main questions set by the referendum as well as the options open to the UK if it leaves the EU.
The repeated drownings in the Mediterranean have led to an emergency situation regarding the European migratory question. According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), more than 1,750 migrants perished in the Mediterranean between January and April 2015, ie more than 30 times the figure in the same period in 2014. Given these repeated catastrophes an extraordinary European Council was organised on 23rd April and ten new measures were put forward on 20th April by the European Commission including stepping up surveillance operations and rescue at sea. The Robert Schuman Foundation is offering its readers an information file on the theme of immigration, that brings together its publications on this issue in order to review the development of these events in Europe.