The Social Democratic Party (SDP) came out ahead in the general elections in Finland on 14th April. With 17.7% of the vote and 40 seats (+6 in comparison with the previous election on 19th April 2015), the SDP led by Antti Rinne was only just ahead of the True Finns (PS), a populist, nationalist, Eurosceptic party led by Jussi Halla-aho, which won 17.5% of the vote and 39 seats (+1). The Conservative Assembly (KOK) led by Petteri Orpo, follows them closely with 17% of the vote and 38 seats (+1).
The euro is a world currency. It is the official currency of 19 European States, and according to the June 2018 report by the European Central Bank (ECB) on the international role of the euro, it is by far, ahead of the pound, the yen and the renminbi, the world's second most important currency. The euro turned twenty on January 1st 2019. The strengthening of the single currency will be achieved via its increased use by the EU's economic and trade partners. Promoting the internationalisation of the euro would also strengthen the influence and security of Europe. In virtue of this it must be a diplomatic goal of the institutions and the Member States.
On 3rd April the Robert Schuman Foundation organised a conference on the theme of "The Protection of European Citizens in an Ultra-Connected World" in Luxembourg with the Max Planck Institute. We are continuing the publication of the report with the contributions made by two other participants. Silvio Mascagna, a member of the cabinet of Julian King, European Commissioner for Security explains how the Commission is developing the interoperability of databases in the fight to counter terrorism. Seyda Emek, advisor to the European coordinator for the fight to counter terrorism, Gilles de Kerchove, illustrates the need to retain data to facilitate investigations.
On 31st March the first round of presidential election in Ukraine, the first since the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the start of the war in the Donbass in 2014. The outgoing President Petro Poroshenko is competing against 38 candidates including opponent Yulia Timoshenko and comedian Vladimir Zelenskiy. The election promises to be a complex play off between economic and political stakeholders in which civil society is trying for forge a place for itself.
Off we go on the quest of the Europe that protects. Have the American economic sanctions against Iran had a so-called extraterritorial effect and are they challenging European sovereignty? Yes. Does Europe have to respond to this? Yes. And does it have the means to do this? Probably, and it has just taken the first step in this direction.