News in Europe

Your Weekly European Roundup

Once again, it’s time for the weekly European news roundup. It’s a little shorter this week and nowhere near as comprehensive as usual, so I would like to invite you all to share important stories that I missed in the comments.

Greece: Voting on the austerity package
It’s no secret that Greece is facing a massive economic crisis. An austerity package, along with massive loans by other EU countries, is supposed to keep the country afloat (which will hopefully also result in the entire Euro zone not collapsing financially). The Greek parliament is set to vote on the package, which is opposed by 70-80% of the Greek population soon, and protests against the package and the vote itself have turned violent. Read more

The Netherlands: Geert Wilders acquitted of hate speech charges
Dutch parliamentarian, leader (and only member) of the PVV (Freedom Party) was found not guilty of inciting hatred against Muslims last week. The court case was riddled with procedural difficulties and unwilling prosecutors, so the acquittal was not terribly surprising, yet still disappointing to many of Wilders’ opponents. The leading judge did note that Wilders’ comments were indeed offensive, but that they were also part of a larger debate within society, and that politicians should be able to freely speak their mind in such cases. Read more

(Un)Relatedly, Dutch parliament voted to ban ritual slaughter today, pointing towards the general Islamophobic attitude which has seeped into much of European politics. Read more

France: Big week for French women
Today Christine Lagarde was appointed as managing director of the IMF. This news is bittersweet, because though she is the first woman to hold this position, we also had to mention it in the European news roundup, meaning that once again a European will be in charge of an organisation which has many issues that could be caught under the header of economic colonialism. She is the eleventh European in a row to head the IMF. Read more

In other French news, the leader of the Socialist party and mayor of Lille, Martine Aubry has kicked off her campaign to become France’s first female president. Read more

UK: Strikes are looming
The UK, like all other European countries, is feeling the recession, and unions are not pleased with the budget cuts proposed by parliament. Public servants are scheduled to strike on Thursday, which could lead to unpleasant results for travellers. As a result of the strike, thousands of schools are set to close, too.

Germany: Aquariums and tax cuts
German aquariums are working hard to discover the next Paul, the octopus who correctly predicted the results of last year’s FIFA World Cup games. Read more

More seriously, German politicians are quibbling over tax cuts for the German middle class, though apparently such quibbling is not exactly a new development. Read more

Italy: Clash over Alpine tunnel
In Italy protesters and police have butted heads during a protest against a new high-speed rail tunnel which should cut travel time between Turin and Lyon in half. Italy has given the project the go-ahead despite environmental concerns. Read more


By Nanna Freeman

Anglo-America-loving Dutchie with a grad student twist and a mad dash of self-mockery.

Sometimes I also write things here:

5 replies on “Your Weekly European Roundup”

Pretty wild stuff coming out of Greece today. The business columnist on the radio here, who is usually pretty unbiased, did a lot of editorializing in her report today, sarcastically going after the Greek people for “refusing to work and throwing a tantrum over their perceived God-given right to retire at age fifty.” I don’t know enough about the whole deal to make any sort of comment, but the response is really interesting. The Greeks don’t seem to take anything they don’t like sitting down, that’s for sure.

I must admit, I had a hard time not editorializing too much myself. I, too, am not as up to speed as I should be in order to judge what’s going on, and I can understand that the austerity measures are MASSIVE changes which are a complete shock to the Greek system, but it really seems like there’s no other way. Also, the rest of the EU is pumping billions into Greece, and I have to admit it’s pretty vexing to see your own country’s funds (which are also suffering massively under terrible budget cuts) being given to people who can only complain about it.

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