The Euro –the common currency of 19 EU member states- has been the main pillar to a deeper integration in terms of easier transactions, easier trade and more effective development and growth throughout the Eurozone. However since the crisis of 2008 Eurozone has been stacked. Even though in January 2017 there were some encouraging indicators for the Eurozone as a whole; the unemployment has fallen below 10% for the first time since 2009 and the inflation has reached 1.8%. This average does not represent the whole reality. Unfortunately, as it always did.
The common currency is the last step of the Economic & Monetary Union (EMU) which was established in 1999 following the Amsterdam Treaty establishes the completion of the EMU as a formal objective and sets a number of economic convergence criteria, concerning the inflation rate, public finances, interest rates and exchange rate stability. Members of the EMU are both the Eurozone countries and the non-Euro EU countries.
Initially the Euro has been created in order to boost economic integration and partnership between the Euro user countries, to strengthen the Eurozone economies against the pressure of the global money markets and boost growth and development of each economy of its members. And those first steps have been the causes that drove the Eurozone into a spiral of deflation and zero growth. Eurozone has been aiming at integration and partnership. However there was never an effective centralized planning or even a centralized economic governing. Eurogroup as a non official body of the Union has failed in many ways to unite the member the states and make them truly converge. Unfortunately Eurogroup has showed up to take up responsibilities when the crisis had already expanded enough to be irreversible. Even now Eurogroup is not a forum to help the Eurozone to overcome the crisis a whole but is a bargain place where the leverage of the national interests triggers self distractive approaches of the problem.
The rescue programmes that have been established are ad-hoc, different for each country but in the same time not tailored for each case and not centralized coordinated. There is no Eurozone-wide rescue programme and this is the greatest weakness of the Euro. It is a weakness towards the global markets. In a potential currency war Euro the ECB is not likely to react that fast due to collision of interests of the Eurozone members.
In the first years of the common currency use between 2001 and 2007 the countries have taken advantage of the pro-cyclical character of the Euro. This pro-cyclical character had helped the Eurozone countries to improve their economic indicators and their economies to grow. The ECB has been strict with the deflation percentage of 2% to be kept as a common economic policy by the states but in the same time the ECB had not had the same strict and meticulous attitude towards the states whose percentage of debt in comparison with the GDP was above 60%. This has been almost fatal.
However the Eurozone and the members states have taken this situation for granted and did not focus on long-term measures and policies that would have prevent the situation we are experiencing today. When the money cycle has been interrupted by the global financial crisis in 2008 Eurozone and the EU have not been ready to face the crisis that occurred. After 2008 the pro-cyclical character of the Euro has been reversed from boosting the economies to sinking them deeper than they would be if there was no Euro. The pro-cyclical character extends the cycle of an economy further than it would be either upwards either downwards. No establishment of long-term measures and investments but also lack of deeper cooperation has led us here.
But nothing seems to be getting towards the solution but Eurozone is going the exact opposite direction. Populist politicians throughout Europe are unable to discuss any realistic plan for Eurozone to overcome this standstill. And it is not just about a currency. It's about the last stage of the economic integration of the whole European Union. And it's being questioned. By the angry people and the unskilled politicians. And the people get more and more angry because of the unskilled politicians. And the unskilled politicians are trying to use populism as a painkiller to the damage they caused initially. Greece, Italy, France, Finland are only some of the countries where not only the Eurozone but the European idea as a whole is collapsing piece by piece.
The Brexit fear that came true
There was a huge international and global shock of what happened about 7 months ago, when we got the results from the referendum in Britain. No one could possible believed that a nation voted to leave the European Union in such a rush way and many didn’t actually realized the huge costs and impacts of this action.
Huge crowds of people realizing only after, the ‘’disaster’’, wanted to change the results, but this never happened. Instead a huge political and economy crisis spread out quickly and a very crucial question raised among it. ‘’Can Europe Survive??’’
Of course this question depends on many more facts than this but shortly after the referendum, the German parliament published an analysis on the impact of a potential Brexit on the EU and specifically on the economic and political situation of Germany. According to this, Britain is, after the United States and France, the third most important export market for German products. In total Germany exports goods and services to Britain worth about €120 billion annually, which is about 8% of German exports, with Germany achieving a trade surplus with Britain worth €36.3 billion (2014). Should a "hard Brexit" come to pass, the German exports would be subject to WTO customs and tariffs, which would particularly affect German car exports, where duties of about 10% would have to be paid to Britain. In total, 750,000 jobs in Germany depend upon export to Britain, while on the British side about three million jobs depend on export to the EU. The study emphasises however that the predictions on the economic effects of a Brexit are subject to significant uncertainty.
Even though that for now only Brexit official happening after the vote on the Britain parliament to trigger the article 50 there are some even worse case scenarios that follows the news. What news? Grexit and Italexit but let’s have a closer look of them.
The ‘’Exit’’ that hunts Greece for five years
Grexit was introduced as a term back in 2012 when a potential exit from Eurozone and European union was very likely to happen but after all these years it still pop-ups many times mostly as a term of fear in order Greece to get every time more and more painful economical and recessional masseurs in order to pay back the money to the creditors.
Of course, the measures suggestions of the IMF in accordance with the European commission brought up even more problems to this situation.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) admitted that its forecast about Greek economy was too optimistic: in 2010 it described Greece's first bailout programme as a holding operation that gave the Eurozone time to build a firewall to protect other vulnerable members, but in 2012 the unemployment rate of Greece became about 25 percent, compared to IMF's projection of about 15 percent. IMF conceded that it underestimated the damage that austerity programs would do to the Greek economy, adding that, in terms of Greece's debt, IMF should have considered a debt restructuring earlier.
After all this years of unstoppable actions of turning the economy over, nothing seems to be changing, actually the things in Greece are getting worse. Is only matter of time the ticking economy bomb to blow off and bring down all the unpleasant consciences.
The new ‘’wannabe’’ Brexit
As European union facing many problems one more is going to be added in the latest list. The full aspects of an italexit begun to spread up far-end political parties have latched on to the idea of leaving the European Union. The sentiment for leaving is often related to a loss of sovereignty when in the EU, high financial contributions to the Union, as well as specific issues that can vary by country, for example immigration and healthcare. While the majority of academics and mainstream politics tend to argue for the Union to stay intact, the Brexit vote has inspired far-end parties to intensify their efforts to split from the EU.
At the forefront of Italexit is the Five Star Movement, which was established in 2009. The Five Star Movement is the second most popular party in Italy, behind the Democratic Party, which is led by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The Five Star movement was already gaining steam prior to Brexit, as the party experienced success in local elections, electing Virginia Raggi and Chiara Appendino as mayors of Rome and Turin, respectively. While the turnout was relatively low, the vote serves as an indication of the state of Italian politics. The forward motion of the Five Star Movement will likely hinge on the success of Brexit in the United Kingdom.
The European and Global consequences
The immediate consequences of the Brexit vote were not favorable to either the UK or the EU.
Global stock markets plunged. The UK's credit rating was quickly downgraded by the three major credit agencies: Standard and Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch, and the British pound hit its lowest exchange rate since 1985.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who opposed Brexit, announced that he plans to step down from office in mid-July of 2016, and will be succeeded by Theresa May. A trade agreement between the UK and the EU will not be negotiated until the UK files Article 50 to separate from the EU, until then markets are left in uncertainty.
The very same will going to happen in a potential Grexit and Italexit or generally any ‘’exit’’ of another state member of European Union.
The last act
Last thoughts, Europe seems to break down, the unaffordable economy measures that the creditors put in action in order to get the money back is putting to struggle the real economy. Also the unpreparedness of the immigration status seems to add more problems to the agenda. Considering all the above the European union is at a very crucial time which will indicate its future existence or its termination.
 Andreas Koenig (27 June 2016). "Ökonomische Aspekte eines EU-Austritts des Vereinigten Königreichs (Brexit)" (PDF) (in German). Deutscher Bundestag.
 IMF admits mistakes on Greece bailout BBC News, Business,
EU officials are extremely worried
Over 300.000 people took the streets all over the country, as one of the beneficiary of the already famous government's decrees would be the President of the Socialist Party (PSD) of Romania himself - Liviu Dragnea. Protesters accuse PSD of creating a law especially designed to save their president, which is currently prosecuted for corruption, from going to prison.
The US embassy in Bucharest, the EU Commission and many EU officials have blamed this action and pointed out that it's a huge step backwards for the democracy and rulse of law in Romania. Even more, the European Commission vice-president, Frans Timmermans, urged the government to “urgently reconsider”, saying that Romania’s EU funding could be at risk.
In a separate statement, the US, Germany, Canada, Finland, the Netherlands and France said the government had undermined “progress on rule of law and the fight against corruption over the past 10 years”.
The government in Bucharest is trying to soften the anti-corruption legislation
The European Commission is worried by the latest actions of the socialist Government in Bucharest, which weakened the anti-corruption legislation through emergency decrees yesterday evening.
Junker: "The fight against corruption needs to be advanced, not undone. We are following the latest developments in Romania with great concern.
The Commission warns against backtracking and will look thoroughly at the emergency ordinance on the Criminal Code and the Law on Pardons in this light."
Milan Kundera, the notorious author had once stated that: “Dogs do not have many advantages over people, but one of them is extremely important: euthanasia is not forbidden by law in their case; animals have the right to a merciful death.”
Euthanasia, from the Greek word meaning “good death”, is the practice of assisted suicide with the intention of relieving pain and suffering. Euthanasia is also known as mercy killing or physician assisted suicide. Like all things that deal with life and death, it has been a controversial subject of debate due to its seeming infringement of a person’s fundamental right to live. As a law, voluntary euthanasia is accepted in some countries, including some states in the United States and provinces in Canada. Euthanasia is also one of the most actively researched and debated subjects in modern bioethics. Surveys taken in the United States indicate that an estimated 46% of physicians agree that voluntary euthanasia should be allowed for certain situations, with 41% disagreeing altogether and 14% believe it to be circumstantial.
From a twenty first century, the individual will have to personally agree with the ethical argument that states that everyone should be able to choose when and how they want to die, and that they should be able to do so with dignity.
Moreover, as the link itself says it can be argued that it does have to do with the quality of life as well. What is life? The main reason for humanities existence is fundamentally to reproduce. It might be cruel but after a while humanity cannot do that. Thus one cannot see any reason as to why a painless death, chosen, by the individual is even fundamental to argue. The argument that : "A physician shall always bear in mind the obligation to respect human life". is filled with flaw in its totality. Doctors, by nature tend to be more care towards people, and subsequently would not kill at will but would opt to kill if it was necessary.
Euthanasia can successfully lead to the following pros:
1. Can quickly and humanely end a patient’s suffering, allowing them to die with dignity.
2.Can help to shorten the grief and suffering of the patient’s loved ones.
3.Everyone has the right to decide how they should die.
4.Death is a private matter, and if you are not hurting anyone else, the state should not interfere.
5.Most people would have their pets put down if they were suffering – this would be regarded as kindness. Why can’t the same kindness be given to humans?
6.Illness can take away autonomy (the ability to make choices) and dignity, leaving you with no quality of life; euthanasia allows you to take back control in deciding to die.
7.Keeping people alive costs a lot of money, which could be used to save other people's lives
Self-determination is one of the key elements that make us human. It is the ability to determine our destiny as individuals and is facilitated by our ability to think for ourselves. Imagine a life where an illness has left you incapable of conducting the basics of life; you are unable to breathe, move or even think for yourself. You have effectively removed your ability to self-determine, arguably a significant element in being “human”. Our sense of “self” is created as we progress through life. We grow our personalities as human beings by our choices and experiences. This sense of self is the foundation of our human dignity.
Now, go back to the example of the person who can no longer breathe, move or even think for himself, and add the element of extreme and constant pain to the point where they prefer death to living this way. Over time, because of this experience, the person will eventually lose sight of their “self”, when they could move around, form opinions and self determine. This will all be a distant memory, and the most real thing to them will be the constant state of pain they are in. They won’t even be able to cry out in pain despite the pain. Seem far-fetched? Consider Tony Nicklinson, whose bid for euthanasia was rejected multiple times. Tony Nicklinson was diagnosed with a disease that prevented him from moving any and all muscles in his body.
At the end of the line it all comes down to a number of small factors, do we have the right to compare experiences day by day, having experienced none of them, and say that they don’t deserve to die with dignity, the way they want to die? The answer is of course, no, we have no right to deny people the dignified death that we ourselves naturally desire. To do so would be selfish and we would effectively be imposing our own desires on that person, thereby restricting their freedom to self-determine even if it is in the most basic sense.
The Legal argument states, which proclaims some fundamental human rights:, and in reference to Article 2 in specific the first substantive right proclaimed by the ECHR is the right to life, set out in Article 2 and reproduce. The right to life is listed first because it is the most basic human right of all: if one could be arbitrarily deprived of one’s right to life, all other rights would become illusory. The fundamental nature of the right is also clear from the fact that it is “non-derogable”: it may not be denied even in “time of war or other public emergency threatening the life of the nation” – although, as discussed later, “deaths resulting from lawful acts of war” do not constitute violations of the right to life (Article 15 (2).
Article 2 protects “everyone’s” right to “life”. “Life” here means human life: neither the right to life of animals, nor the right to existence of “legal persons” is covered by the concept. Animals are not “persons” and hence not included in the concept of “everyone” and are therefore not protected by the Convention at all. The main argument, in principle of the abovementioned Article, in principle is simple the right to life, upholds that one can easily have the right to decide when and if they would like to die. This was also upheld by most judgements on de facto case law.
Case law, such as Pretty v. the United Kingdom 29 April 2002 (Chamber judgment), summary of the case:
The applicant was dying of motor neurone disease, a degenerative disease affecting the muscles for which there is no cure. Given that the final stages of the disease are distressing and undignified, she wished to be able to control how and when she died. Because of her disease, the applicant could not commit suicide alone and wanted her husband to help her. But, although it was not a crime in English law to commit suicide, assisting a suicide was. As the authorities refused her request, the applicant complained that her husband had not been guaranteed freedom from prosecution if he helped her die.
The Court held that there had been no violation of Article 2 (right to life) of the Convention, finding that the right to life could not, without a distortion of language, be interpreted as conferring the diametrically opposite right, namely a right to die. The Court also held that there had been no violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the Convention. Even if it could not but be sympathetic to the applicant’s apprehension that without the possibility of ending her life she faced the prospect of a distressing death, nonetheless, the positive obligation on the part of the State which had been invoked would require that the State sanction actions intended to terminate life, an obligation that could not be derived from Article 3.
All in all, Euthanasia, at the end of the line should be a choice, an individual choice. If people would like to end their lives to prolong the inevitable they should be able to do so. Physician assisted euthanasia, legally gives a competent person the right to end his or her life with the help and guidance of a medical practitioner by way of prescribing lethal doses of drugs. The time or date of the commission of the act, however, is the sole discretion of the patient. It is not to be mistaken for euthanasia or what is commonly known as mercy killing wherein a physician will be the one to administer lethal medication.
The past few years we have seen the resurrection of the same feelings, mentalities and behaviours of the Cold War. Back in the Cold War, possibly the Soviet Union was an actual threat to the Europe, the United States and the free market democracies across the world. However, can we actually say that modern-day Russia is a threat to Europe? European and American leadership under the Obama administration have been claiming that Russia is aggressive and an actual serious threat to the region, considering what happened to Ukraine. The question though is, was Russia the aggressor or got provoked to take action in Ukraine by annexing Crimea? Once again, the European and American leadership (Obama administration) will claim that Russia was the aggressor. Nevertheless, there are counterarguments, opinions, sources that claim otherwise. That Russia is probably not the actual threat of Europe as it is portrayed.
The NATOmilitary built up in Europe across the Russian border is explained by the European and American leadership (Obama Administration) as a counter response to Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. However was it Russia’s aggression or did Russia get provoked? It has been portrayed that it is only the fault of the Russian “dictator” Vladimir Putin. However, it could be argued that provocative ideas, plans, proposals of Ukraine becoming a member of the European Union and NATO would eventually trigger Russia and as it was expected Russia and the ethnic Russians of Eastern Ukraine would react as they actually did. As it was the wish of the vast majority of Crimeans, 82% of them Russian speakers to rejoin with Russia of which they were part for most of the two centuries. For geostrategic reasons Russia could have never allowed the EU and NATO to take over Ukraine and to see its Crimean warm water ports taken over by NATO. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has been gradually surrounded, seeing its former territories and satellites being absorbed by the EU and NATO. During Russia’s recovery phase after the collapse of the Soviet Union, was unable to react to the EU and NATO constant enlargement around their border. Seeing Ukraine, a very important geostrategic country also falling to the hands of the EU and NATO would have been utter disaster for Russia.
The United States pushed NATO to build up troops in Europe, across Russia’s border, held war games in its backyard and deployed aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean Sea. Those actions are suppose to be a message to Russia of what the United States is capable of, and it could be argued that it is an aggressive behavior from NATO and the United States towards Russia rather than it being vice-versa. The NATO European command General Philip Breedlove explains the rationale behind such actions as, “it has all been to send a signal of deterrence to Russia”. Has Russia actually taken any aggressive action to explain NATO’S aggressive policy? It has been over two years since Russia annexed Crimea, since then Russia has not caused any turmoil and it has been relatively quiet in the area. According to the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, “there is no intelligence that suggests Russia is planning any broad-scale aggression whatsoever”.
If the claim of NATO-General Petr Pavel is correct, then what have the US and NATO trying to do by perusing such aggressive policies towards Russia? The answer could be worrying for Europe and the United States, that NATO with the guidance of the United States had been trying to provoke Russia into a war in Europe on purpose, which is always a possibility, or another possibility is that the Saudi's are pressuring the United States to get rid of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. If the United States accommodates that request from its good friend Saudi Arabia, then a direct conflict with Russia would be imminent, as Russia has made it very clear that the US isn't to take Assad out militarily.If the US knows it is going to go ahead and topple Assad at the behest of the Saudi's, then it would make sense to have an already established force surrounding Russia's border to deter any immediate action.
Despite what the portrayal of Russia as the major threat, most Europeans see Russia as a “minor” threat compared to the Islamic State, the refugee crisis, a survey suggest.About seven out of 10 people in the EU named IS, which carried out attacks in Paris and Brussels, as a “major” menace ina new study by US think tank Pew. More than half of Europeans consider the climate change, economic uncertainty and cyber-attacks were “dire” threats. A little less than half also named the number of refugees coming from Iraq and Syria as a “major” challenge. But just one in three EU nationals put “tensions with Russia” in the same category.
What should be understood is that it is in the best interest of the EU countries, non-EU countries and Europe as a continent that relations with Russia are kept good and strong. Europe is facing a very dangerous threat of Islamic Terrorism, Russia is also facing this common threat, so it does not benefit either side for relations to be strained, but it benefits Europe and Russia to work together to tackle this very serious threat of Islamic Terrorism. The same should be mentioned for the United States which has seen a very radical change and aggressive behavior towards Russia under the Obama administration, and it is in the very best interest for the United States to change its policy of working together with Russia to defeat the common threat as which is Islamic Terrorism. This is an issue that affects Europe, Russia, the United States and we cannot afford divisions among great powers and influential global countries and what is needed is cooperation to defeat Islamic Terrorism and restore peace and stability in the Middle East as well as in the European continent which has also seen dangerous instability in Ukraine and the wider region.
Globalization has fractured political leaders and civil society into two fractions, or has it? The reality is more complex and democratic clarity may lead a way out of the tensions of globalization.
In the aftermath of the US presidential election there is increased discussion surrounding a new political confrontation between globalists and nationalists.
The argument owes its origin to Jonathan Haidt—a social psychologist who is more popular among conservative actors. In his argument Haidt provides a reflective and meaningful analysis of “sacred values” by comparing liberals and conservatives within the American context. However, while many see merit in his views, understanding the politics of globalization and nationalism is complex and to generalize globalists and nationalists on a ideological binary is both narrow and irresponsible. In reality, attitudes for and against globalization and nationalism appear across party lines based on specific policy issues and national identity.
There are several reasons to question this narrative. One such issue is its limited geographic scope. The view that a political battle is occurring globally is challenged by the notion that the narrative itself is limited to the experiences of North America and Europe. This narrative is thereby “Western” as does not consider the impact of growth in large parts of Africa, Asia, or South America. One explanation is that both the USA and the EU are more exposed to the processes of globalization and regional integration. In times of different crises, aspects such as identity, culture and migration are being regarded by larger numbers of people as more important than socioeconomic or environmental issues.
Struggle for the right path
During the early period of modern globalization in the 1990’s most arguments relating to the phenomenon centered on the political struggle between the pro-globalization and anti-globalization actors. However, those who were often labeled as anti-globalists were in many cases not against globalization but rather had alternative views on how globalization should be achieved. This can be observed today in the changed political spectrum, thus making it harder to divide them into two ideological camps as Haidt suggests. For example, in Europe the socialists are often in favor of the sociopolitical integration aspects of globalization while being against liberalist economic globalization. Liberla conservative polticians, on the other hand, are often in favour of the more economic globalization but against sociopolitical integration. The divide between globalist and anti-globalist is therefore neither left nor right. Instead, the differences are policy-specific.
In addition to not being directly correlated to the two major political ideological groups, the degree of support for globalization also appears to not be linked to whether one is libertarian or authoritarian. Even authoritarian, nationalist politicians who claim to oppose globalism—such as Putin, Erdogan and Trump—and their parties are to a great degree still interested in the economic globalist initiatives. For example, many Russian nationalists are in favor of the Eurasian Economic Union and a free economic zone from “Vancouver to Vladivostok”.
At the same time, however, while being partly in favor of economic integration, authoritarian politicians aspire for greater control over identities and view other aspects of globalization, such as the expansion of human rights, liberal democracy and multiculturalism, as a threat to their own monopolistic views on national identity based on nativism and myths. Therefore, they are both in favor of globalist policies while also supporting nationalist policies, voiding the divide globalism and nationalism.
If both ends of the political spectrum favour aspects of globalization, then why is there a sudden rise of dissatisfaction for products of globalization in the EU and the United States? This can be traced to the fact that both societies are post-democratic in the sense that economy is more global while democracy and sovereignty is primarily national. In the West there is a popular view among parts of populations that globalization is a zero-sum game. They see the loss of individual influence as equal to being weak—thus, they believe things were better before the adoption of globalist policies, which shifted individual control out of state control.
As a result, there is a widespread call to reform supranational, liberal institutions across political ideology. Such views, however, disregard the fact that American-inspired globalization during the 90’s and European supranationalism had numerous positive outcomes, including a rapid growth of living standards both at home and around the world. Additionally, the EU is often presented as a paradox—a democracy without a demos and governance without a government, but still legitimized by a majority of citizens.
National governments remain the primary point of reference for the public
Despite more than twenty years of benefits from global and regional integration, the national state is still regarded as the main institution people are turning towards in the time of crisis, even if the challenges of the crises are of a supranational, regional or global character. In political communication, national states are often described as independent, free and sovereign. In reality this is more complicated since the modern states, such as the EU-member-states, are more depending on each other by sharing freedoms and sovereignty for different purposes. The absolute majority of these states today are members of the organizations described as international, regional or supranational.
It is increasingly common for contemporary arguments to suggest that supranational projects like EU require reform—however, it is uncommon to argue that the states themselves require reform. After all, both EU and UN are results of the social contracts between the states and interests of national governments. Sociologist Ulrich Beck has argued that the states, even the nation-states, should become cosmopolitan in the future. Becks argument is that nations can still exist and that the identification of an individual with a nation is personal, just as a religious identity. The state needs to function in favor of all its residents and connect people through central aspects such as rule of law, human rights and democracy.
Democractic clarity as a solution?
In order to handle mounting regional and global challenges, states will need to cooperate, integrate and develop common institutions—however, in many cases, as a result of the crisis, there is a clear lack of popular or political will to further share sovereignty and resources or to create new institutions. A viable way to reduce widespread political dissatisfaction and regain popular trust in supranational governance is to make the process more democratic and increase awareness. A higher degree of knowledge and understanding about supranational institutions is necessary in order to connect with citizens and to motivate eventual reforms in the coming decade.
An event about Migration and the EU
Last Wednesday 14/12 the event "experiences of media literacy, the refugee issue and the role of online journalism" took place within the project "My Story-Media and Migrants", a transnational project with the participation of Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Hungary and Slovenia, funded by the European Commission.
The project aims to provide experiences of media literacy on how to present the immigration crisis in the media and how it is perceived by EU citizens. As part of this, InterMediaKT organized in Patras a workshop including the representatives of online, press and television journalism organizations-helpers of refugees, immigrants, local and international NGOs dealing with refugee and migration issues.
International Organization for Migration (IOM Greece), Greek Open University-PRESS Works, Hellenic Red Cross (Appendix Patras.), Praksis, municipality of Andravida-Kyllini, Ionian Channel, Solomon, JAJ: Journalists for journalism, OneEurope , OneEurope Greece & Cyprus, Initiative Media Literacy, UP FM - University of Patras Radio
In the first part the participants expressed their views on the current situation and how it presents the refugees and immigrants with an emphasis on possible hate speech seen in some online media and social media while in the second part there was an exchange of views on good practices and recommendations for the proper application of the experiences of media literacy.
The conclusions were moved around the pillars of education, collaboration, empowerment and inclusion. We emphasized in the role of education, the address of interactively citizens and immigrants, highlighting the role and the contribution of volunteering and the achievements of the volunteers. In relation to immigrants and refugees mainly learning the Greek language in order to facilitate their integration.
For a healthy integration requires clear and precise mapping of refugee / migration histories using valid data, including the correct use of terminology and the separation of the terms immigrant-refugee. Especially in relation to the experiences of media literacy, has highlighted the role of journalistic ethics and morality.
Finally, the flow of the debate highlighted the pressing need for open dialogue and substantial cooperation between all stakeholders, the media, civil society, NGOs and international organizations, a partnership which was also one of the major objectives of both the conference as and the project overall.
As for the representatives of the One Europe Greece and Cyprus Athanasios Vasilopoulos and Kalliopi Didaskalou they said:
''I think this event has managed, through examples and stories of all the people concerned, to highlight the problems and give the correct guidelines to a better management and view of the events from Media'' Athanassios Vassilopoulos
The event was a good start to discuss about the migration. The success is mainly focused on proper selection of the speakers, who fully covered the subject and the large participation of people.
"Life Lessons" gave speakers with experience of migration , who touched us with their feeling and truth. A big thank to “One Europe Greece and Cyprus” for the opportunity to participate in the event and congratulations to those who organized this day.
It was a flawless event! Kalliopi Didaskalou
The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) also known as Macedonia, held early parliamentary elections, after months of a political and institutional crisis that started in 2014. It was the 8th time that Republic of Macedonia held parliamentary elections after the disintegration of Yugoslavia. 1,784,416 Macedonians were eligible to vote, over 20,000 were registered to vote abroad.
Macedonian crisis and Pržino Agreement
The crisis started at the end of 2014 with students (Студентски Пленум) protesting against an educational reform that the Macedonian government wanted to implement. The government defended that this reform would bring a better educational system to Macedonia, but the students and professors understood that the external exams would be a government interference in the autonomy of universities. The students achieved their goal and the government withdrew its proposal after weeks of demonstrations.
However new protests started in 2015, when theopposition leaderand mayor of Strumica Zoran Zaev, from the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM), started to release wiretaps (бомба) thatrevealed diverse corruption scenes from the nine-year government lead by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation - Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity (VMRO-DPMNE). The Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and other ministers were involved in the scandal. The SDSM boycotted the Macedonian Parliament during months and big demonstrations, pro and anti government, where held in many cities of Macedonia specially after the Kumanovo attack.
The European Union had to mediate meetings between the main political parties,and they achieved an agreement in the 2015 summer. The Pržino Agreement defined that the main opposition party would be part of acaretaker government, the Macedonia Prime MinisterNikola Gruevski had to resign before end of January 2016 and that a special and independent prosecutor would be nominated to investigate the cases linked to the wiretaps. It was complicated to keep the agreement, the prosecutor team was not elected in the first row. With the new prosecutor team elected and the deal about the transitional government, Nikola Gruevski resigned as Prime Minister in the beginning of 2016, which lead to early general election in June.
In April of 2006 new protesters began in Macedonia, this time Macedonian people were in the streets against the President of the Macedonian Republic Gjorge Ivanov and the interim Prime Minister Emil Dimitriev. The reason for this protest, that was called Colourful Revolution (Шарената револуција), was because of the controversial decision of the President in stopping the investigation about thewiretapping scandal. Macedonians did not want this, so together with opposition political parties claimed that there were no conditions to conduct early elections in June in a free and transparent way. More big demonstrations anti and pro demonstrations were held around Macedonian cities.
There was a boycott from the elections list, the VMRO-DPMNE was the only one to delivery its electoral lists for the June elections, this made it impossible to held elections in June, the early elections were postpone. EU and US ambassadors played another important role during the Colourful Revolution in mediating talks between the two main political parties in Macedonia but no real progress was made, making that international community fear an "Ukrainization of Macedonia”.
The new early elections were finally held on the 11th of December. The electoral night was a bit confused becauseboth SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE claimed victory during the night and their supporters went to the streets to celebrate. SDSM won more fifteen seats, mainly because of the Albanian support, but this was not enough to win. The majority of the 120 available seats in the Assembly of the Republic of Macedonia were won by the VMRO-DPMNE, but they lost ten seats compared to the last elections.
VMRO-DPMNE was not able to guarantee an absolute majority with 63 seats asNikola Gruevskiwanted to “allow for political stabilityand steadyprogress in Macedonia to kick in”. The VMRO-DPMNE leader will have to find a political partner to help him to form a stable government, as stated by the President of the Citizens Option for Macedonia (GROM) on the election day when he casted his vote and said that "the loser of these elections should accept the outcome with grace and dignity and congratulate the winner, and he (the winner) should not settle scores but immediately start working. So we may focus on solving the citizen's everyday problems and make up for two lost years from the political crisis”.
This is not so easy in a divided Macedonia which stood still for a long time, prejudicing its own development and the improve of its populationlife conditions, now is the time for the political parties work together for the welfare of Macedonians. The two main political parties have totaly different perspectives for the future of their country. Zoran Zaev promised official bilingualism, constitutional changes and the redefinition of the Macedonian State, in an attempt to win some votes from the over 25% ethnic Albanians in Macedonia. Nikola Gruevski criticised Zaev's plans, saying that he will be “changing the country completely by instating Albanian as a second official language, implies a Swiss model encompassing cantons, an eventual name change and other issues” and the former Prime Minister is seen with suspicion by the Albanian community.
The Albanian parties will have an important role in the formation of the next Macedonian government, they have lost seven seats in the Parliament but they still hold 20 seats that will make all the difference for a stable government.The Democratic Union for Integration (DUI) was the winner between the Albanian parties with ten seats, however they had the biggest lose of seats with almost half of the seats lost. the new political party BESA won five seats, while the DPA-Movement for Reforms won three seats and the Democratic Party of Albanians won just two.
DUI was part of the coalition with VMRO-DPMNE, and this might be the main reason for their loss in the last elections. Both together will have 61 seats the necessary number to form a government, but it is not predictable that they will be again partners in the new government. Albanians are already saying on social networks that Albanian parties should not support VMRO-DPMNE, they were summoned by the Albanian PM in Tirana for talks right after the elections in Macedonia. In this situation if SDSM is able to unite all the Albanian parties to sustain a government with Zoran Zaev as Prime Minister, Macedonia might have a government as Portugal. Last elections in Portugal were won by the right wing collation but they were not able to sustain the government, this made that the socialists were called by the Portuguese President to form a minority government, with the support of the Left Block, Communists and Greens.
The new structure of the Parliament must start working before the end of December, but the deadline to form the new Macedonian government is 16th of February. There still time for all parties to discuss future coalitions, but with this results will not be easy to find consensus between Macedonian politicians, which can lead to another political crisis and new early elections.
Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, during an emergency meeting in Syria because of the Aleppo situation at the UN Security Council, said this: “three members States of the UN contributing to a noose around civilians. It should shame you. Instead, by all appearances it is emboldening you. You are plotting your next assault. Are you truly incapable of shame? Is there literally nothing that can shame you. Is there no act of barbarism against civilians, no execution of a child, that gets under your skin that just creeps you out a little bit? Is there nothing that you will not lie about or justify?”.
She was addressing specifically to Russia, Iran and Syria, three of the countries that are fighting the rebels in the Syrian city of Aleppo. But why just Russian, Iran and Syrian are to be ashamed? Why not the US too?Turkey and other Arab States? or even European Union member States? US should be ashamed too, or they already forgot what happened in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya? Was it not Russia or Iran, even less Syria that destroyed those countries. And what do we have now? Three countries were destroyed, without infrastructure and with radical Islam growing everywhere, spreading terror around the world. They might have weakened Al-Qaeda but they started Daesh, which they were suppose to be fighting in Syria and Iraq, but it looks that they are more worried about Assad than to stop the Daesh savagery. Of course US are not alone, they have their NATO and Arab allies to backup their actions, and the Assad regime is not any paradise, but the Syrian conflict is more than a simple civil war, its a World War located in just a tiny region of the World.
We all play an important role in this globalised world. We all think about the atrocities that are happening in Syria but do we really care? Lighting monuments with the flag colours of the country affected by the terrorist attack this means nothing. We take a photo next to it, we shared it in the social networking and put the hashtag “pray for”. That it is all we do, until it happens again and again, and we will be doing the same process. Sharing hashtags asking for prayers when something so wrong is happening is not helping that much, instead it shows that we do not care at all. This might sensitise and create awareness, but what else? You probably already forgot Alan Kurdi.
We still see terror attacks happening almost everyday, conflicts going on, people leaving their countries and Human Rights being violated. Let me remind you theParis attacks, all the world was in shock, even me, but why do we care so much about Paris and care less about Beirut that had a terrorist attack the day before, or the recent attacks in Istanbul and Cairo? Do we really care about what is happening to the world or are we too selfish to even pay attention to it? Does other lives do not mean nothing to us? Until when can we live like this? Do we gave to wait until something happens to us to take action?
Wake up world! We are living this because we started this and still we are letting it going. This is not a battle about people, this is a battle about leaders and governments who just care about their money and its influence in the World, and this war makes so much money. If we see peace in Syria be ready for another conflict because the Kurds with American guns wont let peace stay for long, they will fight for their independence. Today the US and other allies are helping the Kurds, but they will be there when they call for an independent Kurdistan? No do not think so, this is a war that I do not want to see.
The Arab culture was so influent centuries ago, but now their politicians just want to bit the neck of their leaders, in order to bit them and impose their ideology, that probably is even worse. Unfortunately with this attitude, and external influence not helping to calm down this feelings, I do not see peace in Middle East for the next decades, maybe centuries. MENA countries need to seat and have a serious conversation without their ideologies on the table, between their differences there must be something that they want to fight for. They share a common ground, language, culture, history and even religion, there must be something that they can agree on for their better future. It is up to them, leaders and people, to find the solution for their own problems, not a Security Council that is tied in its own interests.
At the same time that MENA region is passing through a dark age, the Western World, the so called developed civilisation, a former example of democracy and development for the developing countries, is also falling apart. We also have to rethink our societies, we have to seat and watch what is happening inside our societies too, why we do not care about the others and let this happen? If we would care, we would not be sending more guns and money to those conflicts, otherwise we would be sending official development assistance for the education and to improve their population lives. Are we not the ones defending the Human Rights? Why just defend it when we are affected? Why let people get killed with our guns and leaving those people without any hope for their lives? People that will be in a such suffering situation that would prefer to risk their life in a fragile boat and cross the Mediterranean Sea, than staying in their own home country.
We are the ones who elect our politicians, we are the ones who need to call them to reason, but it looks that what they want is more power, to govern not only their country but also to control others, and it looks that we are too much self-centred that we do not care about what is happening that far. We should all be ashamed because what I see is a hypocrite world, where we were supposed to be collaborating for abetter world for all, but we are only able to collaborate for more war and for our self interests. We have to wake up, we have to wake up our leaders something very wrong is happening. We should not be like this after two World Wars. We should seat and discuss about cooperation with others, not the best way how to start a war.
Too many questions and just a few hard answers, even less solutions, our world is sick, yet is not dead. Lets hope that next year the new appointed UN Secretary General António Guterres can bring some reason to the UN table, so they can open their eyes and stop this stupid fight otherwise it is going be the end of our World as we know it. Until then, we can help people more than just sharing hashtags, we can look at examples such asThe White Helmets in Syria, because even in the most terrify situation there are still people with hope in our World and we must stand together with them.
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”
GermanPastorMartin Niemöller (1892–1984)