The European Union: Bon voyage!

November 10th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, UNESCO World Heritage

Past posts of the EU series have focused on the EU as such, its different political fields and institutions, and culinary aspects. In this post, the EU and its federal states can be experienced at first hand. The EU supports this by, among other things, the annual title of the European Capital of Culture. The title creates a window in the cultural and social life of the respective city / region as well as the entire federal state, but no rule without exception: In the year 2000 Reykjavík in Iceland was the first city which country is EFTA member and not in the EU. In the year 2010 Istanbul in Turkey was the first city of a candidate for membership of the European Union. In addition there are cultural routes in the individual federal states and the Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe. According to the World Economic Forum, 5 of the TOP10 destinations in the world are EU states. These are Spain (1), France (2), Germany (3), United Kingdom (5) and Italy (8). The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) also sees 5 of the top 10 destinations of the world in the EU, but in a different order: France (1), Spain (3), Italy (5), Germany (7) and United Kingdom (9). Today we are doing a small tour through the federal states, which might inspire you to experience the European Union on site. Enjoy! :-)   read more…

The European Union: Quo vadis?

October 2nd, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General

Best of all first: The Eurozone today has greater approval among its citizens than it did in the past 35 years. This is not just any indicator, but a solid basis and a work order that has so far been adopted only in part to actually address ambitious, long overdue reforms and the necessary reorientation of the EU. A nice written white paper by the European Commission, which presents possible scenarios until 2025, isn’t enough. What is needed is an “EU Vision 2030” plan with clear timetables and sub-goals, which are constantly being updated, especially as new sub-goals always emerge from ongoing processes, where everyone can find orientation about ongoing and future developments, as well as participate or in marketing-speak “Europe need a common future and story!” This one is a bit longer and a summary of the current challenges and opportunities, while continuing the article The European Union: Blessing or curse? Past or future?.   read more…

The European Free Trade Association: Bon appétit!

September 4th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General

© efta.int

© efta.int

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) is a regional trade organization and free trade area consisting of four European states: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland. The organization operates in parallel with the European Union (EU), and all four member states participate in the European Single Market and are part of the Schengen Area. They are not, however, party to the European Union Customs Union. EFTA was historically one of the two dominant western European trade blocks, but is now much smaller and closely associated with its historical competitor, the European Union. It was established on 3 May 1960 to serve as an alternative trade bloc for those European states that were unable or unwilling to join the then European Economic Community (EEC), which subsequently became the European Union. The Stockholm Convention, to establish the EFTA, was signed on 4 January 1960 in the Swedish capital by seven countries (known as the “outer seven“). Whilst the EFTA is not a customs union and member states have full rights to enter into bilateral third-country trade arrangements, it does have a coordinated trade policy. As a result, its member states have jointly concluded free trade agreements with the EU and a number of other countries. To participate in the EU’s single market, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway are parties to the Agreement on a European Economic Area (EEA), with compliances regulated by the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court. Switzerland has a set of bilateral agreements with the EU instead.   read more…

Transatlantic relations

June 2nd, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General

Atlantic Ocean © NOAA - www.ngdc.noaa.gov

Atlantic Ocean © NOAA – www.ngdc.noaa.gov

Transatlantic relations refer to the historic, cultural, political, economic and social relations between countries on both side of the Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes specifically those between the United States, Canada and the countries in Europe, although other meanings are possible. There are a number of issues over which the United States and Europe generally disagree. Some of these are cultural, such as the U.S. use of the death penalty, some are international issues such as the Middle East peace process where the United States is often seen as pro-Israel and where Europe is often seen as pro-Arab (Arab–Israeli conflict), and many others are trade related. The current U.S. policies are often described as being unilateral in nature, whereas the European Union and Canada are often said to take a more multilateral approach, relying more on the United Nations and other international institutions to help solve issues. There are many other issues upon which they agree. This article refers to the relations between the EU (Culture of Europe, Economy of the European Union, History of Europe, and Politics of the European Union) and the USA (Culture of the United States, Economy of the United States, History of the United States, and Politics of the United States).   read more…

The European Union: The Budget

May 6th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union

Now it’s back to business: The European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Günther Oettinger has presented the draft of the new EU budget and as we already know: Money can end friendships. This is no different between EU member states than between companies and private persons. However, this is not just an annual plan, but a five-year plan, this time with significantly changed circumstances to the previous plans, so that the negotiations until the unanimous decision-making will be infinitely long.   read more…

Arab–Israeli and Israeli-Palestinian conflict

January 6th, 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, General, Union for the Mediterranean

© Oncenawhile

© Oncenawhile

The Arab–Israeli conflict is the political tension, military conflicts and disputes between a number of Arab countries and Israel. The roots (European colonial period, Ottoman Empire, widespread Antisemitism in Europe, Jews in the Russian Empire, Baron Edmond James de Rothschild, Theodor Herzl, Jewish National Fund, timeline of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, World War I, Sykes–Picot Agreement, Balfour Declaration, World War II, The Holocaust (International Holocaust Remembrance Day), Évian Conference, Mandatory Palestine, Forced displacement, and United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine) of the modern Arab–Israeli conflict (or the history of collective failure) are bound in the rise of Zionism and Arab nationalism towards the end of the 19th century. Territory regarded by the Jewish people as their historical homeland is also regarded by the Pan-Arab movement as historically and currently belonging to the Palestinians, and in the Pan-Islamic context, as Muslim lands. The sectarian conflict between Palestinian Jews and Arabs emerged in the early 20th century, peaking into a full-scale civil war in 1947 and transforming into the First Arab–Israeli War in May 1948 following the Israeli Declaration of Independence (Nakba). Large-scale hostilities mostly ended with the cease-fire agreements after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War, or October War. Peace agreements were signed between Israel and Egypt in 1979, resulting in Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and abolishment of the military governance system in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, in favor of Israeli Civil Administration and consequent unilateral, internationally not recognized, annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Even when the text is about 43 pages long, it is just a summary. The multitude of links point out that there is a lot more to learn in detail. At first, it is a timeline of the major developments in the region and it leads to today’s challenges. The starting point is the view of the international community, especially the European Union and North America, on the conflict, enriched with excursions into the ideas, convictions, believes, and thoughts of the direct and indirect involved parties to the conflict.   read more…

The United States: Bon appétit!

November 9th, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, General

© Lipton sale/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Lipton sale/cc-by-sa-3.0

The cuisine of the United States reflects its history. The European colonization of the Americas yielded the introduction of a number of ingredients and cooking styles to the latter. The various styles continued expanding well into the 19th and 20th centuries, proportional to the influx of immigrants from many different nations; such influx developed a rich diversity in food preparation throughout the country. Early Native Americans utilized a number of cooking methods in early American Cuisine that have been blended with early European cooking methods to form the basis of American Cuisine. When the colonists came to the colonies, they farmed animals for clothing and meat in a similar fashion to what they had done in Europe. They had cuisine similar to their previous British cuisine. The American colonial diet varied depending on the settled region in which someone lived. Commonly hunted game included deer, bear, buffalo, and wild turkey. A number of fats and oils made from animals served to cook much of the colonial foods. Prior to the American Revolution, New Englanders consumed large quantities of rum and beer, as maritime trade provided them relatively easy access to the goods needed to produce these items: rum was the distilled spirit of choice, as the main ingredient, molasses, was readily available from trade with the West Indies. In comparison to the northern colonies, the southern colonies were quite diverse in their agricultural diet and did not have a central region of culture. During the Progressive Era (1890s–1920s) food production and presentation became more industrialized. Major railroads featured upscale cuisine in their dining cars. Restaurant chains emerged with standardized decor and menus, most famously the Fred Harvey restaurants along the route of the Santa Fe Railroad in the Southwest. At the universities, nutritionists and home economists taught a new scientific approach to food. During World War I the Progressives’ moral advice about food conservation was emphasized in large-scale state and federal programs designed to educate housewives. Large-scale foreign aid during and after the war brought American standards to Europe. Newspapers and magazines ran recipe columns, aided by research from corporate kitchens, which were major food manufacturers like General Mills, Campbell’s, and Kraft Foods. One characteristic of American cooking is the fusion of multiple ethnic or regional approaches into completely new cooking styles. For example, spaghetti is Italian, while hot dogs are German; a popular meal, especially among young children, is spaghetti containing slices of hot dogs. Since the 1960s Asian cooking has played a particularly large role in American fusion cuisine.   read more…

Union for the Mediterranean: Bon appétit!

November 7th, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, Union for the Mediterranean

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

Union for the Mediterranean © AndrewRT/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organization of 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin: the 28 member states of the European Union and 15 Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Europe. It was created in July 2008 at the Paris Summit for the Mediterranean, with a view to reinforcing the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (Euromed) that was set up in 1995 and known as the Barcelona Process. The Union has the aim of promoting stability and prosperity throughout the Mediterranean region. It is a forum for discussing regional strategic issues, based on the principles of shared ownership, shared decision-making and shared responsibility between the two shores of the Mediterranean. Its main goal is to increase both North-South and South-South integration in the Mediterranean region, in order to support the countries’ socioeconomic development and ensure stability in the region. The actions of the organization fall under three, interrelated priorities—regional human development, regional integration and regional stability. To this end, it identifies and supports regional projects and initiatives of different sizes, to which it gives its label, following a consensual decision among the forty-three countries. The region has 756 million inhabitants and is culinary very diverse (European cuisine, Mediterranean cuisine, Maghreb cuisine, Levantine cuisine, Middle-Eastern cuisine and Arab cuisine).   read more…

Canada: Bon appétit!

November 2nd, 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, General

© George F.G. Stanley

© George F.G. Stanley

Canadian cuisine varies widely depending on the regions of the nation. The three earliest cuisines of Canada have First Nations, English, Scottish and French roots, with the traditional cuisine of English Canada closely related to British cuisine, while the traditional cuisine of French Canada has evolved from French cuisine and the winter provisions of fur traders. With subsequent waves of immigration in the 19th and 20th century from Western, Central and Southern European, and Eastern Europe, South Asia, East Asia, and the Caribbean, the regional cuisines were subsequently augmented.   read more…

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