The European Union: Quo vadis?

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: 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?.



Content


Introduction
Today, people in the states of the EU live in better conditions than ever before. It should be clear to the citizens that the future viability of the states depends on their being under the strong umbrella of the EU in order to prepare themselves for the economic challenges from China, and more recently from the US, militarily from Russia (The Washington Post, 13 September 2018: 5 things to know about Russia’s Vostok-2018 military exercises, The Guardian, 20 October2018: Trump says US will withdraw from nuclear arms treaty with Russia, BBC, 21 October 2018: President Trump to pull US from Russia missile treaty, CNN, 21 October 2018: Trump says US is ending decades-old nuclear arms treaty with Russia, BBC, 21 October 2018: Russia nuclear treaty: Gorbachev warns Trump plan will undermine disarmament, CNN, 22 October 2018: Russia fires back after Trump threatens to ditch nuclear arms treaty (“funny” is that the Russian Tsar Putin has been stationed months ago the nuclear first strike weapon system Iskander-K in the region of Kaliningrad, to threaten Europe permanently, and is lamenting now, because adequate countermeasures to safeguard Europe against continued and further threats from the Kremlin shall be initiated (Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle)), NATO, 25 October 2018: Trident Juncture 18, The Washington Post, 25 October 2018: At a pivotal moment for the alliance, NATO launches biggest exercise since the end of the Cold War, The New York Times, 26 January 2019: Saving NATO, Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, The New York Times, 1 February 2019: U.S. Suspends Nuclear Arms Control Treaty With Russia, CNN, 2 February 2019: Russia follows US in suspending INF nuclear missile treaty, The Washington Post, 2 February 2019: Why Putin won’t be mad about Trump pulling out of the INF Treaty, The Guardian, 2 February 2019: Russia follows US in suspending nuclear deal, The New York Times, 2 February 2019: Russia Pulls Out of Nuclear Treaty in ‘Symmetrical’ Response to U.S. Move, The Washington Post, 2 February 2019: Following U.S., Putin suspends nuclear pact and promises new weapons, Jerusalem Post, 2 February 2019: Russia set to develop new and advanced missile systems, The New York Times, 10 February 2019: How Russia Undermined Over 30 Years of Nuclear Arms Control, France24, 12 February 2019: NATO planning for more Russian missiles: Stoltenberg and The Washington Post, 17 February 2019: Withdrawing from the INF Treaty would cripple arms control efforts for decades). How can it nevertheless be that the colorful and cheerful Europe threatens to become a more and more dull, simple, nationalistic, fact- and learn-resistant Europe? The paradox of this is, above all, that it is the EU itself that made it possible to connect different states and their people. On the one hand, it creates EU citizens and patriots and, on the other hand, simple minded state-cross national movements. After all, nationalism by definition can only function within a nation-state, but not across multiple states, unless one understands the EU as such as a nation-state, so that EU nationalism can emerge to develop common, viable and workable solutions. It is hardly to be expected that Europe’s right-wing nationalists are able to think in such a dimension at all, although here they could take an example from the rednecks and hillbillys of the Southern United States, who have at least understood that, albeit coming from different states, they all are US citizens. That would be, even when still annoying, after all, a development and adaptation of the changed realities and general conditions (The Guardian, 21 July 2018: Steve Bannon plans foundation to fuel far right in Europe, BBC, 23 July 2018: Bannon plan for Europe-wide populist ‘supergroup’ sparks alarm, Bloomberg, 24 July 2018: Steve Bannon Wants to Divide and Conquer in Europe Too, The Guardian, 30 July 2018: Europe shouldn’t fear Steve Bannon. It should fear the hype that surrounds him, The Washington Post, 26 September 2018: A nationalist abroad: Stephen Bannon evangelizes Trump-style politics across Europe, The Guardian, 24 October 2018: The real danger to Europe? The lost sense of a common cause and The Guardian, 18 February 2019: EU parliament’s centrist coalition set to lose majority, poll finds).


History of Europe and the United Staates of America

“Only who knows where he comes from knows where he is going.” – Theodor Heuss

In order to understand the current developments in Europe, it makes sense to deal with the very varied and multi-faceted history of Europe and the states/federation building processes. This includes numerous regional, national and international armed conflicts, such as the Thirty Years’ War, which began with the Defenestrations of Prague on May 23, 1618. Under the motto “One people, one religion, one leader”, the catholic Emperor Ferdinand II tried to persuade the Protestant electorates to convert to Catholicism. The attempt failed after several lossy battles in favor of a pluralistic solution, because the acting persons came to the realization that diversity is probably better than simplicity. With that everything has already been said and everyone could have gone home happily and contentedly with this knowledge gain, in order to be able to work on a common, peaceful and prosperous Europe from now on. History went a little bit different and many other wars followed, because people are generally far less able to learn than they would like to think of themselves. If World War I and World War II had any good aspects at all, it is that the results are now deeply branded in the European collective memory and, as a result, the European Union was founded. Following the old saying, “When the donkey is too well, he goes on the ice”, from the end of the 2000s onwards, small groups were formed in the states, which eventually gave rise to national movements and parties and in fact found enough supporters to position their crude (conspiracy) theories against the EU. The vast majority of these theories are completely baseless and fact-free, which is what their supporters, who are suffering from progressive fact allergy, especially like about it. But it is also about fear of loss, especially with regard to identities (or social decline), even though today’s states have no clearly definable national identities because they are made up of colorful collections of duchies and principalities with partly contradictory identities and due to the numerous small and large migrations of the people over the centuries couldn’t develop clearly identifiable identities (The “Heimat” concept (homeland), on the other hand, is much easier to define, even if it can have individual different definitions). The romantic idea that there ever was a homogenous Germany is a very clear self-deception, because the country and also all predecessors in the area of today’s Germany (even more so if one includes Poland and parts of Russia (German Reich) or parts of France and Italy (Holy Roman Empire of German Nations)), Germany has always been heterogeneous, even if there were majorities and continue to exist. The same applies, of course, to all other current EU states as well, and certainly to the US. The EU offers a basic agreement on the basis of geography, namely, “We are all Europeans”, even if not all countries of the continent belong to the EU by now. With the EU still under construction, it will take quite a while for this to happen. On the other hand, how well European integration already works in everyday life is evident in the changed news situation, among other aspects. 20 years ago, only a small section of the population in Europe was interested in politics and politicians in neighboring countries. This has changed over the past decades fundamentally, because the perception has changed. In the past, it was understood as “foreign policy”, and is now understood as “domestic policy”, because the effects can have an affect for everyone.

At this point, it’s worth taking a look at the history of the United States of America. Even if no one-to-one comparisons are possible, the founding of the USA is the first and until today successful European major project, because ultimately it is the anticipation of the EU outside of Europe. The settlements were finally carried out by people from all European countries. Even today, the folklore and local features/peculiarities that came with the European settlers have survived in the individual states, are promoted and celebrated accordingly – all under the common roof of the United States. The EU implements this concern, ie the preservation and promotion of specific characteristics, specificities, folklore, language and food/drink, even more consistently and extensively by creating appropriate laws and regulations and providing funding (Europe of the Regions, Culture in the European Union, geographical indication, European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, Minority rights, Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and European Convention on Human Rights). In this respect, the EU is reminiscent of the Roman Empire, but on a voluntary basis, ie a federation of different, diversified states, which keep their cultures, languages, religions and other peculiarities, but united under a common roof with self-given, common rules.


Migration debate
Anyone who has had a look at the immigration figures (immigration, refugees, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Global Compact for MigrationFinal draft of the agreement as a PDF file (there is a summary on pages 5 and 6), DW, 17 December 2018: UN refugee compact: What you need to know, France24, 17 December 2018: UN Assembly adopts refugee pact, without US and Hungary and The Guardian, 19 December 2018: Germany passes immigration law to lure non-EU skilled workers) already lately knows that migration is no longer a hot topic, so that the debate can cool down to find sustainable solutions for future challenges (Deutsche Welle, 20 June 2017: An endless debate on refugees, PBS, 22 January 2018: How the Far Right Has Reshaped the Refugee Debate in Europe, The Guardian, 5 June 2018: Five myths about the refugee crisis and The Guardian, 24 February 2019: African Union seeks to kill EU plan to process migrants in Africa). Between 2015 and 2017 the situation was short-term fascinating, because no one could estimate how many people would actually arrive. In the meantime, the figures have returned to the average level (between 150,000 and 250,000 migrants arrive Germany each year). It turns out that the “Islamization”, that was summoned and longed for by right-wing nationalists, evidently fails because of lack of mass. The number of Muslims living in Germany remains well below 10%. By far the most politically/religiously motivated crimes continue to emanate from right-wing nationalists, especially with regard to Antisemitism (The New York Times, 27 July 2018: ‘They Spit When I Walked in the Street’: The ‘New Anti-Semitism’ in France, DW, 31 July 2018: Europe: Anti-Semitism on the rise? Western European Jews think so, CNN, 2 August 2018: How anti-Semitism crept into Europe’s political mainstream, DW, 8 September 2018: Germany: Jewish restaurant attacked during Chemnitz protests, UNESCO.org – Education about the Holocaust and genocide and UNESCO.org – Addressing anti-Semitism through education – the paradox is that sections of the European right-wing extremists see Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu as a natural ally against Muslims and Islam, because he openly agitates against both (Like father, like son: The Guardian, 17 December 2018: Netanyahu’s son banned from Facebook over hate speech) (and in recent years increasingly adheres to right-wing national governments of all kinds in order to put pressure on liberal governments in this way, so that they might join his Islamophobia and weird world views – Haaretz, 13 December 2018: How Benjamin Netanyahu Became a Holocaust Revisionist), and even visits Israel for “study purposes” (because of the security arrangements towards Palestine (for people with a good sense of humor: The wall to the West Bank, with which Israel walls itself and even pays for it, was realized by an Austrian company. If Hitler and his thugs would knew about it, one could probably expect scornful laughter from the depths of hell. History sometimes writes interesting stories) – Der Spiegel, 8 October 2018: Germany’s Extremism Problem: Officials Zero In on Neo-Nazi Terror Cell, The Guardian, 31 October 2018: I live among the neo-Nazis in eastern Germany. And it’s terrifying, National Socialist Underground, National Socialist Underground trial and Haaretz, 12 December 2018: Netanyahu Is Risking Israel’s Interests by Riding the European Nationalist Tiger). Someone might have told them that Netanyahu is a Jew. Maybe they will find out by themselves), according to official statistics (you know, the ones that are based on facts and figures, instead of emotions and feelings). Fortunately for all “concerned citizens”, the number of white, Christian criminals will continue to be the clear majority. The honor of “concerned citizens” is thus permanently rescued and defended. The fairy tale, Chancellor Angela Merkel would be responsible for the wave of refugees, remains to be a fairy tale. In fact, the wave of refugees is to be blamed on the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, his patron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the Daesh terrorists and their respective backing groups – but also the dramatic underfunding of the UN Refugee Agency, which wasn’t able to provide sufficient help to refugees in the refugee camps, who then understandably left the camps to take the long road to Europe. In the reception of war refugees, the Chancellor has had implemented existing legislation and thus fulfilled her legal obligations, while at the same time relieving the autocratic Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orbán, as well as the entire Balkan route and finally Austria. One can only accuse Angela Merkel of maybe being a bit to naive, when she thought that her EU colleagues would too abide international law and therefore would also take in refugees. This was obviously not the case and doesn’t speak against the Chancellor, but against the lawfulness of the refuseniks, whereas one might even understand the reactions of the former Eastern Bloc countries, because after all, they don’t know the situation that someone want to come to their countries voluntarily. On the contrary, over the decades, thousands of their own countrymen ran away because not even they wanted to live there. There is still a learning process to go through. On the other hand, the reactions from East Germany (if one doesn’t add the part of the country to the former Eastern Bloc), Austria, the Netherlands, Italy and the United Kingdom are completely incomprehensible. These countries have all benefited massively from the EU and immigration. Rights have to be in balance with duties and obligations, because the one doesn’t work without the other. In some EU states, the moral compass for this approach seems to have been lost (or to quote the film Shooter: “Colonel, your moral compass is so fucked up, I’ll be shocked if you manage to find your way back to the parking lot.”). Meanwhile, of the approximately 800,000 refugees who have arrived in Germany since 2015, well over 300,000 are having jobs and this trend is continuing, according to the Federal Office for Labour. The reality is once again much more positive than the small group of Stammtisch hate preachers in the EU want to make us believe. In addition, the public became finally aware that Germany is an immigration country (factually, it has always been the case anyway), and this applies to virtually all other EU states as well. So it is all the more important to continue the for years neglected and actually important political work now, instead of being distracted of doing so by pseudo topics, like the migration debate. After the election of French President Emmanuel Macron and his proposals for reforms (ouest-france.fr, 26 September 2017: Sorbonne speech of Emmanuel Macron), there was a time window the size of a barn door to finally push all upcoming and necessary EU reforms. Instead of taking these chances and opportunities, the Berlin political circus has been hiding for over a year and thus not only dismissed the given opportunities, but instead strengthen nationalistic movements across Europe.

Islamophobia
In unpleasant regularity, the discussion of whether Islam and Muslims belong to Europe or not is as simple-minded as it is oblivious to history. After all, it was the Moors who, among other things, brought science (mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, cartography, geography and medicine – enriched with knowledge of ancient China (Zheng He) and Ancient Egypt (Islamic Golden Age)) to Al-Andalus (Portugal and parts of Spain. After the Reconquista, celebrated as a success, however, the millionfold enslavement of Europeans by corsairs from the Barbary States began, mostly from raids on the coastal regions of Italy, Spain and Portugal, but also in the Atlantic, around Cornwall). This knowledge spread from there to central and northern Europe and thus made it possible for Europe to develop democratic and industrial nations (today’s general tax liability goes back to the Islamic tax system (Tithe) as well, which was initially used in Europe to finance the Crusades and was then further expanded). The fact that the Arab countries themselves couldn’t benefit to the same extent and, on the contrary, have even been scientifically and technologically left behind is also given due to the strict interpretation of Islam and the tragedy of the Arabs. Muslims (Moors) have been part of Europe for centuries, and thus of course their religion. Today it is uncontroversial for the majority that the European Islam should emancipate itself from the political Islam of Turkey and Saudi Arabia to be perceived and accepted as a community of faith. The corresponding efforts have been stuck for years and noticeable burden the living together. More recently, the umbrella organization Ditib has been targeted by the German constitutional protection agencies due to its inordinate proximity to the Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP positions (The Guardian, 01 December 2018: Muslims demand full legal protection from Islamophobia, The Guardian, 7 December 2018: Revealed: the hidden global network behind Tommy Robinson, The Guardian, 3 March 2019: Ukip 2.0: young, angry, digital and extreme, The New York Times, 15 March 2019: New Zealand Massacre Highlights Global Reach of White Extremism, Times of Israel, 16 March 2019: Rights group calls on AG to probe online praise for New Zealand killer, Times of Israel, 16 March 2019: White nationalist movement spreads worldwide, pushing lone-wolf attacks, The Guardian, 17 March 2019: Australian senator Fraser Anning punches teen after being egged, The Guardian, 24 March 2019: Sadiq Khan challenges Theresa May to act against Tory Islamophobia, El Pais, 26 March 2019: Spain’s National Security Council warns xenophobia is on the rise, France24, 29 March 2019: Thousands gather for NZ attack remembrance service, InterNations.org: Discrimination and Racism in China, Racism in Asia, The Washington Post, 13 April 2019: ‘The president today made America smaller’: Democratic candidates react to Trump’s attack on Rep. Omar and The Guardian, 14 April 2019: Ilhan Omar has become the target of a dangerous hate campaign). It is all the more important for those Muslims, who oppose the Ditib, to offer appropriate state support measures to help them to further develop the European Islam (e.g. Imam education in Germany, while excluding the Turkish and Saudi Islam authorities).

Anti-Judaism/Antisemitism
Here is another aspect that has been cultivated since the Middle Ages in Europe: Jew-hatred, which was exported to the Middle East by the Crusades. Without going further into the single aspects of European anti-Semitism, it is simply false to assert that the “new anti-Semitism” would be fueled by immigration, because it is a re-import only. In Europe, anti-Semitism, even after the Holocaust, was never gone, but “rested” in order to regroup in the past few years and to cowardly hide behind alleged “import anti-Semitism” from the Arab states. The greatest threat to European Jews continues to come from European anti-Semitic right-wing extremists (over 90% of all anti-Semitic offenses – Haaretz, 20 November 2018: Most European Jewish Leaders Expect to Face More anti-Semitism, New Survey Finds). The discussions about it are often diffuse here because they are not clearly identified, named or obfuscated – presumably so as not to scare away any voters. Just as European Jews can’t vote in Israel, like European Christians or European Muslims can’t vote in Israel either. By contrast, Israeli Jews, Christians and Muslims can – mostly (on the contrary, in the wake of the 2019 European Parliament election, the approximately 500,000 European Jews living in Israel are called on to participate actively in this process, supporting candidates and political parties working for Israel’s goals within the EU. After Netanyahu’s failed attempt to establish Israel as a potential EU member state, this is apparently an attempt to “have a say in the EU through the back door,” given the normally low voter turnouts during the European elections – Times of Israel, 14 February 2019: Israelis, vote! In the European elections). So it’s about definitions and affiliations. From a international point of view, it is often too understandable when the policy of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is been seen as repugnant (which doesn’t even contradict the so-called German raison d’État – The Washington Post, 17 February 2019: The Democrats have an Israel problem – and it’s not Ilhan Omar). This is also the case for a large proportion of European Jews. How can it be, that there still is a growing number of people who try to blame them for it anyway? Even though the Netanyahu government claims that Israel would be the “home of all Jews” (which is legally limited anyway), large parts of the diaspora oppose this view, who are very fond of their home countries. There are a number of “anti-Semitism definitions”. The currently most recognized is this: HolocaustRemembrance.com – Working Definition of Antisemitism. When having a closer look at it, the result is that it’s about proportionality and against the “three Ds” (delegitimisation of Israel, demonisation of Israel and double standards for Israel, while the term “double standards” is somehow special: If Jews from the US or the EU were to ask: “Do you believe that people in the societies they are living in should not be discriminated against because of their ethnicity or religious affiliation and that all people should have equal access to all fundamental rights?” certainly almost all will reply “Yes!” If the same persons would be asked this question in relation to Israel, the majority would answer “Equal rights for all? Are you an enemy of Israel? Do you want to erase the country from the map?”). One can, shall and should criticize Israel and Jews to the same extent as one would criticize everyone else. What goes beyond that can be anti-Semitism. For example, if you would put Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in line with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Poland’s Jarosław Kaczyński, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, because they would be politically dubious figures, then this would be justified criticism. If Netanyahu were put there just because he was a Jew, that would be anti-Semitism. The Federal Government recently appointed Dr. Felix Klein as “Commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany” or shortened as “Anti-Semitism Commissioner”, whose tasks, however, are so far only vaguely defined. That anti-Semitism can’t be whitewashed is shown by the fact that many Jewish institutions in Germany, the EU and since the election of Donald Trump on 8 November 2016 even in the USA (The Atlantic, 15 August 2017: Why the Charlottesville Marchers Were Obsessed With Jews, Charlottesville riots, CNN, 27 October 2018: Shooter identified in deadly shooting at Pittsburgh synagogue, The New York Times, 27 October 2018: Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting: At Least 11 Dead and Gunman Identified, The Guardian, 27 Ocotber 2018: Pittsburgh shooting: suspect railed against Jews and Muslims on site used by ‘alt-right’, HIAS, The New York Times, 27 October 2018: 11 Killed in Pittsburgh Massacre; Suspect Charged With 29 Counts, The Washington Post, 27 October 2018: For American Jews, Pittsburgh synagogue massacre is culmination of worst fears, The Guardian, 28 October 2018: The ADL warned of antisemitic harassment. Then Pittsburgh happened, The New York Times, 29 October 2018: ‘There Is Still So Much Evil’: Growing Anti-Semitism Stuns American Jews, Haaretz, 29 October 2018: From Pittsburgh to Paris, Five Lessons for Jews Everywhere, Haaretz, 29 October 2018: Pittsburgh Massacre Underscores the Dilemma of American Jews, The Guardian, 2 November 2018: New York police investigate antisemitic graffiti inside Brooklyn synagogue and The New York Times, 17 November 2018: Are Jared and Ivanka Good for the Jews?) still have to be placed under police protection in order to prevent attacks (Der Spiegel, 31 August 2018: Return of the Ugly German? The Riots in Chemnitz and Their Aftermath, Times of Israel, 24 September 2017: Loathed by Jews, Germany’s far-right AfD loves the Jewish state, DW, 25 September 2018: AfD’s Jews say German far-right party isn’t anti-Semitic, The New York Times, 26 September 2018: Seeing Ally Against Muslims, Some German Jews Embrace Far Right, to Dismay of Others, Financial Times, 5 October 2018: The Jews who are signing up to Germany’s far-right AfD , NPR, 5 October 2018: Germany’s Right-Wing AfD Is Accused Of Exploiting Jewish Members, Der Spiegel, 5 October 2018: Growing Anti-Semitism in Germany ‘We Are Facing a Monster’, Reuters, 26 October 2017: Jewish leader urges Italian sports authorities to fight anti-Semitism, The Guardian, 1 February 2018: Antisemitic incidents in UK at all-time high, The Atlantic, 22 February 2018: Secretive Fraternities Are Feeding Anti-Semitism in Austria, Bloomberg, 27 February 2018: Why Polish Jews Are Growing Uneasy, The Guardian, 27 February 2018: Antisemitic incidents in US soar to highest level in two decades, NPR, 3 May 2018: Alarm Grows In France Over Anti-Semitic Violence, Haaretz, 20 June 2018: Denmark’s Jews Questioning Their Future in the Country Following Proposed Ban on Circumcision, The Jerusalem Post, 29 July 2018: Hungary’s Victor Orban fosters antisemitism – Hungarian antisemitism is the highest in Europe, The Atlantic, 9 November 2018: The Day of Fate, The Guardian, 22 November 2018: US-Israeli man jailed for 10 years over bomb hoax calls, CNN, November 2018: CNN poll reveals depth of anti-Semitism in Europe, The New York Times, 29 November 2018: Europe’s Jew Hatred, and Ours, The New York Times, 7 December 2018: Anti-Zionism Isn’t the Same as Anti-Semitism, France24, 10 December 2018: EU alarmed at study showing anti-Semitism worsening, Times of Israel, 23 January 2019: German far-right lawmakers walk out of speech by Holocaust survivor, Der Spiegel, 23 January 2019: German Right-Wing Populists: Domestic Intelligence Report Highlights AfD Extremism, Times of Israel, 24 January 2019: German Jewish leader ‘threatened’ after criticizing far-right AfD, Times of Israel, 25 January 2019: Buchenwald memorial bans German far-right AfD from Holocaust ceremony, The Guardian, 27 January 2019: One in 20 Britons does not believe Holocaust took place, poll finds, Jerusalem Post, 27 January 2019: Greek Church charged by Israel with inflaming Antisemitism, Haaretz, 27 January 2019: Polish Nationalists March on Auschwitz to Protest ‘Non-inclusive’ International Holocaust Day, The New York Times, 27 January 2019: On the Way to Auschwitz, I Found ‘Heil Hitler’ Signs For Sale, The Washington Post, 27 January 2019: Remembering the Holocaust in an era of rising anti-Semitism, Times of Israel, 27 January 2019: Netanyahu downplays right-wing anti-Semitism, contradicting Israeli study, Jerusalem Post, 27 January 2019: Far-right Antisemitism biggest threat to Jews worldwide: Report, Haaretz, 27 January 2019: Germany ‘Must Tell Stories’ of Holocaust Victims to Combat anti-Semitism, Merkel Says, France24, 27 January 2019: Anti-Semitic killings in 2018 ‘highest’ in decades: Israel, The Guardian, 7 February 2019: Antisemitic incidents in UK at record high for third year in a row, CNN, 7 February 2019: Reported anti-Semitic incidents hit record high in UK, Times of Israel, 13 February 2019: Germany anti-Semitic offenses rise sharply in 2018, mostly from far-right, France24, 20 February 2019: Bill equating anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism sparks debate in France, Times of Israel, 22 February 2019: The new ‘new anti-Semitism’ in Western Europe feels eerily familiar, The New York Times, 22 February 2019: The Grave Threats of White Supremacy and Far-Right Extremism, The Guardian, 24 February 2019: Antisemites use the language of anti-Zionism. The two are distinct, The Guardian, 3 March 2019: The neo-Nazi plot against America is much bigger than we realize, Times of Israel, 4 March 2019: Polish anti-Semitism festers on the internet, The Guardian, 7 March 2019: Debunking the myth that anti-Zionism is antisemitic, Jerusalem Post, 3 April 2019: Jews say Lithuania’s Genocide Studies Center engages in Holocaust denial, The New York Times, 4 April 2019: Anti-Semitism Is Back, From the Left, Right and Islamist Extremes. Why?, The New York Times, 15 April 2019: Has Germany Forgotten the Lessons of the Nazis?, Christian Zionism, Philo-Semitism, Jewish Studies, Jewish culture, History of the Jews in Germany and the documentary “The Settlers” by Shimon Dotan).

Antiziganism
Another topic is the relatively rarely publicity discussed Antiziganism.


Populism
The bloodlessness resulting from the hide and seek game of the newly to be formed federal government after the 2017 federal election has finally been filled by shortsighted and petty-bourgeois nationalization movements, of which most people thought that they belong to the past and their motives would have been overcome. This is not just about the now usual cross-cuts of the democracy and law freed, xenophobic EU-Eastern enlargement kleptocracies (Visegrád Group), which call themselves “illiberal“, but are actually autocratic (defective democracy) and as of today wouldn’t become EU members in their current conditions anymore, but now also to movements in Italy, France, Greece, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany, where parts of East Germany, especially in the rural areas of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, in Saxony even in the large metropolitan areas (Dresden, Leipzig, Chemnitz etc.) to no-go areas for “non-Aryans” have degenerated. This not only applies to refugees, but also to tourists, highly qualified foreign employees, employers and investors. In any case, it is difficult to convince national and international investors of investments in the new federal states, instead of getting involved in West Germany or Berlin. In this way, corporate headquarters, important research institutions or federal agencies can’t be attracted, which in return isn’t a surprise. The current events in Saxony and Thuringia will make this even more difficult for years, so once again it can be assumed that West German taxpayers have to keep the East alive, that, because of own weakness, can’t succeed on its own. Here again the failures immediately after the reunification become visible (civics/political education). A big mistake, as it turns out even today. Thus, Eastern occupation zone parallel societies could emerge, to which 30 years after the reunification it is completely unclear how democracy and a Rechtsstaat/rule of law work, why there is separation of powers and freedom of the press (media literacy) and which authorities are responsible for which tasks, but also where the state can not and should not intervene. However, this is not an exclusive phenomenon of the far right, but also applies to the eternal SED faithful from the far left. A lot of immigrants and refugees are far ahead of them, who even speak High German. This is all the more surprising because there is a very extensive information and education platform by the Federal Agency for Civic Education, that easily can be found online. Maybe they should think about translating the content in Saxon.

In Bavaria, the CSU was recently unpleasantly noticed, which tries to mask the denial of performance of their “Homeland Horst” in the Berlin Ministry of Interior through nonsense and volume, as one of his first official acts, apparently in ignorance of his duties as Federal Interior Minister and personal vanities, was to cancel his participation in the integration summit. Of course, as with all “right-wing national strategies” within a state, this attempt has gone down the drain and caused considerable domestic damage. It should be remembered that the coalition crisis was triggered by Horst Seehofer (for obvious mistakes in the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution), Markus Söder, Alexander Dobrindt and Andreas Scheuer because of five to ten migrants per day. No politician can make it more clear then that, that he isn’t fit to be responsible for state or federal politics. In addition, on July 4th, the US Independence Day is celebrated, the day of the liberation and the opening of a nation. On the same day, Horst Seehofer, the person who stands for exclusion, demarcation, fencing and isolation like no other, has his birthday, or as a radio host said: “… and somewhere up there sits a wise old man with a long beard in laughter about his successful prank!” After all, it was exhilarating to see the “axis of the willing”, which had been doomed to failure from the outset, between Seehofer, the Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the far-right Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini (Italian Fascism, The Guardian, 2 October 2018: Pro-refugee Italian mayor arrested for ‘aiding illegal migration’ (Riace in Calabria, Domenico Lucano) and Der Spiegel, 12 December 2018: A .38-Caliber Rosary: The Dangerous New Face of Salvini’s Italy), going down the drain. As expected, Salvini’s party, the Lega Nord, is currently siding with that of his autocratic friend Viktor Orbán (The Guardian, 5 January 2018: Thousands in Budapest march against ‘slave law’ forcing overtime on workers and The Guardian, 10 January 2018: Viktor Orbán calls for anti-migration politicians to take over EU), Fidesz

Added to this is the serious damage to the credibility of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution by its President Hans-Georg Maaßen and his supervisor Horst Seehofer, while simultaneously redeveloping the Federal Ministry of the Interior away from professional competence to competence in matters of democracy restriction/dismantling (one of the already very few detectable core competencies of the CSU), which causes serious damage to democracy and the reputation of the Federal Republic of Germany at home and abroad

There are no easy solutions. Populists, however, promise that a 2018 VW Beetle could be repaired with the same methods and tools as a VW Beetle from 1950 – it is simply not possible, which is why populists always fail when they have to implement their “programs” in reality. Both the Brexit and the election of US President Donald Trump show how profoundly incompetent the protagonists behind it are, and as well as how many simpletons are allowed to vote. There are populists since there is politics. This is usually not a problem, because most of them hardly get beyond the regulars’ table. It becomes a problem when a large number of voters want to believe their lies and fall in their traps. For example, the most-asked question on Google UK the day after the Brexit referendum was “What is Brexit?” The voters were in large parts completely disinformated and uninformed (including Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage and other nationalists and right-wing extremists) and have been lured by lies to the Brexit vote. The consequences will not be borne by the populists themselves, but by their voters and their descendants. Already Winston Churchill came to the conclusion: “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” (however, he was also one of the proponents of the United States of Europe). The referendum is a very good example of this thesis. If Brexit is actually set in action on March 29, 2019, it will take several decades to compensate the damages arising from it. It has to be remembered that the United Kingdom’s net payments to the EU amount to about € 5.6 billion a year (one of the main arguments of the Brexiteers for the exit from the EU). In return, for the year 2018 alone, there is a decline in foreign direct investment in the UK of at least 44 billion euros. Added to this is the downfall of the British pound and the real estate values in the metropolitan areas even though the Brexit isn’t even implemented yet. It is still unclear how many jobs will be lost, but it will probably be at least a large 6-digit number. Numerous highly qualified British have already exchanged their citizenship for a state on the continent and are, of course, warmly welcomed.

But of course there are populists in other EU states as well. In Germany, for example, the AfD (The Guardian, 13 January 2019: AfD party votes to campaign for German exit from EU (the decision to try to dissolve the allegedly “undemocratic” European Parliament is particularly amusing insofar as the Parliament is directly elected by all EU voters. Obviously, the AfD hasn’t understood how democracy works) The Guardian, 15 January 2019: Extreme-right wing of Germany’s AfD placed under surveillance, Times of Israel, 15 January 2019: German spy agency to step up scrutiny of far-right party, BBC, 5 April 2019: German far-right MP ‘could be absolutely controlled by Russia’, DW, 16 April 2019: Germany’s AfD party fined over €400,000 for illegal campaign financing), which is characterized mainly by vociferous and dull incompetence, anti-Semitism, islamophobia and xenophobia. The CSU, the political ghost riders from Bavaria, who not only put the decades-old union at risk, but at the same time the stability of Germany and the EU – and all because they want are on a election campaign for the AfD for the 2018 Bavarian state election. Obviously, the acting persons (Seehofer, Söder, Dobrindt and Scheuer) are in the wrong party. Moreover, those who complain about “renationalisation”, “anti-deportation industry”, “rule of injustice”, “asylum tourism” and “language police” endangers the entire German social and economic model. According to current survey results, the CSU will lose the usual absolute majority and that would be good and well deserved. The right-wing populist government coalition of Austria doesn’t know what it wants, except “no foreigners, Muslims and journalists”. The far-right FPÖ would be in favor of the country leaving the euro, and preferably the EU as well. The right-wing populist ÖVP doesn’t want both at the moment. The racist and Islamophobic one-man party Geert Wilders from the Netherlands got the losing end in recent elections and there is reasonable hope that it will go on like this. The French Front National has renamed itself Rassemblement National in 2018 and is due to numerous financial affairs fortunately widely insolvent. From the past elections in France, the FN came out clearly inferior. Depending on the course of the presidency of Emmanuel Macron and his successes in the desired EU reforms, the FN will develop and either remain only loud and insubstantial or can count on increases in the worst case. Since 2015, Greece has been led by Alexis Tsipras and his governing coalition of left-wing (Syriza) and right-wing populists (ANEL). Over 10 years permanent crisis leave its political mark. The country would like to participate in the free capital market again at the end of 2018. In Italy, a similar picture emerges, fueled by the fact that the country has been in economic reverse for years, because administration and politics block each other. As a result, a coalition of right-wing populists MoVimento 5 Stelle and right-wing extremist Lega Nord (which wasn’t supposed to participatge in any Italian government at all, as the party was founded for the secession of northern Italy from the south of the country) was formed in June 2018. As dummy-President of the Council of Ministers Giuseppe Conte was chosen. Both parties are skeptical about the EU, and on top the Lega Nord is openly anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic and xenophobic. The consequences of such a mixture are not yet foreseeable, but promise nothing good for Italy, also because both parties lack economic and administrative competence, but this would be urgently needed because of the country’s situation. The countries of the Visegrád Group are only remaining in the EU to collect funds because they aren’t able to generate wealth or future prospects for their citizens by their own. In recent years, the tentative democratic approaches have been continuously reduced in favor of “illiberality“. The rule of law has already been abolished by the governments a while ago. In Denmark, the government of Lars Løkke Rasmussen (Venstre) is supported by the right-wing populist Dansk Folkeparti, which provides corresponding shrill comments. The current election in Sweden has brought a significant shift to the right (The Guradian, 2 September 2018: Germany’s far right never went away, but festered in its eastern stronghold, slate.com, 4 September2018: The good fight: The Failure of the Center-Right, The New York Times, 11. September 2018: Can Germany’s Center Hold Against the Far Right?, The Guardian, 11 September 2018: My country is being poisoned by populism. The EU must stand with Hungary, The New York Times, 11 September 2018: E.U.’s Leadership Seeks to Contain Hungary’s Orban, The Guardian, 12 September 2018: Merkel condemns far-right outbreak in passionate address, The Guardian, 12 September 2018: Don’t believe the doomsayers. Here is Europe’s good news, The Guardian, 12 September 2018: MEPs vote to pursue action against Hungary over Orbán crackdown, The Guardian, 25 January 2019: Fight for Europe – or the wreckers will destroy it, The Guardian, 25 January 2019: Europe ‘coming apart before our eyes’, say 30 top intellectuals and The Guardian, 12 April 2019: Trump and his imitators are out to nobble the world’s referees).


Separatism
A special form of regionalism or nationalism is separatism, which sends greetings all the way from medieval times, were there are probably reasonably and traceable reasons to be found, if you want to search for it at all. It doesn’t make any sense in the 21st century, but it doesn’t have to for the protagonists anyways, especially because it is fed by emotions rather than any rational aspects. Current and prominent separatism efforts are:


Challenges and solution approaches in keywords


Economic development
The EU economy continues to develop well, although the federal debts of half of member countries remains above the agreed 60% of GDP. The EU GDP surpasses that of the US. The economic growth was 2.5% in 2017 and is projected to reach 2.3% in 2018, with developments in the member countries varying in some cases significantly (Reuters, 2 July 2018: Beating expectations, euro zone unemployment stable in May, Reuters, 7 September 2018: A decade after Lehman, Europe remains on economic crutches, The Guardian, 21 January 2019: IMF: no-deal Brexit and Chinese slump are biggest economic risks, France24, 7 March 2019: ECB to keep rates unchanged amid weakening economy, and The New York Times, 7 March 2019: Global Economy Slows, Pushing Europe’s Central Bank to Make a Surprise Move).

moving-into-the-slow-lane-press-conference-presentation-in-english–dlp-4866


Foreign policy
With Donald Trump’s US (The Making of Donald Trump) becoming increasingly isolated, foreign policy is bringing some additional responsibilities to the EU. After all, it is good to see and know that the US Congress and the US Senate decide and act in part completely contrary to Trump’s ideas and wishes and that, of course, to cushion the disaster Trump and thus to minimize national and international damage (The New Yorker, 11 July 2018: The Borowitz Report: Merkel Asks Mueller If There’s Anything She Can Do to Help, Independent, 3 August 2018: Thousands protest for a fourth consecutive day in Iran on eve of US sanctions, Politico.com, 7 September 2018: Obama delivers full-throated rebuke of Trump’s presidency, The Washington Post, 7 September 2018: ‘It sure isn’t normal; it’s radical’: Former president Barack Obama says Trump and Republicans are knowingly dividing America, The Atlantic, 16 September 2018: American Democracy Is in Crisis, The New York Times, 25 September 2018: U.N. General Assembly Updates: Trump Speaks Out on Globalization, NBC News, 26 September 2018: Trump’s U.N. speech pitting globalism against patriotism proves the president has no idea what patriotism means, The Guardian, 28 September 2018: It’s not just Trump. Much of America has turned its back on Europe, The Washington Post, 1 October 2018: USMCA: Who are the winners and losers of the ‘new NAFTA’?, The Guardian, 2 October 2018: Global image of US is historically bad under Trump, says poll, Handelsblatt, 4 October 2018: Special-Purpose Vehicle: Defying Trump, EU plans to support trade with Iran, The New York Times, 1 November 2018: The Wrong Way to Punish Iran, USA Today, 2 November 2018: Top Trump officials say new U.S. sanctions will choke Iran’s economy, CNN, 2 November 2018: Trump set to reimpose all Iran sanctions lifted by Obama, NBC News, 2 November 2018: The Trump team’s trade sanctions were not what Iran hawks wanted, Reuters, 2 November 2018: U.S. says SWIFT could be sanctioned if it deals with sanctioned entities, BBC, 2 November 2018: Trump administration to reinstate all Iran sanctions, The Washington Post, 2 November 2018: Iran braces for oil sanctions after currency crash, protests, The Guardian, 4 November 2018: Iran braces for fresh US sanctions including oil embargo, Haaretz, 4 November 2018: Thousands of Iranians Mark Anniversary of U.S. Embassy Takeover in Tehran as Trump Restores Sanctions, The New York Times, 4 November 2018: Europe Plans a Way to Evade Sanctions on Iran. Will It Work?, The Guardian, 5 November 2018: Why Europe wants to sidestep US sanctions over Iran nuclear might, The Guardian, 5 November 2018: ‘People are despairing’: Iranians brace for sanctions to bite and The New York Times, 5 November 2018:As U.S. Sanctions on Iran Kick In, Europe Looks for a Workaround, The Washington Post, 8 November 2018: ‘Protect Mueller’: Protesters across U.S. decry president’s dismissal of Sessions as attorney general, The New York Times, 30 November 2018: A European Goes to Trump’s Washington, The New York Times, 30 November 2018: Trade Pact Is Signed, but U.S.-Canada Rift Remains, The New York Times, 30 November 2018: Trump Claims Nafta Victory but Deal Faces Long Odds in U.S., CNN, 30 November 2018: The G20 summit is a glimpse at the future world order and The Guardian, 30 November 2018: The Guardian view on Donald Trump’s credibility: America’s compromised leader, The Guardian, 1 December 2018: We shouldn’t rush to save the liberal order. We should remake it, The Guardian, 29 December 2018: America’s new year’s resolution: impeach Trump and remove him, The Washington Post, 31 December 2018: Trump turned the White House into a madhouse, The New York Times, 1 January 2019: The Trump Tax Cut: Even Worse Than You’ve Heard, DW, 9 January 2019: EU lawmakers decry Washington downgrading of EU ambassador, Der Spiegel, 11 February 2019: Interview with Obama Adviser Ben Rhodes: ‘Trump Is Just Tearing Things Down’, The Guardian, 24 February 2019: ‘You’re fired!’ America has already terminated Trump and The New York Times, 4 March 2019: In a Change of Tone, U.S. Restores E.U.’s Diplomatic Status). Meanwhile, the EU continues to seek ways, together with China and Russia, to prevent sanctions not only against small and medium-sized businesses, which can easly ignore them, when not doing any business in the US, but as well by multinational corporations from Europe. Overall, the issue isn’t only about Iran, but also about the security and interests of Europe and the sovereignty of the EU, which shall be significantly curtailed by the extortionate measures of the current US government. A process that the EU will accompany with resistance, of course, so that despite all the cheers from the United States, there are and will be repeated attempts to undermine the sanctions in order to minimize the damage caused). These measures will certainly not lead to an increase in trade and investment by the affected European companies with and in the US and Israel. It is more likely that the investments in Asia and the Gulf States will be strengthened, to reduce the potential damages posed by the current US and Israeli governments (Pew Research Center, 1 Octobewr 2018: Continuing negative ratings for Trump and U.S. in Germany, Pew Research Center, 1 October 2018: Trump’s International Ratings Remain Low, Especially Among Key Allies, The Washington Post, 4 December 2018: ‘Chaos breeds chaos’: Trump’s erratic and false claims roil the globe. Again., The New York Times, 5 December 2018: Trump Gets It All Wrong, The Guardian, 6 December 2018: Trump’s European diplomats tied in knots over rise of populism, The Guardian, 18 December 2018: Blind creature that buries head in sand named after Donald Trump, The New York Times, 21 January 2019: The Economy Won’t Rescue Trump, France24, 27 February 2019: ‘Conman’ Trump broke law in office, Cohen tells Congress in explosive testimony, The Washington Post, 4 April 2019: This is how bad Trump derangement syndrome has gotten in Washington, The Washington Post, 5 April 2019: Trump’s next possible Fed nominee can’t understand basic policy issues).

Here’s something to laugh about: On the announcement of GM in the US to lay off staff because the sales of cars in the US generally sinks, product prices (including steel from China) had noticeably increased and therefore the cost structure need to be changed, the “stable genius” Trump advised to “bring a car on the market that sells well,” so that the reduction in staff could be prevented (CNN, 27 November 2018: Trump says he was ‘very tough’ on GM’s Barra over plant closures). Amazing, what kind of “innovative ideas” national socialism can produce. On the other hand, of course, the approach itself is completely understandable, why Trump should recommend all starving people in the world to just eat more and recommend the people living in poverty to seak for well-paid jobs to solve these challenges extensively, unbureaucratically and in a timely manner.


Sources
In addition to own investigations, assessments and reviews these are: Die Presse and Kurier from Austria. NATO and Politico.eu from Belgium. France24 from France. Bundesagentur für Arbeit, Bundeskriminalamt, Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Cicero, Der Spiegel, Deutschlandfunk, Deutsche Welle (DW), Die Welt, Die Zeit, Focus, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurter Rundschau, Handelsblatt, International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), Jetzt.de, n-tv, Statista.com, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Tagesschau and The European from Germany. The Irish Times from Ireland. Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel from Israel. Saudi Gazette from Saudi Arabia. The National from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. BBC, Middle East Eye, Reuters, The Guardian and The Telegraph from the United Kingdom. Al-Monitor, Bloomberg, CNN, Council on Foreign Relations, Financial Times, NBC News, NPR, PBS, Politico.com, The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Washington Post and USA Today from the United States of America and other sources linked in the text.

This contribution is sporadically supplemented and extended.

Read more on VOLT Europa, United Europe and Pulse of Europe.



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