The European Union: Climate Policy

2 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, Environment, European Union, General

Flag of Europe (Latest update: 11 February 2020) The European Union’s climate policy is a European policy area that aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to transform European economies into a low carbon economy. On the one hand, the EU’s climate policy aims to reduce its own emissions of greenhouse gases (mitigation), for example through the emissions trading system that has existed since 2005. However, since limiting anthropogenic climate change can ultimately only be achieved at the global level, the EU is also actively involved in the negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The EU’s climate policy also pursues the goal of limiting the effects of climate change (adaptation), for example through civil protection measures in Europe or through conflict prevention in developing countries.   read more…

The European Union: Migration debate, xenophobia, racism and right-wing extremism

2 February 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General

Flag of Europe (Latest update: 14 February 2020) It is actually unbelievable: the wall fell, fortunately the Soviet Union failed in its own right, as a result of which most of the Eastern Bloc gained its freedom. There was great hope for democracy, freedom and the rule of law. Especially in the eastward expansion of the EU, which only knows freedom from history lessons, the hope for freedom and democracy was huge. It is all the more surprising that parts of the populations have once again been seduced by nationalist demagogues. From the east, this nationalistic nonsense finally rubbed off into East Germany, which was formerly part of the Eastern Bloc. Where the journey will eventually lead to remains open by now. It will certainly not be pleasing for while.   read more…

Routes of El legado andalusi/Al-Andalus

4 October 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, European Union, General, Living, Working, Building, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, UNESCO World Heritage

© Morningstar1814/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Morningstar1814/cc-by-sa-3.0

In the 8th century, the Iberian Peninsula saw the arrival of Arabs and Berbers who mixed with the Roman-Visigoth inhabitants, engendering what was known as Al-Andalus. This successful medieval Muslim civilisation extended, at its peak, to most of what is today Spain and Portugal, until its downfall in the late 15th century.   read more…

European Day of Jewish Culture

1 September 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: European Union, General

EDJC 2019

EDJC 2019

The European Day of Jewish Culture is an event celebrated in several countries in Europe. The aim of this day is to organize activities related to Jewish culture and expose them to the public, with the intention that it would reveal the cultural and historical heritage of the Jewish people. The activities are coordinated by the European Association for the Preservation and Promotion of Jewish Culture (AEPJ), the European Council of Jewish Communities, B’nai B’rith Europe and the Network of Jewish Quarters in Spain.   read more…

The European Library

19 August 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: European Union, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries

© The European Library

© The European Library

The European Library is an Internet service that allows access to the resources of 49 European national libraries and an increasing number of research libraries. Searching is free and delivers metadata records as well as digital objects, mostly free of charge. The objects come from institutions located in countries which are members of the Council of Europe and range from catalogue records to full-text books, magazines, journals and audio recordings. Over 200 million records are searchable, including 24 million pages of full-text content and more than 7 million digital objects. Thirty five different languages are represented among the searchable objects. The content of the European Library was frozen on 31 December 2016, with no new updates after that date.   read more…

The European Union: The Brexit

23 July 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General

Dover - Brexit by Banksy © Paul Bissegger/cc-by-sa-4.0

Dover – Brexit by Banksy © Paul Bissegger/cc-by-sa-4.0

(Latest update: 16 February 2020) Brexit, not even legally binding (insofar, the Brexit vote has about the same weight as if the British would had voted on the weather, with the result that from now on the sun would have to shine 365 days a year over the island – but at least there would be a chance to get upset about heaven’s mistakes, instead of trying to blame Brussels for any wrong decision by the British government) and at best a recommendation (while the actual conduct of the referendum was a big foolishness by David Cameron, just to calm down a few ultranationalistic backbenchers from within his own party (YouGov, 24 February 2015: Record support for staying in the European Union, Forbes, 20 January 2016: Brexit Is All About Taxation And Regulation Without Representation, The Guardian, 31 August 2017: Will Brexit boost or hurt the economy? (Economists for Free Trade, a pro-Brexit lobby initiative), The Guardian, 17 January 2019: So what is David Cameron really doing now?)), already causes some turbulences even before the actual execution (once scheduled for 29 March 2019), not least because the British government doesn’t have enough experts to negotiate Brexit adequately. Negotiations with third countries are negotiated by Brussels for the EU, so that member countries were able to reduce their competences (in the United Kingdom, 30,000 additional civil servants have to be recruited following Brexit. That’s another reason why the Tories should actually have serial heart attacks). In the case of an exit from the EU, this obviously has a very unfavorable effect on the future third country.   read more…

The European Union: 2019 European Parliament election

27 May 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General

(Latest update: 9 January 2020) From May 23 to 26, 2019, the European elections took place. By far the biggest surprise is that, despite Brexit, the United Kingdom took part in the elections because the country voted to leave the EU by a very small majority, but ultimately was not able to find the exit in time. The motto “Brexit means Brexit” is obviously not as easy to implement as the Brexiteers falsely propagated before the referendum, because the political camps define the exit very differently, making the inner-British process of exit preparations look grotesque, comedic, outrageous, outlandish to ludicrous and leaves the country deeply divided. Although it has been reported more frequently that participation in the United Kingdom’s European elections could be seen as a second Brexit referendum, it is more likely that the British outside Greater London used the election as a “rage vote” to slap the Tories and Labour for various reasons, while the biggest liar on the part of Brexiteers, Nigel Farage (besides Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg and others), emerged as the winner of the election. A result that is just as unbelievable as the entire Brexit preparations on the part of the British.   read more…

The European Union: Real Estate and Demography

25 May 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, Editorial, European Union, Living, Working, Building

(Latest update: 16 February 2020) First, there is not THE real estate market – not national and certainly not international. In fact, the market situation is very fragmented due to the general conditions, in other words, many individual markets, collectively referred to as “the market”. Metropolitan Area A faces different challenges than Metropolitan Area B and Metropolitan Area C can not even understand what A and B are talking about. Where there is comparability, is the housing situation in the “affordable segment” in urban centers in all western EU states, the US and Canada. This is where the call for the state, which should intervene regulatively, quickly becomes louder. In free market economies, however, this is on the one hand not wanted and therefore on the other hand, only limited possible. That’s pretty okay, because the market is inherently profit-oriented and that’s just what it will stay, otherwise investment incentives for new construction would sooner or later be completely absent. The “rental price brake” (Mietpreisbremse) exemplifies the problem. At the same time, more and more social housing is being let out of the rental price brake without replacement investment being made. In the following, single aspects are examined in more detail using the example of Germany, whereby the scenarios can also be transferred to other western EU states, the USA, Canada, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong or Tel Aviv in Israel.   read more…

The European Free Trade Association: Bon voyage!

9 March 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, UNESCO World Heritage

© 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…

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