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…

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: 11 November 2019) 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 on March 29, 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: 12 November 2019) 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: 29 October 2019) 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…

Union for the Mediterranean: Bon voyage!

12 January 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Editorial, European Union, General, UNESCO World Heritage, 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 (the western and middle part of the Middle East & North Africa region (MENA)) 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 scenic, architecturally and culturally very diverse. Cities, lakes, mountains, beaches and national parks offer everything that promises fun, recreation and perfect vacations. The cultural offers are numerous. In addition to many UNESCO World Heritage sites, there are numerous galleries, museums, theaters and opera houses. Of course, there are plenty of shopping and entertainment possibilities. However, holiday pleasure is not untroubled in all countries. At present, Syria and Libya in general, Mauritania (Sahara and Sahel) and Lebanon (North Lebanon and the border regions to Syria and Israel), Palestine (Gaza Strip) should be partly avoided. In all other countries of the Levant and North Africa, increased caution, vigilance and prudence are recommended. At the end of each country portrait is a link to the U.S. Department of State, in order to be able to find out about the current security situation on the ground.   read more…

The European Union: Bon voyage!

10 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Berlin, Editorial, European Union, General, Hamburg, London, Paris, 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?

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

(Latest update: 12 November 2019) Best of all first: The EU and the Eurozone today have 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 nicely written white paper by the European Commission, which presents possible scenarios until 2025, isn’t enough. What is needed is a “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 to 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…

European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture

3 August 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, Design & Products, European Union

© europa.eu

© europa.eu

The European Union Prize for Contemporary ArchitectureMies van der Rohe Award is a Prize given biennially by the European Union and the Fundació Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona, “to acknowledge and reward quality architectural production in Europe”.   read more…

Transatlantic relations

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

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

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

(Latest update: 11 November 2019) 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…

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