La Primera de Muchas

17888097_1259379007502561_1214337678_nAyer fue un día triste para el socialismo español. Ayer, mientras seguíamos discutiendo sobre un proceso interno que cada día que pasa nos va enfrentando un  poco más, murió a los 46 años Carme Chacón a causa de problemas cardiacos.

Carme Chacón materializaba gran parte del ideario socialista. De familia humilde, gracias a sus profundas convicciones progresistas, a su gran trabajo como concejala de Esplugas de Llobregat y a su labor como observadora en la OSCE  , consiguió hacerse  un hueco en el mundo de la política. Fue una férrea defensora de la “Nueva Vía” de Zapatero y todos los valores que ella representaba, convirtiéndose en una de los miembros  más populares del gobierno del presidente socialista.

Carme Chacón fue la primera mujer en llegar al cargo de  Ministra de Defensa  en España, pero no fue sólo eso, fue mucho más. Continue reading “La Primera de Muchas”

How to beat Merkel – and while doing so Socialists might also save the EU

Angela Merkel has just announced to re-run for the German Chancellorship in the upcoming Fall 2017 general election. If she wins she can prolong her reign, which started in 2005, a total of 16 years, the biggest in German history (tied only with Helmut Kohl 1982 – 1998, CDU). Over the years the reasoning by experts for her uncontested leadership, although with changing coalition partners, has varied but subsequently acclaimed she holds a high level of trust.

Continue reading “How to beat Merkel – and while doing so Socialists might also save the EU”

Civil disobedience in Sudan: Another Arab Spring?

“Peaceful” civil disobedience is always linked in the minds with Mahatama Ghandi’s march to the sea in protest of the British monopoly on salt, his most courageous act of civil disobedience against the famous British rule in India in 1930. However, this time the news come from Africa, specifically in Sudan where Sudanese  started on Sunday 27th of November 2016 a five-day civil disobedience with varying proportions of response among the residents of the country.

Continue reading “Civil disobedience in Sudan: Another Arab Spring?”

Europe Together: Three Common Sense Proposals for Digital Europe

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When talking about Europe’s Digital Union it is easy to get lost in abstract terms such as net neutrality, portability and geo-blocking. The S&D group even made a short glossary descripting the jargon, quite handy. Fortunately, it is also possible to briefly describe in everyday language what priorities I, as a young, non-expert yet assiduous internet and app user, would see as my priorities for digital Europe. Continue reading “Europe Together: Three Common Sense Proposals for Digital Europe”

Ireland’s Incomplete Revolution

When we see the word ‘Revolution’ we think of the French or Americans in the 18th century. We think of war, uprising, political turmoil, not 21st century Ireland.

The Revolution I speak of has a few factors.

  1. Growing opposition towards the Church’s role in Ireland & Irish politics
  2. Irish women standing up to the backwards Irish way of life.
  3. Most importantly, the repealthe8th movement for safe & legal access to abortion.

Continue reading “Ireland’s Incomplete Revolution”

We Will Miss You Barry

On 5 November 2008 I woke up with eyes full of emotional tears. Barack Obama, a charismatic Senator of mixed background, with a beautiful wife and two wonderful young daughters, had inspired millions and had just been elected President of the United States of America.

Continue reading “We Will Miss You Barry”

The decline of the Arabian Peninsula. Time for a party?

The Middle East is going up in flames but the Arabian Peninsula has for years been the prosperous exception. This is now changing. The countries of the GCC are experiencing decreasing demand for oil which is putting pressure on prices worldwide. Oil economies that stop selling oil will at some moment collapse. Its a scenario that the international community has to prepare for. The question that remains is if we should fear this development, or celebrate it.

There are many reasons why the demand for oil is decreasing. The main one is the lower-than-expected growth of industrialized economies. Especially the disappointing growth in Asia has negatively impacted the demand for oil and gas. But also other factors have played a role. The United States for example, although recovering from a financial crisis, has increased domestic oil production to become more self-supporting. The oil producing countries of the GCC however, had prepared for better times. They are now stuck with a surplus in oil and in no strategical position to increase their prices. Continue reading “The decline of the Arabian Peninsula. Time for a party?”

Remember the Heroes – The 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956

During the last week I had a chance to spend a few days in Brussels between 17th and 20th of October as a part of the Graduates of Democracy delegation to a series of meetings. I was happy to see the preparations to an event and exhibition for the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. It showed the appreciation of very important event in our history, not for just Hungary but for our common European heritage. The revolution lasting for only 18 days (between October 23 and November 10) gave an important lesson about our democratic and social values. Continue reading “Remember the Heroes – The 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956”

A Civil Society Struggle: Sending Food Waste to Waste

Unemployment. High deficit. Public debt. Bankruptcy. Recession. Troika.

I am sure at least one of these small, yet, very serious words come to mind when you ask any European about Portugal. The financial crisis turned the spotlight into this 10 million inhabitant’s country, which led to the request of financial aid in 2011. In terms of social justice, Portugal’s performance is rather fable, raking 20th out of the 28 EU member states. The average month income of Portuguese families downgraded from 948,58 euros in 2009 to 833, in 2014. In the same year about 10,9% of the Portuguese population was living on severe material deprivation. In terms of the long-term unemployment rate, the country ranks 5th and 6th when it comes to youth unemployment. One of the many consequences of adopting austerity measures is the creation of a wider gap of inequality as those who earn less are more affected. In 2013, Portugal’s poverty rate was 19,5% and it was the 9th most unequal country in the EU. One year later, 2 million people were living in poverty, which means one in every 5 Portuguese live with an average income lower than 422 euros and half a million people need alimentary help.[1]

Continue reading “A Civil Society Struggle: Sending Food Waste to Waste”

NATO: An Expensive Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, created in 1949 to insure Europe’s security by making sure Germany’s might wasn’t going to rise in an unchecked way whilst countering Russia’s growing and ominous stranglehold over the East, has changed a lot throughout history. In order to adapt itself to the evolution of its rivals – the USSR being the main one – the Alliance decided, for instance, to rearm Germany. The idea of having entire columns of Leopard main battle tanks within reach to face soviet ones in case a full invasion of Europe was to happen was actually one of the first symbol of the disagreements that were yet to rise between the Allies. As long as the West had a common foe, the Allies would be willing to compromise with each other: The French Republic, which was viscerally opposed to Germany having an army again, tried to establish a European Army composed of national battalions ([1]), but then, got into reverse; The Red Army storming Prague was an unfriendly reminder of what could happen on a larger scale if the Allies were not to act in a commonly agreed way. France, therefore, learnt how forgetting about its national obsessions – though understandable at that time – could pay off on the long run, even if it meant giving up on strategic interests first. Yet, the soviet threat, that was very real between 1949 and 1989, is now rightly or wrongly seen as an exaggerated one. But by whom? And to achieve what? Continue reading “NATO: An Expensive Self-Fulfilling Prophecy”