Tag Archives: European Union

Britain’s new prime minister has a chance to reset ties with the White House – but a range of thorny issues and the US election make it more tricky

By Garret Martin, American University School of International Service. Published 7-5-2024 by The Conversation

Keir Starmer and his wife Victoria cast their votes in the 2024 General Election. Photo: Keir Starmer/flickr/CC

The new U.K. prime minister, Sir Keir Starmer, will have just a couple of days to settle into the job before facing his first test on the global stage.

Having presided over a landslide victory for his party on July 4, 2024, Starmer will head to Washington, D.C., for a crucial NATO summit starting July 9. Days later he will host over 50 European leaders for the European Political Community meeting.

Amid many global challenges, Starmer has an opportunity to show that the U.K. is back on the world stage. In particular, with many Western leaders facing serious headwinds at home – think Emmanuel Macron in France or Olaf Scholz in Germany – Starmer has a chance to re-establish the U.K. as the key partner for the U.S. in Europe.

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In Snap Election, French Left Forms Alliance To Counter Far Right and Neoliberals

Leaders of the new alliance vowed to “extinguish the flame” of Marine Le Pen’s far-right party and make a “total break” from President Emmanuel Macron’s anti-worker policies.

By Edward Carver. Published 6-14-2024 by Common Dreams

Image: Nouveau Front Populaire

France’s left-of-center parties announced on Thursday a new alliance aimed at countering both the ultranationalism of Marine Le Pen and the neoliberalism of President Emmanuel Macron in parliamentary elections that Macron called unexpectedly on Sunday.

The new alliance, called the Nouveau Front Populaire (NFP), formed following days of intense negotiations as several parties, most notably the center-left Parti Socialiste (PS) and the left-wing La France Insoumise (LFI), joined forces to put forth a common platform and avoid competing candidates in races for the 577 seats in the National Assembly.

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Scientists Blockade EU Commission Offices to Demand Degrowth

Amid elections in Europe, opponents of ongoing planetary destruction argue that the “science is clear: politicians’ obsession with infinite economic growth is leading us straight to disaster.”

By Edward Carver. Published 6-7-2024 by Common Dreams

Degrowth advocates from Scientist Rebellion and affiliated groups blocked the entryway to the European Commission office in Brussels on June 7, 2024. Using posters, they wrote a slogan, “The future is degrowth,” onto the building’s facade. (Photo: Growth Kills)

A group of about 20 scientists and allies on Friday blocked the doors to the European Commission office in Brussels to demand degrowth policies as European Union elections unfold in which no party has such an agenda and pro-environment candidates are expected to lose seats.

The degrowth advocates, who came from Scientist Rebellion and affiliated groups, called for the EU to stop using Gross Domestic Product as an index of prosperity and an end to “over-consumption and the advertising that drives it,” among other demands. Carrying placards with messages such as “Green growth is a myth,” they prevented employees of the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, from getting to work Friday morning, they said in an emailed statement.

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ISDS Courts Have Helped Fossil Fuel Firms Rake In $80 Billion in Public Money

“ISDS is the secret weapon for fossil fuel companies against climate laws,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley. Published 6-6-2024 by Common Dreams

Demonstration against the TTIP and ISDS in 2016. Photo: War on Want

A week after the European Union announced its withdrawal from the controversial Energy Charter Treaty, which has been criticized for being one of many global agreements that allow fossil fuel companies to sue governments, a coalition on Thursday released an analysis showing just how lucrative such deals have been for firms whose emissions are wrecking havoc on the planet.

The Transnational Institute, the Trade Justice Movement (TJM), Power Shift, and the Institute for Policy Studies joined forces to unveil the Global ISDS Tracker, which includes data on more than 1,300 cases that have made their way to secretive tribunals set up by investor-state dispute mechanisms in treaties including the Energy Charter Treaty.

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World Leaders Urged to Protect Syrian Refugees Amid Lebanon’s Crackdown

“Lebanon’s authorities must stop summarily deporting refugees to a place where they are at risk of violations, lift restrictions, and end their vitriolic campaign against refugees,” said one Amnesty campaigner.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 5-27-2024 by Common Dreams

Syrian refugee children in the Ketermaya refugee camp, outside Beirut, Lebanon on June 1, 2014. Photo: World Bank Photo Collection/flickr/CC

Amnesty International on Monday reiterated human rights groups’ rising concerns about a Lebanese crackdown on Syrian refugees as the European Union hosted a conference in Brussels focused on “supporting the future of Syria and the region.”

The conference comes at right-wing leaders in the E.U. campaign as anti-migrant ahead of the bloc’s June elections and after European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen in early May announced a three-year, €1 billion ($1.06 billion) assistance package to support “the most vulnerable people in Lebanon, including refugees, internally displaced persons, and host communities,” as well as “urgent domestic reforms” and “border and migration management.”

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‘We Must Fight Against Fascists’: Protests Greet Far-Right Summit in Spain

“We are not going to allow them to take even one step back,” one protester said as far-right political leaders set their sights on the European Union elections.

By Jessica Corbett. Published 5-20-2024 by Common Dreams

Dozens of people protest during a rally against the “Viva 24” event in Madrid, Spain on May 19, 2024. Photo: EFE Noticias/X

As European Union voters prepare for June elections, far-right leaders gathered in Madrid for a weekend rally hosted by Spain’s Vox party—a gathering at the Palacio de Vistalegre that drew protests and warnings about their plans for the continent.

Rally speakers delivered “strong messages against illegal migration and the bloc’s climate policy while declaring their support for Israel in its war against Hamas,” according to The Associated Press.

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US Pariah Status Grows as Finland Resumes UNRWA Funding

“Collectively punishing millions of Palestinians over allegations concerning a few individuals is never acceptable,” said one campaigner. “Other E.U. member states must follow.”

BY Brett Wilkins. Published 3-22-2024 by Common Dreams

An UNRWA staffer holds a traumatized Palestinian baby in Gaza on March 13, 2023. (Photo: UNRWA/Facebook)

As the United States doubled down on banning funds for the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, Finland said Friday that it would resume contributions to the lifesaving organization in an implicit rebuke of unsubstantiated Israeli claims—reportedly extracted via torture—that staff members were involved in the October 7 attacks.

Finnish Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Ville Tavio announced during a press conference that the country’s €5 million ($5.4 million) annual contribution to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) would be reinstated, with 10% of the funding reserved for “risk management.”

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Democracy is at risk in Guatemala, but there is still hope

The political elites are trying to prevent the inauguration of the president-elect in January 2024 at all costs

By Sanne Weber and Marlies Stappers. Published 12-20-2023 by openDemocracy

Bernardo Arévalo de León, President Elect of Guatemala, and Luis Almagro, OAS Secretary General. Photo: OEA – OAS/flickr/CC

Guatemala’s political future is uncertain since the elections in August, when opposition candidate Bernardo Arévalo won in a surprising landslide. Tensions are rising as 14 January, the date that Arévalo is meant to take office, is fast approaching.

Corrupt political elites are trying hard to prevent his presidency. Yet there has also been unprecedented support for Arévalo from the international community, Guatemala’s economic elite and the majority of the Guatemalan people.

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EU Deal on AI Act Is ‘Missed Opportunity’ to Ban Mass Surveillance, Say Privacy Groups

“Whilst the Parliament fought hard to limit the damage, the overall package on biometric surveillance and profiling is at best lukewarm,” said one advocate.

By Julia Conley. Published 12-9-2023 by Common Dreams

The European Union reached an agreement on December 8, 2023 regarding the use of artificial intelligence. Image: Electronic Frontier Foundation/CC

Privacy advocates on Saturday said the AI Act, a sweeping proposed law to regulate artificial intelligence in the European Union whose language was finalized Friday, appeared likely to fail at protecting the public from one of AI’s greatest threats: live facial recognition.

Representatives of the European Commission spent 37 hours this week negotiating provisions in the AI Act with the European Council and European Parliament, running up against Council representatives from France, Germany, and Italy who sought to water down the bill in the late stages of talks.

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‘Landmark Victory’: New York Passes Nation’s First Legislation Restricting Bee-Killing Pesticides

The Birds and Bees Protection Act would eliminate 80 to 90% of the neonics used in New York each year by banning applications that are either easily replaceable or do not give an economic boost to farmers.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 6-10-2023 by Common Dreams

Common eastern bumblebee, bombus impatiens, covered in pollen on a flower. Photo: Christa R./Flickr

New York state on Friday became the first state in the nation to pass legislation restricting neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) that are toxic to bees and other pollinators and wildlife.

The Birds and Bees Protection Act would eliminate 80 to 90% of the neonics used in New York each year by banning applications that are either easily replaceable or do not give an economic boost to farmers.

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