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Friday, 11 September 2015 09:08

Greece walking the tight-rope

Written by
VignettaGrecia Alice
Cartoon by Alice Baruffato

This month Alice Baruffato continues her series of cartoons for E&M and focuses on the hot topic that is the Greek crisis. With the sweeping "no" in the Greek referendum regarding the EU austerity measures leading to the resignation of minister of finance Yanis Varoufakis and eventually also of prime minister Alexis Tsipras, Greece's instability was a concern for the whole of Europe. Greece's future seems wholly unpredictable; the first female prime minister for Greece, Vassiliki Thanou, will head the caretaker government until the elections, but will she help Greece cross the tight-rope and reach the financial and political stability it so longs for?

Friday, 05 June 2015 15:43

David Cameron and the European train

Written by
Vignetta def

 

This month Alice Baruffato continues her series of cartoons for E&M and focuses on an evergreen European topic, alias the UK and its relationship with Europe. Following the general elections' results, David Cameron has re-confirmed himself as the leader of an island that seems to be sceptical about its future presence within the Union. To renegotiate the right of freedom of movement across Europe and to stop (il)legal immigration still appear to be top priorities in 2015 UK. But can Cameron stop the European train? Is it really worth it?  

 

EVS4ALL1
Photo: Courtesy of the Allianz Cultural Foundation
 

The group who met in Berlin to launch the EVS4ALL project  

 

At the end of April 2015 the Allianz Cultural Foundation welcomed a variety of different groups from across Europe to their Berlin headquarters to launch the EVS4ALL project. As one of the media partners of the event, E&M’s Chris Ruff was there to witness two days of knowledge sharing, diligent planning and infectious optimism for the future of Europe.

 

"We are Europe!" was the rallying cry of the late, great German sociologist Ulrich Beck as he, with his close friend and fellow European titan, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, sat down to write a manifesto for the future of Europe.

 

What they envisaged was a Europe built "from the bottom-up". A Europe far removed from the technocratic elites who so often dominate the news. A Europe "for taxi drivers and theologians, for workers and the workless, for managers and musicians, for teachers and trainees, for sculptors and sous-chefs, for supreme court judges and senior citizens, for men and women".

 

In order to disentangle ourselves from the clutches of the euro-crisis, we must re-build our civil society and rediscover those traits which bind us together, instead of those which tear us apart.

 

But how, I hear you ask, is this wonderful Europe of people supposed to happen? And haven’t we been moving precisely in the other direction in the years since the great crash of 2008?

twitter
Photo: Rosaura Ochoa (Flickr); Licence: CC BY 2.0
 

The double-sided nature of Twitter and social media in general 

 

It takes few seconds. 140 characters or a post on Facebook and we can share our ideas and go viral. But are we really aware of the consequences a single and easy gesture like pushing the button "tweet" or "publish" can have? Are we free to speak our mind online without worrying we are using a device or a type of connection which might get us in trouble? E&M author Petya Yankova interviewed Sanja Kelly, project director of an initiative called Freedom on the Net, about the findings of their latest report on freedom of expression online. What are the latest debates centred on and what is the response of young people in Europe to getting their rights infringed?

Meeting Belarusians for the first time, foreigners might not understand why every time someone makes a joke, they would put their wrists in front of their lips to whisper "Lukashenko". It’s an elusive reference for the commonly spread knowledge of governmental surveillance within the country. The name of the Belarusian president has become a synonym for the Big Brother, always watching from the shadows. Is there another country in Europe which recognises and still makes fun of repressions and privacy violations? Even the gesture-loving Italians do not have a hand movement for giving away your privacy involuntarily.

Belarus in only one of the countries where freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and other human rights are under threat. Violations of these fundamental rights invariably extend online but Ukraine's northern neighbour is far from being the only country in Europe where websites are banned, political content blocked and user rights blatantly disregarded.

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