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The dual threat of climate change to Europe’s last indigenous people. Climate change affects us all. Both the effects of climate change itself, and the measures that need to be taken to deal with it affect our lives. However, some groups are hit harder by this than others. Especially people who depend on their natural…

The political groups in the European Parliament at a glance. When you think of European Union (EU) politics, one of the first things that will probably come to mind is that it is all quite complicated. In this article, you have already read all about European political parties and how they differ from national parties,…

The land rights of the Sámi over their traditional territories. Discussions about Indigenous communities and their rights often feel like a world away for Europeans. We hear about it from countries like Australia and the United States, or it comes up when discussing the rain forests of South America. What a lot of people do…

How do they work?  Who are we going to vote for in June this year (2024)? European political party, Europarty, a political group in the European Parliament? Faithful to its tradition of giving greatly similar names to its structures, like the eternal dilemma of the Councils, the EU does not exactly make it easier for…

A small but brave country where security is not a given. Lithuania, the southernmost country of the three Baltic States consists largely of forest. Where the capital Vilnius is also known as the “Rome of the Baltic States” and one of the few capitals you can fly over in a hot-air balloon. It is a…

Looking back at the 2019 European elections and looking ahead at the elections in June. Hungary is known for its thermal baths, Goulash and Europe’s largest festival, Sziget. However, it is also known for the prime minister’s difficult relationship with Europe and controversial legislation. This article provides an in-depth look at Hungary’s role in Europe.…

The Proposed Regulatory Framework for Artificial Intelligence. “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight, maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish. I mean, with artificial intelligence, we’re summoning the demon.”  – Elon Musk, 2014, MIT Aeronautics and Astronautics Department,…

Can we really have it all under the European AI Act? The hot topic in the European Union (EU) nearing the end of the year is definitely AI. Policy-makers in Brussels are working on a tight timeframe, while politicians from around the Union are trying to voice and push for their concerns. Businesses providing AI-powered…

 Looking back at the 2019 EP elections and a look ahead to those in 2024. Denmark. The land of Lego, bicycles, the Little Mermaid, and Hygge (“coziness”). The country of Europe’s oldest monarchy and the world’s oldest recognized flag. The country is one of the happiest in the world year after year. Of prosperity, politeness,…

European law in six easy steps! You probably already know that the European Union (EU) is a group of 27 European countries that work together on various issues, like trade, sustainability, product standards, and more. To do this, the EU adopts rules that support the EU’s goals. Among others, the EU is currently going through…

The contextualisation of the conflict between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh. On 19 September 2023, Azerbaijan launched an attack on the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan claims it did this after four Azerbaijani soldiers and two civilians were killed in the enclave that same month. A ceasefire was declared rather quickly after the attack, so…

A look ahead to the European Parliament elections on 6 – 9 June. In June 2024, the European Parliament elections will be held again. For the tenth time, citizens of the European Union Member States will elect the members of the European Parliament (EP). Although it still seems far away, European politicians are already starting…

Shedding light on the EU’s future path towards a self-sustaining defense capacity.  Defense integration could be imperative for ensuring the internal stability of the European Union (EU) in the long term. The EU has been steadily advancing its ambitions in this area over the last decade. Right now, it has the opportunity to accelerate the…

The potential impact of the Slovak elections on support for Ukraine. Following the September 2023 Slovak parliamentary elections, the European Union (EU) and Ukraine may have something to worry about. The recent Slovak parliamentary elections saw the return of Robert Fico to national office. The success of Fico and his populist left party, Smer-SSD (in…

All you need to know about the history of this 55-year-old parliament. Every five years, we get to vote for the European Parliament, and Europeans will have this opportunity again in June 2024 for the ninth time. After India, the Parliament has the largest electorate (the number of people who can vote). But how did…

Examining the regulatory power of the European Union. Having relied on special lightning ports for more than a decade, the latest generation of iPhones suddenly is equipped with a USB-C charger. Not because Apple executives were so eager for change. Nor because of the American Congress introducing new legislation for a company whose headquarters are…

Everything you need to know about the European Parliament.  In June 2024, we can go to the polls again to vote for the European Parliamentary elections, but what are we actually voting for? In recent years, the European Union (EU) has gained the reputation of being a complicated organisation, made up of a hotchpotch of…

The history and current role of botanical gardens, and the mutual cooperation between them.  Exotic plants that you normally never see, the sweet smell in the tropical greenhouses or the special style of a Japanese garden. These are the views that surround you in botanical gardens. But there is more going on in the green…

How European trade supports the illegal Israeli settlement economy. In the war between Israel and Hamas, the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian Territories plays an important role. The construction and expansion of illegal settlements in these territories is condemned by the international community because it violates international humanitarian law and human rights treaties. International condemnation…

How European investment in Israel’s illegal settlement economy stands in the way of sustainable peace. On October 7, 2023, the world was shocked by an attack by the terror organization Hamas on Israel, resulting in the killing, wounding, and/or kidnapping of hundreds of Israelis. A day later, Israel officially declared a state of war. Since…

The European Union’s position in the battle for our galaxy. In late August, a special event took place in the world of space exploration; India became the fourth country ever, after the former Soviet Union in 1959, the United States in 1969, and China in 2019, to safely land a rocket on the moon. Not…

The position of fossils in the debate about looted art. Looted art is a subject that has received increasing attention over the past few decades. Often this involves art objects that were taken from colonies and have since resided in European museums. There also exists disagreement between European countries about “stolen” objects. The discussion often…

Why the Union List on invasive alien species is so important. Intensive luggage searches at customs looking for… fruit? You may have seen it on the TV programme Border Security. The Australian version of this programme follows the country’s customs. They have to deal with all kinds of matters, including drug smuggling or the import…

Bringing mass tourism to a halt: How Slovenia is putting sustainable tourism on the map. The small, central European country of Slovenia has been discovered by more and more tourists in recent years. And rightly so, because the little country has an awful lot to offer. From the lively and trendy capital of Ljubljana to…

Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union and national parliamentary elections. 1 July marked the beginning of the fifth Spanish presidency of the Council of the European Union (‘the Council’). The Council has a rotating presidency, meaning that every six months, another Member State chairs the meetings. From 1 July 2023 until 31…

More mining as a solution but also an obstacle to a climate-neutral 2050. In 2020, the European Commission presented the Green Deal, an outline of plans for the European Union to halve CO2 emissions by 2030 and even make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. It is an ambitious but also necessary goal as…

Why period poverty is not as far removed as it may seem. On December 6, 2022, the Tweede Kamer (House of Representatives) of the Dutch government passed a motion supporting free menstrual products for people with low income in the Netherlands. In 2023, an additional €2 million is allocated to fight period poverty. The promise…

Why the EU fails to solve the Migrant Crisis. In recent years, Europe has faced a significant migration crisis as millions of people have fled war, persecution, and poverty in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The crisis has placed a huge burden on countries in the European Union (EU), particularly those located on the…

The awkward relationship between privacy and law enforcement. George Orwell’s ‘1984’ foreshadowed a terrifying dystopian reality, in which each individual is subjected to the far-stretching surveillance techniques of the state. The Edward Snowden revelations in 2013 showed that Orwell’s reality was perhaps closer than ever, pointing at large-scale data-collection which even went as far as…

An overview of all participants in the Eurovision Song Contest 2023.  Some people schedule their Sundays around Formula 1 races, some people live for the Champions League, and some wait all year to see people from all over Europe (and beyond) perform on a stage. Yes, we are part of the last group and we…

Explanations for the rise of right-wing nationalism in Sweden and Italy. In the first article on right-wing nationalism in Sweden and Italy, we explained how right-wing nationalism as an ideology grew during the past elections in these two countries. We compared some of the central election themes of the right-wing nationalist Sverigedemokraterna (Sweden Democrats, SD)…

Examining the rise of right-wing nationalism in Sweden and Italy. Sweden and Italy. Two countries that, at first glance, have fairly little in common. Yet it turns out that Sweden and Italy are a lot more alike than initially thought – at least socially and politically. Whereas Sweden has always been known as a social-democratic…

Some recent developments of the war in Ukraine highlighted. Exactly one year ago, on 24 February 2022, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began. At the time, this website covered the war several times from different perspectives. For instance, one could read articles about the European Union’s (EU) reaction to the invasion, the role of social media…

Preserving Competition through the Digital Markets Act. In recent years, the all-too-familiar ‘Big Tech’ has been taking over local, regional, and global markets. The European Union has been striving to adapt to this new reality by adopting legislation that is better suited to tackle the challenges arising from the digital economy. One such challenge is…

Everything you need to know about the Czech presidential elections. The Czech Republic starts 2023 with the election of a new president. The winner of the elections, of which the second round will be held on the 27th and 28th of January, will replace current president Miloš Zeman who has to step down after two…

Why knowing how to fact-check is the most important weapon. It is on a Friday afternoon in Summer 2020 that a gray-haired man orders a beer next to me on a sunny terrace. The dark circles under his eyes betray he probably had a long few days at work. A few moments later, the guy…

How “made in the European Union” is guaranteed. The European Union is rich in a variety of culinary traditions. Examples include French camembert, Italian Parma ham, Greek Ouzo and Irish Whiskey. Europeans are proud of their culinary delights and for this reason, these products are legally protected by the EU through geographical indications. That may…

On menstrual leave, period poverty and breaking the taboo surrounding menstruation  (Menstrual Hygiene Day – part 2). On May 28, 2022, International Menstrual Hygiene Day, Shaping Europe’s first article in the series on menstruation was published. Welcome back to everyone who has already read the article! Did you miss the previous article? If so, just…

Women about their menstruation and the taboo surrounding periods (Menstrual Hygiene Day – part 1). Today, 28 May 2022, is Menstrual Hygiene Day. And unfortunately there is a big chance that you didn’t know that. Even though approximately half of the world population menstruates (part of their life), there is still a stigma around the…

  More than two billion people globally incorporate insects into their diets. While there are several reasons for this, varying across questions of tradition and culture, for the most part, the decision of including insects was made out of necessity. In many parts of the world, meat remains a luxury item and not something that…

Dates of Eurovision: Semi-finals: 10/05 and 12/05. Grand Final:14/05 This year has seen Europe face the possibility of all out war on the continent, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Relations between Russia and the rest of the world are at an all time low. Financial sanctions have, to a degree, closed Russia’s economy off from…

All you need to know about the Eurovision Song Contest 2022. Dust off the silver glitter dresses, because it’s almost time for our favourite time of the year: the Eurovision Song Contest! You know, the one week when Europeans are reminded that Moldova exists, the UK is completely humiliated by getting zero points and the…

Europe Day 2022 – Monday 9th May With the memories of the Second World War burning vividly in the minds of many Europeans, there came a momentum to craft something truly new, something that would strike out the possibility of further war and bring forth a new era of cooperation for the European continent.  In…

Living with neurodiversity in our society. Last week, on World Autism Awareness Day, you could read the first part of our neurodiversity series. For those who have already, welcome back! For those of you who have not read last week’s introductory article, you can  find it here. This article is a sequel, so it is…

How the Russian gas trade can be used to exert political pressure. “Russia can only afford to fight because of its oil and gas. Russia’s main weapon against Europe is its threat to cut off oil and gas. So it might be wise to stop using oil and gas now that we have workable alternatives.…

Why neurodiversity is misunderstood and forgotten in our society. In recent years, fortunately more and more attention has been paid to inclusiveness and diversity in our society. Discussions about why women earn less than men or why people of colour are underrepresented in higher education are becoming more frequent in the public debate. This attention…

  Social media has been heavily criticised in the last years for its negative impacts on mental health and its overall far-reaching influence on our daily lives. However, in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, social media has fueled international cohesion and mobilised immense compassion. This movement did not halt at the screens of…

  Concerns that the European Union lacks transparency have increased among civil society groups, journalists, and EU citizens in recent years. Access to European Union documents is and has always been a fundamental tool for ensuring transparency and increasing the accountability of EU public officials. However, recently it has become increasingly clear that the mechanisms…

On Thursday the 24th of February 2022, a shadow that many thought had been left in the dustbin of history descended once again over the European continent. In a sudden and unprovoked attack, the Russian Federation invaded Ukraine from three sides, swiftly ending any hopes for a peaceful resolution to the escalating tensions caused by…

Why not all cosmetics in Europe are, by definition, cruelty-free. Mascara, shaving cream, perfume, shampoo and toothpaste. At first glance, this seems like a random list of products that many of us use on a daily basis. Together with a number of others,all of these can be categorised as cosmetics. Cosmetics does not only describe…

By the People, For the People 8,600 ideas, 14,900 comments, 31,000 participants and 3,180 events constitute an unprecedented EU-wide event —the conference on the future of Europe. It was initiated to include European citizens in the process of possibly reforming the European Union. The conference is structured according to the bottom-up approach and involves various…

A reflection of the challenges of 2021 and the opportunities of 2022 Now the New Year’s Eve celebrations are disappearing from the rear-view mirror, we wanted to briefly reflect on some of the biggest challenges the EU has faced last year and consider what the first full year in a global pandemic has brought the…

How a circular economy is going to change Europe’s economic future The economy must grow every year. That is the mantra that generations have grown up with. When you have economic growth, a country is doing well. Economic growth is expressed in terms of GDP, the Gross Domestic Product. This figure is the sum of…

Tis’ the season The digital commerce sector in Europe has significantly expanded since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, safely providing consumers access to goods in times when severe restrictions are in place to protect people’s health. In 2020, 73% of the EU-27’s population shopped online (up from 68% in 2019) – a trend that…

Opinion Piece Today our guest writer Henk Keilman provides his perspective on authoritarianism and capitalism in China and the West, arguing that despite China’s successes, in the long run only democratic countries will succeed in providing sustainable economic prosperity.  The EU and its predecessors were founded after WWII for three key reasons: ending the endless…

  Cyprus, the birthplace of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, is a captivating east Mediterranean island, full of ancient history, stunning beaches and luscious food and wine. It also possesses the last divided capital of Europe: Nicosia. In this city, as long as you are in the Greek-speaking South, you are able to pay with euros,…

Arriving at COP26 This week world leaders meet at the 26th conference of the parties, or COP26 for short, with the aim of charting a path towards a sustainable future for humanity. This currently involves a widely shared pledge for net-zero emissions by 2050 and a global temperature increase of no more than 1.5℃. The…

A crash course in circular economy. ‘There is only one planet Earth, yet by 2050, the world will be consuming as if there were three’ This is how the European Commission begins its Circular Economy Action Plan, which was published in March 2020. This statement is not unfounded. Research by the OECD, a group of…

From the periphery to the most important issue of our age The fight against climate change has been more than 50 years in the making. From the first Earth Day, held on April 22 1970, which ignited the world’s citizens to go out and protest to protect their environment, to the first major international legislation…

Meet Facebook’s Oversight Board As Facebook’s membership slowly inches towards 3 billion, content moderation is increasingly becoming a task riddled with legal and political pitfalls. The company strives to serve all the different types of users, cultures, and political systems that inhabit the platform, and failings have repeatedly brought Facebook under severe public scrutiny. In…

The votes are in On Sunday 26th of September 2021, the German federal elections took place. The race had been enticing, but also surprising. Angela Merkel’s party, the CDU (Christian Democratic Union of Germany – conservative/right center) is facing after sixteen years of leading the government a historical low with 24,1% of the second votes…

A brief overview of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Let us take a trip back to the beginning of summer 2021: several news outlets were headlining an event that brought renewed attention to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, but the cause for its flare-up came from a fairly unexpected place. This time, it was the world…

An Explosion in Popularity and Energy Demand Whether it’s been the uncertainty surrounding traditional stock investments, challenges faced by national authorities in the wake of the pandemic, public endorsement by celebrities and financial institutions, or the more primal lure of making a small fortune overnight, interest in cryptocurrency has skyrocketed since the beginning of the…

What populists in the Netherlands, Sweden and Italy have in common  (part 1) An economic and financial crisis shaking the bedrock of the European economy, a significant increase in net migration from outside the EU, ethnic tension fuelled by opportunistic politicians, Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have all left established democratic countries reeling.…

Truth or Fiction in the EU? In September 2020, during the State of the Union address, Ursula von der Leyen said: ‘if you are a parent in one country, you are a parent in every country,’ when announcing the European Commission’s plan to put forward a strategy to strengthen LGBTQI+ rights. Currently, this is far…

The new EU crisis strategy in action ‘Infectious diseases, like Europeans, cross borders’. It is a statement that feels a bit obvious in the midst of a pandemic, but when it was penned down by some intern at the European Commission back in 2018 it was nothing more than an ominous warning of how a…

The Grand Finale This year’s Eurovision Song Contest is taking place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. After 44 years without a win, Duncan Lawrence’s Arcade broke the drought. For the first time in the competition’s history, due to the Covid pandemic, the competition was cancelled and pushed back to 2021. In order to address the rising…

Motives for a multi-speed Europe.  The deadlock of unanimity  The European Union is a vastly complex international organisation in which every decision needs to be checked by a variety of institutions before it can be implemented and maintained by the member states (MS). Of these institutions, the European Council, the European Parliament and the European…

On Europe’s responsibility for responsible trade.  The EU integrative process has served as an important model for other regional integration efforts, such as ASEAN in East Asia, the African Union in Africa and Mercosur in South America. The latter has been an important commercial partner of the EU and both signed a free trade agreement…

Europe on centre stage When we think about events that put Europe on centre stage, people tend to think of the Champions League or the Euros where clubs and countries compete for the ultimate prize – to be named champions of European football. In the 1950s, the same decade that these competitions debuted, the various…

What nostalgia in Central Europe can teach us about East-West relations in the 21st century. In June 2015 supermarket chain Lidl launched a special campaign in the Czech Republic that surpassed everyone’s expectations. During this period, aptly named Retro týden (Retro week), Lidl brought back around 40 items from the 1970’s. In other words: items…

The historical context of EU-Africa relations post-colonisation. This series will investigate various dimensions of the relations between the EU and Africa. This first part looks at the emerging relation after colonisation, it will form a historical context on which the following articles are built. Africa is often seen as one entity, however in  reality it…

The extreme-right Vox party is all but guaranteed to join the coalition. The fascist Caudillo of Spain, Francisco Franco, died in 1975 deciding that his successor would be the next in line to the throne of the Spanish monarchy: Juan Carlos I of Bourbon. The new king would launch the basis of a democratic reform…

Europe’s move to a more circular economy.  The allure of new, cheap, and convenient has slowly suppressed the desire for long-living, repairable, products. Whilst potentially not always a conscious decision by the consumer, we have come to expect that the electronic products we bring home won’t live with us as long as we might like.…

The relationship between climate change, racism and social inequality. The story begins in Warren County in 1982. Warren is a small county in the United States and is situated in the state of North Carolina. The county had a population of 16.232 people according to the 1980 census and is most famous for its historical…

How a global pandemic has fueled European fiscal integration efforts. The year 2020 started with an optimism that now feels strangely distant: a new European Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen, teeming with impatience and ambition; Commissioner Timmermans’ Green Deal, and a new energetic European Council President Charles Michel looking to move the European…

Shedding a light on the significance of the shadow banking sector in the EU. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) exposed a number of crucial fault lines in the global financial and banking systems, of which shadow banking was at the very centre. The period following the crisis saw significant reform to the supervisory structures of…

How should Europe protect critical infrastructure against foreign hostile investments? On October 11th, 2020, the “Foreign Direct Investments Screening Regulation” came into force. While such foreign direct investment (FDI) frameworks already exist in some member states, it has so far been missing at the EU level. However, we find that 12 out of 27 member…

What can the European Union learn from its past? – Part I. Winston Churchill’s speech at Zurich University in 1946, calling for a ‘kind of United States of Europe’ would have been unprecedented a decade before. In 1936, the Spanish civil war would be rampant in the Iberian Peninsula, Germany and Italy would consolidate their…

Analysis: The impact of the Dutch 2021 elections on Europe. Please note, at the moment this article went to press the final results of the election had not yet been announced. This article will be updated if the distribution of seats changes.  Voters in the Netherlands this week have handed Mark Rutte, the outgoing Prime…

Regulating market “gatekeepers”. At the beginning of the 21st century, the European Union implemented the e-Commerce Directive that has “the foundational legal framework for online services in the Internal Market.” Over the past 20 years, the way we use the internet has changed from a desktop computer and dial up to being in our mobile…

The challenges of the EU’s new rule of law mechanism.  The rule of law is one of the foundational values of the European Union and is the cornerstone of any well-functioning democracy. The Union institutions have repeatedly highlighted the importance of this principle, referring to it as a precondition for protecting all other fundamental EU…

The challenges of creating a European standard on wages. “I want to ensure that work pays. In a Social Market Economy, every person that is working full time should earn a minimum wage that pays for a decent living. Therefore, we will develop a framework, of course in respect of the different labour markets.” –…

The consequences of amendment 165 and amendment 171  Almond drink, vegeterrier, plant-based alternative to yogurt, veggie bakes. These are all names of products that we can classify under the name ‘plant-based alternatives’. These alternatives are available in large quantities in the supermarket and are here to stay because veganism is hot. The rising popularity of…

Why the EU should get involved in peace building between Armenia and Azerbijan. After 44 days of intense fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, silence fell over Nagorno-Karabakh. In accordance with a ceasefire agreement brokered by the Russian Federation roughly 70 percent of the territory of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh was to be turned…

A deep dive into Europe-China trade relations – Part II. “The most ambitious agreement that China has ever concluded with a third country.” This is how the European Commission chose to label its recently announced “Comprehensive Agreement on Investment” (CAI) with China. A big and seemingly consequential statement, one which on the surface seems to…

Is the Commission’s attempt to improve fundamental rights protection enough?  On 2 December 2020, the European Commission presented its Strategy to strengthen the application of the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the European Union, setting out a 10-year plan for its implementation. Through its Strategy, the Commission aims to ensure the Charter is applied to…

Trying to do the right thing with Covid-19 measures. Would the EU have succeeded? In crisis management, there is rarely the possibility to please everyone. The Covid-19 virus in the EU context is a particularly good example of  this: With core values including the freedom of movement and civil liberties, many governments were faced with…

How to ban harmful cosmetics from the European market? Europe loves cosmetics. From deodorant to make-up, from sunscreen to day cream. Almost 500 million Europeans use cosmetics on a daily basis and it shows; with a turnover of 79.8 billion euros in 2019, the European cosmetics market is the largest in the world. Cosmetics are…

A deep dive into Europe-China trade relations – Part I. A systemic rival. When the EU labelled China this way in 2019, perhaps not everyone noticed. Yet, it is an event with important political consequences. After all, most people know that the relationship with China is incredibly important to the European Union. At the same…

Why knowledge of the EU is important for European citizenship. During the American presidential elections, half of the Dutch population knew exactly how the electoral college, and all kinds of other underlying electoral laws worked. At the same time, many Dutch people and other Europeans still do not know exactly how our own European institutions…

Lessons from Jeroen Dijsselbloem’s “Euro Crisis – The Inside Story”. With the Coronavirus spreading, besides the unfolding human tragedy, the economy is taking a hit as well. Business trips and meetings are being cancelled, and the stock market is already taking losses due to uncertainty. Is Europe’s single monetary union able to cope with the…

What we can learn from America’s New Deal. Europe’s Green Deal has the ambition of making Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050. European Commission President Von der Leyen means business, she even referred to the Green Deal as Europe’s moon landing moment. If Europe would manage to become emission free by 2050, that…

The EU’s tool box to save Poland and Hungary’s democracies. Independent judges, free media, protection against discrimination and the freedom of thought and religion. They all depend on strong rule of law. In a democracy with the rule of law, the government faces checks and balances from other institutions, such as the judiciary. A democracy…