[Discussion] European Politics Discussion

European Politics discussion

Prederick wrote:

Not politics, but holy sh*t, at least 70 dead in Germany and Belgium due to flooding.

Over 100 now, it's truly horrifying and mind-boggling.

120 dead, hundreds still missing.

Genuine, total, wholesale shock.

Some 15,000 police, soldiers and emergency service workers have been deployed in Germany to help with the search and rescue.

Entire villages have been destroyed, and officials in the western German district of Ahrweiler say up to 1,300 people are unaccounted for.

Gregor Jericho, a resident of Rheinbach in North Rhine-Westphalia, told the BBC: "It's a very sad scene. Streets, bridges and some buildings are destroyed. There's garbage everywhere.

"Parts of buildings are in the road, people are sitting and crying. It's so sad. People have lost their homes, their cars are in fields flooded. My city looks like a battle has taken place."

Yeah, my mother shared a video with me this week of her entire street flooded, with no car traffic really being possible (waiting to hear back from her on how things are going).

All of this is jaw-dropping.

More than 150 people are now confirmed to have died after "historic" flooding across Germany and Belgium, with fears that the number will rise further as rescuers search for hundreds still missing.

Amid scenes of despair in both countries, emergency workers are toiling away to find survivors, clear up debris, and prevent further damage.

But there remain concerns that more devastation could be forthcoming, with dykes along one river from Belgium to the Netherlands and a dam in Germany's North Rhine-Westphalia said to be at risk of collapse.

The worst affected regions include some of the most prosperous in Europe, with astonishing footage from near Frankfurt showing an entire house being carried down the River Ahr.

/clears throat

Excuse me, HOW MANY KIDS does Boris Johnson have?

Explains the hair and "run ragged"look.

From sleeping in his car to avoid being served with court orders to pay overdue child support. He has far too few food stains to suggest he does anything to help raise those children.

The Merkel era appears to be emphatically over in Germany.

Also, AfD's not gone, but The Greens did better, so I'll take that.

The disappointing thing is that back in May, it looked like the Greens had a real chance of winning the elections (surveys said approximately 28% would vote Green - at the time 6% higher than the next best, Merkel's CDU.

Putting up a sympathetic candidate for chancelor was a good choice. But the fact she had no government experience less so. A series of small, but embarrassing mistakes made that star fall pretty hard. Even the evening before the elections, they were still projected around 17.x %, but in the end it was less than 15%.

They will still be part of the new government though - there is no way around them.

Why not a SPD/CDU coalition? Has this been ruled out completely? Would not be first Social and Christian Democrat coalition in Europe.

That coalition seems to be slowly killing both parties. Will probably be a last resort.

Axon wrote:

Why not a SPD/CDU coalition? Has this been ruled out completely? Would not be first Social and Christian Democrat coalition in Europe.

It was a real fight to get the SPD grass roots to go along with the last coalition with CDU. I suspect the CDU wouldn’t want to be the “junior” partner this time. Never say never, I haven’t seen them rule it out but they have been together in government for a long time (only the 2nd Merkel government wasn’t CDU/SPD) and I always get the impression that it was really only in Merkel that could reconcile them to each other.

In 2017, they really tried to avoid CDU+SPD since it didn't help the SPD's party profile the previous years. So coalition talks were started for "Jamaica": CDU (black) Greens (you figure it out) and FDP (yellow). It looked like it was a done deal until the FDP dropped out unexpectedly at the very end.

So CDU and SPD figured they had better get back together for another 4 years.

I don't trust the FDP under Christian Lindner to not jump ship again this time - especially in the "traffic light" coalition (SPD-red, FDP-yellow, Greens), so CDU+SPD might happen again, but it would probably disillusion even more voters.

It’s almost as if choosing people who aren’t boring technocrats to run your country has a downside.

Thanks TBird and Dove. I was wondering why all reports seems to default to the Greens and FDP. And I agree TBird, even at a passing glance you’d have to think the FDP would be squeezed in that arrangement. Again, if they agree to go in its what they get for that. That’s the story.

On a wider front Social Democratic and Green parties across Europe are becoming harder to see differences in. One suspects if Germans went back to the polls you end up with something similar in terms of political leanings even if seats numbers change. As of yet I don’t see a centre left majority in Germany but it’s getting close.

And I’m officially in the Angela Rayner fan club. Sure she’s basically Irish.


The Past is Never Past, etc.

The granddaughter of Benito Mussolini won the highest number of votes in elections for Rome’s city council as support for Brothers of Italy, the far-right party to which she belongs, edged up in northern cities held by the left.

Rachele Mussolini secured more than 8,200 votes in the municipal elections on Sunday and Monday, an increase on the 657 received when she entered the council on her first mandate in 2016.

She said her success in Rome is down to hard work and not her surname. “I learned to live with my surname since I was a child,” she told La Repubblica. “At school they used to point at me, but then Rachele emerged and the person prevails over a surname, however burdensome that surname is. I have many friends on the left and I am certain that one of them voted for me.”

Rachele is named after the fascist dictator’s first wife and is the daughter of the late jazz musician, Romano Mussolini.

Before becoming a councillor in 2016, she said she was only asked for interviews because of her family name. “But during my last term they started asking about the initiatives I’ve promoted. I’ve worked hard.”

She said she had formed excellent relationships with colleagues from the centre-left Democratic party within the council: “Politics is one thing, human relationships are another.”

Mussolini refrained from discussing fascism. “To deal with this topic we’d need to talk until tomorrow morning. I prefer to talk about Rome,” she said.

Poland's top court ruling marks major challenge to EU laws

Poland's top court has rejected the principle of the primacy of EU law over national legislation in certain judicial matters, in a major challenge to the EU's legal framework.

The Constitutional Tribunal said some EU treaty articles were incompatible with Poland's constitution.

Polish judges, it said, should not use EU law to question the independence of their peers.

The EU's executive body said the ruling raised "serious concerns".

In its statement, the European Commission said, "EU law has primacy over national law, including constitutional provisions."

"All rulings by the European Court of Justice are binding on all member states' authorities, including national courts," it added, warning that it would "not hesitate to make use of its powers under the treaties to safeguard the uniform application and integrity of Union law".

The legal challenge was brought by Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki.

It was the first time in the history of the 27-strong EU bloc that a leader of a member state had questioned wholesale EU treaties in a constitutional court.

Mr Morawiecki brought the challenge in March after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that the new system of selecting judges in Poland - introduced in 2018 by the governing coalition - infringed EU law.

Mr Morawiecki wanted to prevent Polish judges from using EU law to question the legitimacy of judges appointed following recent changes to the judiciary.

Those changes have been criticised by the European Commission and many international legal bodies for undermining judicial independence and increasing political control over courts.

Poland's Constitutional Tribunal is now dominated by judges that are sympathetic to the governing Law and Justice party (PiS), some of whom are former party members.

What has happened in Poland is sad. It is a proving ground that shows how effective foreign backed propaganda really is.

Coronavirus relief funds for Poland and Hungary are basically frozen now and I'd be shocked if the Commission doesn't take Poland to the ECJ. Talk of "defacto" exit from the EU is being mentioned. It's fairly clear that the remaining member states have pretty much run out of patience with bad faith governments and with Merkel gone are no longer going to get the protection she granted them.

Even us in Ireland can see the writing. on the wall and signed up to the OECD multinational tax framework effectively raising our corporation tax from 12.5% to 15% which we know the French want to formalise through a directive. There are big problems coming down the line and I think you'd be very brave sticking two fingers up at a post Brexit EU.

Poland's position is super-curious to me. I don't think the Polish government will really have any regrets about leaving the EU, but I also think they very, very much do not want to be absorbed into the influence sphere of Russia too much, for a variety of reasons, despite the fact that their particular brand of Nationalist-Religious cultural orthodoxy is very much in line with how Russia conducts itself.

Article from the German weekly business magazine on why Poland will not leave the EU.

The short version is: it can't afford to do so, and the EU is actually very popular with all age ranges in Poland.

I read pretty much the same in another article that I can't find anymore. There, they speculated that - while Brexit hurt the UK, Polexit would cripple Poland (I'm paraphrasing).

It's worth remembering that these are countries that have had a pretty rough 20th century thanks to their neighbours so I can imagine trust is hard to develop. Generational trauma is something I completely believe that entire populations of people can harbour which can lead people to act in ways that aren't completely rational.

Look at Irish history from independence to the end of the century. As a population we made some dumb calls. Hopefully some of the Eastern European nations don't take the 70 odd years we did but I'd completely understand if it took them the same time. And sometimes the path to that understanding is rocky.

Conservative MP David Amess stabbed to death during constituents meeting. Oh, I'm sure there'll be no overreactions to this at all.

Eric Zemmour: Far-right journalist cast as Macron election rival

There were still 100 people queuing outside the auditorium when they closed the doors. Not bad for a man who hasn't officially declared his candidacy yet.

Eric Zemmour is shaking up France's presidential race before it's even begun.

And his rally in the small southern town of Béziers made an unsettling image for France's far-right leader, Marine Le Pen. Polls suggest he's on track to challenge her for leadership of the nationalist hard-right in France.

The child of Jewish Algerian immigrants, Zemmour has long drawn attention for his controversial views - claiming, for example, that French Jews were protected by the state during World War Two. In fact, France's wartime Vichy regime sent thousands of French Jews as well as Jewish refugees to the Nazi death camps.

Now, he says, France is being "submerged" by migrants, and parents should be forced to give their children "French names".

His speech in Béziers targeted France's education system - "infiltrated by Marxism, anti-racism, and LGBT ideologies", in his view.

As for the French media, he dismissed them as "a propaganda machine that hates France".

"Paid with your taxes, they constantly spit on you," he said. "They spit on French history and culture, and they spit on the French people, whom they want to see disappear."

If the language was violent, it wasn't unexpected. Many in the audience here knew him from his role as an outspoken TV presenter and commentator for the French right-wing channel C-News.

Sitting in the front row was Christian, who had driven from a nearby town with his family. He told me they'd never been to a political meeting before, and didn't belong to any political party.

But they liked Eric Zemmour.

"He tells it like it is," Christian explained. "He's more down-to-earth [than other politicians]. It's great he's shaking up the French presidential elections. I think he's a bit like Boris Johnson."

The man is a sorry excuse for a human being. What a disgrace.

Ah, yes. "He tells it like it is.” Whenever a person describes a politician that way, my internal translator substitutes, “He’s an asshole, and so am I.”

Maybe it doesn’t work 100% of the time, but it feels pretty close.

Other potential translations:
“He’s an asshole, and I’m a moron.”
“He’s a racist, and so am I.”

100% of the time, it works 100% of the time.