[Discussion] European Political Landscape

There are three elections occurring over the coming year that are of huge importance. They are:

Italian Constitutional Referendum - 04/12/16
French Presidential Election - 1st Round 23/04/17, 2nd Round 07/05/17
German Federal Election - 22/10/17

This thread is to discuss the political realities, results and fallout around these elections. The scope is broad but try to keep the post relevant to the elections referenced above.

Edit - Updated thread title

WizKid wrote:

Isn’t that also the name of the cult in Elders Scrolls: Oblivion?

That was the Mythic Dawn, the Golden Dawn is a British occult society of magicians and alchemists. Didn’t realize they moved into politics as well.

I read about them in Time magazine.

ruhk wrote:
WizKid wrote:

Isn’t that also the name of the cult in Elders Scrolls: Oblivion?

That was the Mythic Dawn, the Golden Dawn is a British occult society of magicians and alchemists. Didn’t realize they moved into politics as well. :P

So...close enough?

Revealed: The Explosive Secret Recording That Shows How Russia Tried To Funnel Millions To The “European Trump”

Six men sat down for a business meeting on the morning of October 18 last year, amid the hubbub and marble-columned opulence of Moscow’s iconic Metropol Hotel, to discuss plans for a “great alliance.”

A century earlier, the grand institution was the scene of events that helped change the face of Europe and the world: Czarist forces fought from inside the hotel as they tried and failed to hold the Bolsheviks back from the Kremlin in 1917, and it was here, in suite 217, that the first Soviet Constitution was drafted after the revolution succeeded.

The six men — three Russians, three Italians — gathered beneath the spectacular painted glass ceiling in the hotel lobby last October had their eyes on history too. Their nominal purpose was an oil deal; their real goal was to undermine liberal democracies and shape a new, nationalist Europe aligned with Moscow.

BuzzFeed News has obtained an explosive audio recording of the Metropol meeting in which a close aide of Europe’s most powerful far-right leader — Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini — and the other five men can be heard negotiating the terms of a deal to covertly channel tens of millions of dollars of Russian oil money to Salvini’s Lega party.

The recording reveals the elaborate lengths the two sides were willing to go to conceal the fact that the true beneficiary of the deal would be Salvini’s party — a breach of Italian electoral law, which bans political parties from accepting large foreign donations — despite the comfort with which he and Europe’s other far-right leaders publicly parade their pro-Kremlin political sympathies.

“We want to change Europe,” said longtime Salvini aide Gianluca Savoini — who dined alongside Vladimir Putin at a government banquet to celebrate the Russian president’s visit to Rome last week. “A new Europe has to be close to Russia as before because we want to have our sovereignty,” he continued over the clinking of coffee cups and buzz of conversation around the lobby.

As well as releasing excerpts of the Metropol tape — the existence of which is being revealed for the first time today — BuzzFeed News is also publishing a transcript of the entire recording.

Prederick wrote:

Revealed: The Explosive Secret Recording That Shows How Russia Tried To Funnel Millions To The “European Trump”

Their nominal purpose was an oil deal; their real goal was to undermine liberal democracies and shape a new, nationalist Europe aligned with Moscow.

BuzzFeed News has obtained an explosive audio recording of the Metropol meeting in which a close aide of Europe’s most powerful far-right leader — Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini — and the other five men can be heard negotiating the terms of a deal to covertly channel tens of millions of dollars of Russian oil money to Salvini’s Lega party.

If this stands up to scrutiny, it should be interesting to see how it develops. First Austria, now Italy? It's no secret that the Russians "groom" certain politicians.

The German AfD is known to be pretty cosy with Russia. Would love to see Orban found out as well, but somehow I doubt it would hurt him too much.

They need to find evidence that Soros funded Orban

Hah. But of course. Is he part of the Trump curse of always having done what you attack others on.

Are we seriously doubting how these parties are funded at this point?

So, Ursula von der Leyen or as she seems to be commonly known as, VDL is set to be locked in for Commission President. AUs_TBirD, thoughts? First German to get the job. Very outspoken on common defence policy and harmonising corporate tax, which are politically fraught.

It remains to be seen how the Parliament reacts to none of it's candidates getting the job with VDL even acknowledging this fact. There will be pounds of flesh extracted at all sides, I expect. Good to see Climate Change being one of those issues.

Anyway, this is classic European politics. Pure horse trading over the next few months.

I honestly haven't followed her enough over the years to have much of an opinion. News here reports her as a compromise candidate to get the more right-wing governments (Hungary, Italy, etc) on board. As defense minister I remember liking some things I heard done during her tenure (don't ask me what they were...I'd have to look them up), but lately there have been numerous scandals over there regarding questionable contract awards and massive cost overruns (google news for: Gorch Fock). On many of these it's uncertain how involved she was. That's up to the investigations to find out now.

Permafrost thaw sparks fear of 'gold rush' for mammoth ivory

I appreciate these stories that give me something completely new to be infuriated and depressed by.

Prederick wrote:

Housing Crisis Grips Ireland a Decade After Property Bubble Burst

Huh. Wasn't expecting that one.

I dunno, seems like a fairly predictable outcome for a country with low corporation taxation and sharp austerity measures.

DanB wrote:
Prederick wrote:

Housing Crisis Grips Ireland a Decade After Property Bubble Burst

Huh. Wasn't expecting that one.

I dunno, seems like a fairly predictable outcome for a country with low corporation taxation and sharp austerity measures.

The reasons for it are due to decisions taken back in the late 80s’. Really, both of these aren’t the reasons for this as we were seeing the same problem before 2008. And the austerity has long ended.

The second half of this podcast Is a really good explanation of what happened. Very similar to the UK, in fact. Eoin O’Broin would be very close to your political outlook, DanB.

It’s really policy and nothing to do with finances.

TLDR: lack of social housing since the 1980s’ is the reason the housing stock is so tight.

Axon wrote:

TLDR: lack of social housing since the 1980s’ is the reason the housing stock is so tight.

Absolutely not in dispute

Norway mosque shooting: Man opens fire on Al-Noor Islamic Centre

A man has been arrested in Norway after a shooting inside a mosque left one person injured on Saturday.

Police say a gunman opened fire on the Al-Noor Islamic Centre, in the outskirts of the capital Oslo.

Later a woman was found dead at the house of the suspect, police said.

The suspect "is around 20 years old, a Norwegian citizen from the area," said assistant chief of police Rune Skjold, adding that the man was now suspected of murdering a relative.

"We consider this a suspicious death... The dead person is related to the man arrested earlier today," he said.

Police say the man acted alone when he attacked the mosque.

The mosque's director told local media that the victim was a 75-year-old member of the congregation.

"One of our members has been shot by a white man with a helmet and uniform," Irfan Mushtaq told local newspaper Budstikka.

He later told local channel TV2 that the attacker had "carried two shotgun-like weapons and a pistol. He broke through a glass door and fired shots."

The gunman, who wore body armour, was overpowered by people at the mosque before police arrived at the scene, Mr Mushtaq added.

Police sources told public broadcaster NRK that several weapons were found inside the mosque, located in the town of Baerum, following the shooting.

The mosque had previously implemented extra security measures after a gunman killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, earlier this year, according to Reuters news agency.

I've seen a few reports on Twitter that the gunman announced the attack on 4chan and praised the Christchurch and El Paso shooting, so, two things:

1 - This is going to be a regular thing now. Fantastic.

2 - Vox's Jane Coaston pointed this out, which is that this particular resurrection of White Nationalism/Supremacy is, thanks to the internet, based around a globalized idea of "whiteness" this time around. So, y'know, hooray.

It's more complicated than that apparently. Salvini really wants to cash in on his current popularity as a racist douchebag, but former enemies of the Five Star Movement and the Partito Democratico (social democrats) have shown willingness to set aside their differences and talk about a new coalition.

As the Five Star Movement is polled to lose about half of their seats in a new election, and the PD would of course like to participate in government, it could very well happen. Another more unlikely scenario would be a transitional technocrat government.

This would not be good news for Salvini, who didn't take this scenario into account. Of course, the chance of any new coalition lasting until the next elections are slim to none in Italy with their 66 governments in 73 years. And Salvini would milk this for extra popularity by labeling this as an anti-democratic anti-Italian EU puppet government.

Interesting twist in Italy, Five Star set to join up with the pro-European Democratic Party under Conte. Nice article here explains the background.

'Treated like animals' by slavery gang

A ruthless gang that lured victims from Poland to the UK is believed to have enslaved around 300 vulnerable people.

Members of the gang lured their victims to the West Midlands with false promises of free travel, accommodation and jobs paying £300 a week, but the people were held captive in squalid conditions, some having to wash in canals and eat from skips.

Eight members of the gang who are thought to have made £2m cashing in on the misery of others are now behind bars.

People trafficking from eastern Europe for forced prostitution in the west is unfortunately not uncommon, but that other types of forced labor were a significant factor, I wasn't aware of.

...then again, go to any construction site and look at the people working the low-skill positions...

AUs_TBirD wrote:

People trafficking from eastern Europe for forced prostitution in the west is unfortunately not uncommon, but that other types of forced labor were a significant factor, I wasn't aware of.

...then again, go to any construction site and look at the people working the low-skill positions...

As I understand it fishing fleets are some of the worst in this regard.

Awesome.
Austrian elections offer latest sign far right's rise is faltering in Europe
Of course, "only" getting 16% is still crazy.

Their Green Party skyrocketing also sounds pretty good.

16% still being ok with the far right party offering to give away Austrian economic interests to Russian oligarchs in exchange for election help/personal favors is pretty sad though.

AUs_TBirD wrote:

16% still being ok with the far right party offering to give away Austrian economic interests to Russian oligarchs in exchange for election help/personal favors is pretty sad though.

Just a pet peeve, but why is this part relevant? There just seems to be a lot of Russia-baiting across the media in general that's also made its way into here. Would it be better if they were instead giving it away to home-grown oligarchs?

I'm only commenting because the "Most Viewed in US" story on the right-side bar for me was... uh... interesting?

bnpederson wrote:
AUs_TBirD wrote:

16% still being ok with the far right party offering to give away Austrian economic interests to Russian oligarchs in exchange for election help/personal favors is pretty sad though.

Just a pet peeve, but why is this part relevant? There just seems to be a lot of Russia-baiting across the media in general that's also made its way into here. Would it be better if they were instead giving it away to home-grown oligarchs?

Because there really aren't oligarchs from non-former Soviet areas. It doesn't just mean that they are rich, it also means that they are state sanctioned and have no respect for rule of law or courts. It's the two things that make them dangerous compared to other billionaires.

bnpederson wrote:
AUs_TBirD wrote:

16% still being ok with the far right party offering to give away Austrian economic interests to Russian oligarchs in exchange for election help/personal favors is pretty sad though.

Just a pet peeve, but why is this part relevant? There just seems to be a lot of Russia-baiting across the media in general that's also made its way into here. Would it be better if they were instead giving it away to home-grown oligarchs?

“Russia-baiting”?

The Russian people are probably fine. Russia itself is a corrupt kleptocracy. Like the US, but without meaningful institutions.

This is where the US is headed if we’re not careful. The distinction is meaningful because right now Russian oligarchs are waging an attack on the political institutions of other countries in a way that threatens to destabilize the world order and neuter the ability for the planet to cooperate on governance and possibly fighting climate change.

I think we should care about this distinction.

As I said, it's a pet peeve. But having no respect for rule of law or courts sounds like every billionaire to me, and giving away a country's wealth to Amazon or even a local corporation isn't better than giving it away to a Russian megacorp.

I think the Russian bit there is just some (probably unconscious) othering bullsh*t. Oh, they're not just completely f*cking over everyone they can in an effort to gain or maintain power and concentrate wealth into a select few, they're traitors trying to give our country's hard earned resources to foreigners!

We saw the same thing with the Japanese back int he 80s and again these days with China here in the US. Personally, I think it distracts from the real problem which is the whole let's "give away economic interests" rather than helping improve the average person's lot in life.