[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

I think I was reading an Orson Scott Card book, or maybe an essay, when I twigged to this: anytime anyone is telling you about the dark, evil temptations of gay sex, they are telling you that they are a gay person.

If you're straight, it's not particularly tempting.

Malor wrote:

I think I was reading an Orson Scott Card book, or maybe an essay, when I twigged to this: anytime anyone is telling you about the dark, evil temptations of gay sex, they are telling you that they are a gay person.

If you're straight, it's not particularly tempting.

Bisexuality is a thing, dude.

And Orson Scott Card was married to a woman. Your point?

And Orson Scott Card was involved in the game Loom, I just learned as I finished that game last night...

Back on topic....I hate to give traffic to express.co.uk, but it's the best english language coverage of this I found.

Orban implies that a situation like Brexit can be beneficial.

Hungary's strongman prime minister has grown envious of the UK's newfound freedom since Brexit and said the country's swift approval of a coronavirus vaccine was a "slap in the face for the EU".
.
Viktor Orban's praise for Brexit Britain comes after he joined Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki in vetoing the bloc’s €1.8trillion budget and pandemic recovery package. Mr Orban weighed into the debate surrounding the UK’s approval of a COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer and BioNTech, in a world first in the race for a jab.
.
He said it was thanks to Britain’s decision to leave the EU that it had achieved such a massive feat, ahead of the 27-member bloc.
.
Mr Orban said: "Those who have left [the EU] go their own way, look for their own solutions, and can improve their health and protect the lives of its citizens faster than we who stayed [in the EU].”
.
Earlier this week the drug regulatory authority MHRA became the first agency in the world to grant emergency approval to the vaccine for coronavirus, which has infected more than 1.6 million Britons.
For months he has been at loggerheads with top EU figures over Brussels’ handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Last month Hungary and Poland joined forces to block approval of the bloc’s budget in protest over a clause that ties funding with adherence to the rule of law.

Mr Orban slapped down the financial package which includes €750billion (£673bn) for a coronavirus recovery fund.

He has argued the rule of law mechanism is “defined vaguely” and therefore open to political manipulation.

This is probably in its entirity just part of the ongoing fight between the EU and Orban's government. Fidesz has little interest in the EU's rule of law, but loves the EU money (and especially loves distributing it among his friends and building massive projects in his home village).

I would totally vote for Hungexit. They can come back when Orban and friends are gone.

UK's rapid approval of the Pfizer vaccine was not actually anything to do with Brexit. Link

Somehow, I doubt Orban is going to take the word from anyone other than the very reputable sources at Hungarian state media.

....which, nowadays, is almost all media still allowed to operate in Hungary.

Trustworthy sources!

No posts here for a while, understandably since this is broadly a NA site, but here's a new one:

Dutch Rutte government resigns over child welfare fraud scandal

IMAGE(https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/1417/production/_116534150_hi065201235.jpg)

"After a cabinet meeting the Dutch leader cycled to the palace to submit the government's resignation to King Willem-Alexander."

This is so dutch it borders on parody.

Damn.

Families were left in a state of ruin, by a state apparatus that became "the enemy of the people".

Relationships disintegrated under the pressure, homes were lost, mothers have spoken tearfully of the financial and psychological anguish they suffered after being targeted by tax officials.

Last year the tax office admitted that 11,000 people were subjected to extra scrutiny simply because they had dual nationality. This confession has reinforced the widely held belief among many ethnic minorities in the Netherlands that discrimination against them is institutionalised and perpetuated by those in power.

I mean, there certainly are issues with fraud in welfare systems. But the measures used to fight it should obviously be proportional.

Also, an election in march? Seems like a pretty bad idea. Especially over a scandal that is years old. Surely you could wait like two more months or something.
And as usual, politics comes down to choosing between bad and worse.

Mr Rutte heads a four-party centre-right-liberal coalition and his party leads the latest opinion polls, ahead of far-right leader Geert Wilders.

Heck, harassing minorities might give them more voters.

The guy who held up the Covid-19 support for the entire EU turns out to enforce an incredibly strict application of fraud detection. Colour me shocked.

The other argument, Shadout, does all that effort even make financial sense? At some point you are just losing far more money pursing people for relativity small amounts. But I suppose that assumes the point of this was to recoup monies from welfare fraud and not something else. Very hard to see it as just overzealous administration.

Axon wrote:

The other argument, Shadout, does all that effort even make financial sense? At some point you are just losing far more money pursing people for relativity small amounts. But I suppose that assumes the point of this was to recoup monies from welfare fraud and not something else. Very hard to see it as just overzealous administration.

Might not be worth it financially. But I think it is worth it to spend a little money to catch people who break the law in general (though again, without being draconic about it), such as cheating with public funding.
Not just as a discouragement to do fraud (though that is important on its own), but if people lose faith in the governments ability to make a fair system, where our shared taxes are spend properly, and not disappearing in fraud, corruption etc. that is quite the risk to society as a whole (look at the US...). That only makes the extremist groups even stronger, if distrust creeps in everywhere.

During the corona pandemic my government has been paying companies to cover wages of employees, if they dont fire anyone. Like other countries have done too. So far a few cases has been brought to court, where some people invented fake companies, and fake employees, to try and get some of the corona help. Even if it might not be worth the money to go after these people, and all the fraud detection probably slows down getting help to those who actually need it, I very much think jerks like that, who are trying to take advantage of a desperate situation for a lot of people, deserves to get punished for it.
At least there should be a chance of of getting punished, even though many might never be caught. You should of course be pretty damn sure ill intend was behind the fraud, and not merely mistakes. And some cases might be way too small to be worth going after.

Frequently, fraud worries are used as an excuse to try to defund a service altogether. You see that a lot in the US. They say it's about fraud, but what it's really about is that they hate giving money to black people, and they're trying to break the program.

With this program being heavily used by immigrants, I can't help but wonder if it's not coded racism over there, too.

This obviously was about racism. Not defending the specific case. As said above; "Heck, harassing minorities might give them more voters.". Which I assume is the reason they did it.
Doesn't make fraud less bad. Plenty of fraud is certainly done by well-off people as well (right in front of our eyes when it comes to Trump and Friends). An ongoing case where I live is a couple of people who managed to do capital gains tax fraud for about 2 billion dollars. We are never going to see those money again. They should still spend rest of their lives fighting court cases (sadly they wont, since most of them obviously disappeared). Even if we are just throwing even more tax money at it.

Typically, fraud is not that common in most government programs, and it's very common for overzealous enforcement to cost the government an order of magnitude more money than the fraud ever did. Policing that needs to be done intelligently, and it sounds that was not the case here.... not only was it stupid, it was also designed to be punitive to everyone involved.

It's usually not individual people that are the problem, it's usually organized rackets. Retail fraud, one person at a time, is not that prevalent, where wholesale fraud can cost government big bucks.

Yet, most enforcement efforts focus on retail fraud, because the punishment aspect against minorities is intoxicating to right-wingers.

I agree with Shadout's larger point, for what's its worth. He is merely saying that's it's good practice to audit the system. I do agree with that. Faith in the system does need to be maintained.

Just want to state that as it's a nuanced point he is making and by no means is he defending the policy in question.

And I agree Malor, I get a little wary at certain politicians making a big deal about fraud in welfare as it often goes after some very vulnerable groups while avoiding their base. For example, in Northern Ireland they had a Cash for Ash scandal that was defended by the right wing party who generally bangs on about wasteful spending.

Russia Navalny: Poisoned opposition leader held after flying home

Right. So anyone want to place a bet on how brazen his eventual murder will be?

I've got $20 on "He committed suicide by tying his hands behind his back and then shooting himself several times in the back of the head."

Why the heck did he return.

Deaths from falling out of windows seems popular these days. But yeah, might be too simple.

Shadout wrote:

Why the heck did he return?

Because it's his home.

Shadout wrote:

Why the heck did he return.

Rebellions are built on hope.

Italy PM Conte wins crucial Senate vote to stay in power

Well, I wonder what he's about....

Opposition parties say they plan to ask President Sergio Mattarella to intervene to force him to resign.

Mr Conte, a law professor, has led a centrist coalition since 2018.

The main parties in his coalition are the anti-establishment Five Star (M5S) and the centre-left Democratic Party (PD).

The prime minister told the Senate it was vital to maintain political cohesion faced with the "historic challenge" of the pandemic.

Oh, well that seems...

Mr Renzi's Italia Viva, formed in 2019, polls less than 3% currently, and surveys suggest that right-wing parties would come top in a snap election, were one to be called two years ahead of schedule.

Ah.

So it's another political crisis in a country that's seen 66 governments since 1945. Exactly what it didn't need as it battles through coronavirus.

....................ah.

Sigh. Political parties in Italy seems like personal self-realization programs/ money grabbing schemes. Renzi seemed relatively sensible at some point, but I guess not...