[Discussion] European Politics Discussion

European Politics discussion

Portugal housing crisis: 'I'll have to move back in with mum'

"The landlady's been chasing me since 2018, she says she needs the flat - now there's an eviction notice."

Georgina Simões is a carer at a nursing home in the Portuguese capital Lisbon. She earns just above the minimum wage.

Her rent, at €300 (£262) a month, is low by the city's current standards. But she still has to work two jobs to afford it. And conditions at the property are poor - she can't shower because water leaks into the neighbours' flat.

"I don't leave because when I look for houses my salary isn't enough, even to pay rent. Rent prices are above the wages we have in Portugal."

Georgina's circumstances are far from unique. Average rent in Lisbon is now just over €2,000, while the minimum wage is about €760.

Portugal is currently grappling with a severe housing crisis, triggered by an increase in foreign investment in property and a lack of affordable new homes.

But it's not simply an issue of supply. Researcher and activist Rita Silva, who helped set up the housing movement Habita, says there are "more houses than people, but prices don't go down".

Kosovo: Fresh clashes as Nato troops called in to northern towns

Nato has condemned as "totally unacceptable" attacks by demonstrators in Kosovo that left some 25 of its peacekeepers injured.

Police and Nato troops clashed with Serb protesters in the north where there has been unrest over the installation of ethnic Albanian mayors.

Tear gas and stun grenades were used to deter protesters in Zvecan, after they tried to invade a government building.

Nato soldiers also formed a security cordon around two other town halls.

The crisis dates back to April when Kosovo Serbs boycotted local elections, allowing ethnic Albanians to take control of local councils with a turnout of less than four per cent.

Both the EU and US have criticised the Kosovan authorities for destabilising the situation in north Kosovo, and warned against any actions that could inflame ethnic tensions there.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, after years of strained relations between its Serb and mainly Albanian inhabitants.

It has been recognised by the United States and major European Union countries, but Serbia, backed by its powerful ally Russia, refuses to do so, as do most ethnic Serbs inside Kosovo.

While ethnic Albanians make up more than 90% of the population in Kosovo as a whole, Serbs form the majority of the population in the northern region.

You know, despite all the doom and gloom in the world at the moment, often exacerbated by a predominately right-wing press, sometimes you can read something that just lifts you enough to remind you that the majority of people in this world are actually fairly decent and, if roused enough, will be prepared to face those more intolerant down.

I just wish to f*ck they'd make more of a stand in my country.

Beat me to it.

They do understand the stakes, from what I'm reading. PiS isn't that far away from basically turning Poland into effectively a one-party state.

BoJo Bye-bye

Boris Johnson is standing down as the Conservative MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, it has been reported.

The move by the former prime minister will trigger an immediate by-election.

He took the move after the Privileges Committee of the House of Commons reportedly found he misled Parliament & recommended sanction of more than 10 days.

Johnson told the Times: “It is very sad to be leaving parliament - at least for now - but above all I am bewildered and appalled that I can be forced out, anti-democratically, by a committee chaired and managed, by Harriet Harman, with such egregious bias”

GOD I need to see how this happened, The Thick of It-style.

Prederick wrote:

GOD I need to see how this happened, The Thick of It-style.

Well, he's going down swinging for everyone and everything in his path from this so far. That report into his behaviour over lockdown must be very damning indeed.

the Liberal Democrats response has simply been "Good Riddance".

Edit: A large bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup is currently about £4.50 ($7, give or take) I know this because mini-sorb likes food with her ketchup and won't accept any substitutes.

Couple of things over the weekend, although I’m not sure quite what the impact of either will be long term:

Nichola Sturgeon was arrested and then released without charge pending further investigations into the SNP’s financial arrangements while she was in charge. I’m not sure she was standing down due to ‘burn out’ as she claims.

Second, Silvio Berlusconi has died. I’m not really versed enough in Italian politics to know what impact that’ll have. Probably a few football teams worrying about their finances though.

Everything I saw speculated that Sturgeon stepped down because of these kinds of shenanigans, but I thought it was on the part of her husband. I'm disappointed in her. I'm sure this does nothing good for the SNP.

For Sturgeon, under Scottish law you have to be arrested before you can be asked specific questions, so it’s really just a formality to be fair. Her issue will be that as leader of the SNP, she had to sign off on any expenditure. Her defence will be that she didn’t believe there were any untoward activities and wasn’t involved if there were, her critics will say either she knew or didn’t spend enough time checking what she was signing.

Either way it’s not a good look but it’s a long way from being prosecuted and jailed.

Shenanigans... Meow!

The Parliamentary Privileges Commitee report into Boris Johnson’s behaviour during the UK lockdown for Covid runs to 30,000 words and has found that he knowingly and deliberately lied to Parliament about all the parties he arranged and partook in.

Johnson has gone very Trumpian in his response to this and is accusing everyone involved in being very bias against him ans it being a stitch up job. You wonder how someone who quite clearly has psychological issues with being able to tell the truth is ever allowed to hold public office.

Man. You brits are doing conservative wrong. In the US, Boris’ Covid “scandal” would be laughed off and used to fundraise. Accountability is for liberals.

Sorbicol wrote:

You wonder how someone who quite clearly has psychological issues with being able to tell the truth is ever allowed to hold public office.

i think that's the dictionary definition of a politician.

Shouldn't let it go without noting there appears to have been a massive migrant boat disaster off the coast of Greece yesterday.

Survivors from a fishing boat that sank off southern Greece in one of Europe's worst migrant disasters say up to 100 children may have been on board.

At least 78 people have already been confirmed dead in the disaster.

But many more could still be missing at sea, with reports suggesting that up to 750 people were aboard the vessel.

At least 11 arrests have been made including several Egyptians on suspicion of people trafficking, Greek TV reports.

The coastguard has been criticised for not intervening earlier but authorities say their offers of aid were refused.

Rescuers are still searching the area where the boat capsized almost 50 nautical miles off the south-west coast, as hopes of finding more survivors dwindle.

The boat had been heading to Italy from the Libyan port of Tobruk when it went down.

Images showed the decks packed with people, but accounts of a large number of women and children in the hold of the ship have come from medics who treated the mostly male survivors.

The senior doctor at Kalamata General Hospital told the BBC as many as 100 children were on the vessel.

"[The survivors] told us there were children in the bottom of the ship. Children and women," said Dr Manolis Makaris, head of cardiology.

He said two patients had given him estimated figures.

"One told me about 100 children, the other about 50, so I don't know the truth - but it is many," he added.

Dr Makaris said he believed as many as 600 people could have died in the disaster.

"The exact number of all the people who were on the boat was 750. This is the exact number that everyone told me about this," he said.

Dear ****ing god I hope so.

Liz Truss with the tried and true "My ideas weren't bad (even though everyone said they were awful), it's that you all didn't understand them."

Prederick wrote:

Liz Truss with the tried and true "My ideas weren't bad (even though everyone said they were awful), it's that you all didn't understand them."

Also upset about the lettuce I see. She’s probably realised people will remember the lettuce long after they’ve forgotten about her.

Person who used food as a political metaphor upset someone else used food as a political metaphor about her.

‘An even bigger margin’: Mitsotakis set to win majority in Greek election

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the leader of Greece’s New Democracy party aiming for a second term in office, is on a roll. The momentum is his, the polls are looking good, and, if anything, the opposition appears assured of only one thing in the general election on Sunday: defeat.

Five weeks after more than 6 million voters gave his centre-right party a stunning 20-point victory over Syriza, the leftwing movement that stormed to power at the height of Greece’s economic crisis, the electorate is poised to repeat the result – only this time under legislation that favours the winner.

All agree it’s a ballot that is Mitsotakis’s to lose. Opinion polls on Friday showed him heading not only towards a landslide in the repeat race but a comfortable parliamentary majority afforded by an electoral law that rewards the victor with up to 50 bonus seats.

The sense of deja vu comes days after a devastating shipwreck left more than 80 people dead and hundreds missing off the Peloponnese – a disaster that has raised awkward questions over the response of a coastguard frequently accused under Mitsotakis’s watch of repelling boats carrying asylum seekers from Greek waters.

But neither that nor a train crash in February have dented his lead, even if the head-on collision of a freight and passenger train would go down as the country’s worst-ever rail accident, claiming the lives of 57 people – including many students – and sparking furious protests nationwide.

“The latest disaster has not been a gamechanger. Its effect [on the campaign] has been precisely zilch,” said Maria Karaklioumi, a political analyst at the polling company Rass. “Voters are thinking rationally. There’s a lot of self-interest at play and again and again we see them asking: ‘Who will benefit me more?’”

In Mitsotakis, the scion of a political dynasty whose father, Constantine, was prime minister in the early 90s, Greeks had discovered “a good administrator”, she said, who had overseen the debt-burdened country’s return to economic growth, brought down unemployment and reduced taxes – the byproducts of gruelling austerity demanded in return for gargantuan EU-IMF rescue packages to stave off bankruptcy.

“Voters have opted for economic security,” noted Karaklioumi. “They want normality. Under Mitsotakis the economy has stabilised.”

By contrast, Syriza’s time in office between January 2015 and July 2019 had proved to be “full of surprises”, she said, recalling the knife-edge referendum its leader, Alexis Tsipras, had called over bailout conditions. “People don’t want any more surprises. They’re looking for solutions now,” she added.

Italian teacher sacked for 20 years of absence vows to defend herself

A teacher in Italy who was sacked for 20 years of absence in 24 years at schools near Venice has vowed to tell her side of the story.

Cinzia Paolina De Lio was dismissed in 2017 after she reappeared for four months and triggered complaints.

Italy's highest court confirmed the dismissal after a legal battle, saying her absences showed a "permanent and absolute ineptitude".

Ms De Lio has condemned the ruling and vowed to "reconstruct the truth".

The secondary school teacher, who specialises in history and philosophy, said she had documents to prove her story but told Repubblica newspaper: "Sorry, but right now I'm at the beach."

"I will reconstruct the truth of the facts of this absolutely unique and surreal story", she said adding, "I don't answer questions from journalists thrown around that wouldn't do justice to the truth of my story."

France police shooting: officer charged as Macron tries to put lid on anger

A police officer involved in the fatal shooting of a 17-year-old boy has been placed under formal investigation – akin to being charged – for voluntary homicide, as Emmanuel Macron struggles to contain spiralling public anger over the killing.

An estimated 6,000 people marched through Nanterre on Thursday in memory of the teen, identified as Nahel M. Carrying placards reading “Justice for Nahel” and led by his mother Mounia, the marchers shouted “No justice, no peace” and “Police kill”. Police fired teargas at demonstrators on the fringes of the march.

The French president held a morning crisis meeting with senior ministers after a second night of unrest and rioting across France in which public buildings were set on fire and cars torched in cities from Lille to Toulouse, as well as in the Paris suburbs.

“The last few hours have been marked by scenes of violence against police stations but also schools and town halls, and thus institutions of the republic – and these scenes are wholly unjustifiable,” Macron said.

The government is haunted by the possibility of a repeat of the weeks of sustained violent protest sparked by the death of two young boys of African origin during a police chase in 2005.

Did a quick Google.

NYTimes wrote:

Nahel , 17, was a French citizen of Algerian and Moroccan descent

I am saddened to see that cops killing black and brown kids is not strictly an American problem now.


UpToIsomorphism wrote:

Did a quick Google.

NYTimes wrote:

Nahel , 17, was a French citizen of Algerian and Moroccan descent

I am saddened to see that cops killing black and brown kids is not strictly an American problem now.


We ruin everything.

Far-right parties on the rise across Europe

France is on a knife edge.

Holding its breath as unrest spreads across the country, bursting out of the banlieues - the often socially-neglected suburbs - after the fatal shooting this week of a 17-year-old from a French-Algerian family by police near Paris.

These types of riots are not unheard of in France. But the intensity of feeling taking hold of the country, whether amongst those sympathising with the police or with the banlieues and the victim's family - hasn't been witnessed in France since summer 2005.

And while President Macron visibly struggles to get the situation under control, his political nemesis on the far-right - Marine Le Pen - with her tough-on-security, anti-immigration message - may well end up benefitting in the polls.

Look around Europe right now - north, south, east and west - and you see far-right parties of different flavours - nostalgic nationalist, populist nationalist, ultra conservative with neo-fascist roots and more - enjoying a notable resurgence.

Old taboos dating back to Europe's devastating 20th Century war against the Nazis and fascist Italy - meaning most voters felt you shouldn't vote ever again for the extreme right and mainstream political parties refused to collaborate with far-right groupings - are gradually being eroded.

I was living in Vienna back in 2000 when the centre-right first jumped into a coalition government bed with the far-right Freedom Party. It made headlines the world over. The EU even slapped Vienna with diplomatic sanctions.

Now, the EU's third largest economy, Italy, is run by Giorgia Meloni, head of a party with neo-fascist roots. In Finland, after 3 months of debate, the far-right nationalists The Finns recently joined the coalition government.

In Sweden the firmly anti-immigration, anti-multiculturalism Sweden Democrats are the second largest party in parliament, propping up the right-wing coalition government there.

In Greece last Sunday three hard-right parties won enough seats to enter parliament, while in Spain, the controversial nationalist Vox Party - the first successful far-right party in Spain since the death of fascist dictator Francisco Franco in 1975 - outperformed all expectations in recent regional elections.

There's talk about them possibly forming a coalition government with the conservatives after national elections in three weeks' time.

Then there are the ultra-conservative, authoritarian-leaning governments in Poland and in Hungary.

The list really does go on and on.

Including even Germany, still so sensitive about its fascist past.

Polls there now put the far right AfD just ahead of, or neck and neck with, Chancellor Scholz's Social Democrats (SPD). Last weekend an AfD candidate won a local leadership post for the first time. The SPD called it "a political dam-breaker".

So what's happening? Are millions upon millions of European voters really swerving far-right? Or is this more of a protest vote? Or a sign of the polarisation between urban liberal voters and the conservative rest? And what do we mean anyway when we describe parties as 'far-right'?

From behind bars, Greek far-right populist propels ultra-nationalists

ATHENS, June 29 (Reuters) - With backing from a politician jailed for leading a party declared a criminal gang, Greek far-right groups swept up over 12% of the vote in Sunday's election, mirroring the rise of populist and ultra-nationalist politicians across Europe.

The surge of three parties with their ultra-nationalist views - including 'Spartans' which barely registered in polls until Ilias Kasidiaris from the banned Golden Dawn party endorsed it from his prison cell -- could swing public debate at home and prove a springboard in European elections.

JC wrote:
UpToIsomorphism wrote:

Did a quick Google.

NYTimes wrote:

Nahel , 17, was a French citizen of Algerian and Moroccan descent

I am saddened to see that cops killing black and brown kids is not strictly an American problem now.


We ruin everything.

Or maybe the US had little to nothing to do with all this? Just a thought!

Yeah, there's a several-century-old history of colonialism and like 20 other things here that exist entirely outside of any U.S. influence.