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Politics & Society: Europe & the EU

The Case against Europe: The disturbing contempt for democracy at the heart of the EU By Daniel Hannan Published: 22:04 GMT, 14 August 2012 | Updated: 09:08 GMT, 17 August 2012 Over 13 years as an MEP, Daniel Hannan has witnessed first hand how Brussels works. Now he has written a forensic analysis of why it’s rotten to the core. There is a popular joke in Brussels that if the European Union were a country applying to join itself, it would be rejected on the grounds of being undemocratic. It’s absolutely true - and, believe me, it isn’t funny. Democracy is not simply a periodic right to mark a cross on a ballot paper. A protester places a EU flag on a bonfire during a riot outside the European Council hall in Gothenburg Sweden It also depends upon a relationship between government and governed, on a sense of common affinity and allegiance. It requires what the political philosophers of Ancient Greece called a ‘demos’, a unit with which we the people can identify. Lacking any natural loyalty, they have to buy the support of their electorates. Got that? The Case against Europe: The disturbing contempt for democracy at the heart of the EU
The Case against Europe: The rise — and imminent fall — of the euro... The Case against Europe: The rise — and imminent fall — of the euro... By Daniel Hannan Published: 22:23 GMT, 15 August 2012 | Updated: 13:13 GMT, 16 August 2012 Over 13 years as an MEP, Daniel Hannan has witnessed first-hand how Brussels works. Now he has written a forensic analysis of why it’s rotten to the core. Yesterday, in part one of our exclusive serialisation, he laid bare the EU’s utter contempt for democracy. Today, he examines the rise — and imminent fall — of the euro . . . How did so many clever people get it so wrong? Yet, in every national parliament, in every central bank, in every university faculty, in every BBC editorial conference, there was a collective suspension of disbelief. Why? Sometimes I wonder if it wasn’t so much a case of them liking the euro but more that they disliked the people who opposed it. Excuses: Euro-apologists sometimes claim that Europe is suffering from a debt crisis, rather than a crisis of the single currency The issue was thus never really economic, or even political, but tribal. For two reasons.
By Daniel Hannan Published: 21:39 GMT, 16 August 2012 | Updated: 06:42 GMT, 17 August 2012 After 13 years as an MEP, Daniel Hannan's knowledge of the way Brussels works is second to none. Every nation joins the European Union for its own reasons. The burghers of the Low Countries had had enough of being dragged into wars between their larger neighbours, and the former Communist states saw membership as an escape from Soviet domination. One thing in common is that they all joined out of a sense of pessimism: that they couldn't succeed alone. What might have been: The unsuccessful 'No to Europe' campaign in 1975 Confident and prosperous nations, such as Norway and Switzerland, see no need to abandon their present liberties. Suffering from double-digit inflation, constant strikes, the three-day week, power cuts and prices-and-incomes policies, decline seemed irreversible. These historic ties had always set Britain apart from the rest of Europe. Our trade suffered, too. But that's not all. We CAN break free from the shackles of Brussels We CAN break free from the shackles of Brussels
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‘I'd rather die at sea than stay there’: migrants on crossing the Med Emmanuel, 24, Ivory Coast There was too much violence in Ivory Coast. You can’t live there. All my friends have left. My parents divorced and didn’t look after me. I looked for someone who could help me. After two days, they rescued us. Ibrahim, 29, and Sidibe, 10, Mali Ibrahim I was born in Congo-Brazzaville. One day, on television, I saw people who had made it to Italy. Sidibe It was a very long journey. Ibrahim I had done nothing, but they were armed and took me to prison. Promise, 26, Nigeria There was plenty of war in Nigeria. A man saved me from the war and took me to his house, but his wife thought I was sleeping with him. Somebody brought me to his house and told me to stay. Maryan, 20, Somalia My dad went to Canada when I was born. One day, a few years ago, al-Shabaab brought our house down. I didn’t tell anyone that I wanted to leave, initially – only a friend. Faith, 25, Nigeria My mother died when she gave birth to me. It was night-time. Omar, 30, the Gambia Kwame, 25, Ghana ‘I'd rather die at sea than stay there’: migrants on crossing the Med
Monique Samuel | World Exposed - De inhumane prijs van Fort Europa - Monique Samuel Monique Samuel | World Exposed - De inhumane prijs van Fort Europa - Monique Samuel Er vindt een humanitaire ramp plaats op de kabbelende azuurblauwe golven van de Middellandse Zee. Gisteren las ik in de Volkskrant het korte bericht dat zo’n 150 vluchtelingen onder wie veel vrouwen en kinderen, zijn verdronken tijdens hun overtocht naar het Italiaanse eiland Lampedusa. Een vreselijke ramp, waar in een aantal korte alinea’s bondig aandacht aan wordt besteed. Wel op de tweede pagina van de krant, maar eigenlijk is het geen nieuws natuurlijk. Grimmig en ongastvrij Europa, met z’n oprukkende rechts-populisme en toenemende naar binnen gekeerde blik, oefent nog steeds een enorme aantrekkingskracht uit op de armen in deze wereld. ‘Het is niet ons probleem,’ zo lijkt Den Haag te denken. Premier Berlusconi bracht een bezoek aan het rampgebied. Vandaag kopte de Volkskrant met het nieuws dat er zeven ambassades worden gesloten. Maar Nederland en Europa keren de Derde Wereld de rug toe. Het vergeten continent Zuid-Amerika wordt nog meer van de buitenwereld afgesloten.
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What's the best way to teach science? — Debating Europe Despite the greater job prospects, the number of students studying science subjects is not increasing at the European level. This seems strange, given how difficult it is to find a job in Europe right now. Is the problem with how science is taught in the classroom? This week the European Schoolnet and Scientix project of the European Commission jointly organize a series of live events on STEM education and e-skills in Barcelona, bringing experts politicians and other stakeholders together to discuss these questions and latest trends in education and technology (click here for the programme). Want to know more about science teaching in Europe’s classrooms? We had a comment sent in from Jan arguing that the problem was too many students find technical subjects complicated and boring. To get a response, we took Jan’s comment to Vitor Duarte Teodoro, a former Assistant Professor at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal. The first thing I would like to say is that it is complicated. What's the best way to teach science? — Debating Europe
ABOUT EUROPE

Youth unemployment in the EU stood at 21% in 2015. But this figure masks huge differences between individual countries – with over half of young people struggling to find jobs in some Member States (such as Spain and Greece), and only one in ten unable to get into work in others (including Germany and Austria). We know that many of our readers are young people, and so plenty of you will have personal experience with the many frustrations of endlessly looking (and not finding) employment. What do our readers think? How would YOU help young graduates find jobs? Radical Left Fabio de Masi (Radical Left), Member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs: So, I think if we want to create jobs we need investment. Social Democrats Javi López (S&D), Member of the Committee on Employment & Social Affairs: Greens Philippe Lamberts (Group of the Greens), Co-Chair of the Group of the Greens / European Free Alliance: We need strategic investment projects. Liberal Democrats Centre Right Conservatives How would you help young graduates find jobs? — Debating Europe How would you help young graduates find jobs? — Debating Europe
Are Europe’s schools and universities churning out graduates with useless degrees? Despite the struggling EU economy, fewer and fewer Europeans are studying so-called ‘hard’ subjects like science, engineering and maths. Since 2006, the number of ICT and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths) graduates in Europe has plunged by almost 10%! In the workforce today, only half of Europeans are deemed to be ‘digitally skilled’. The situation is especially perverse when you consider that so many young people across the continent are unable to find jobs, while at the same time there are employers out there struggling to fill vacancies. Want to learn more about the growing skills gap in Europe? We had a comment from Paul suggesting that it was time to overhaul our educations systems, and “stimulate youngsters to choose studies that are truly needed within society, decreasing the skills gap”. Is he right? What do students themselves think? Well, I think you should do both things. Are Europe's education systems 'fit for purpose'? — Debating Europe Are Europe's education systems 'fit for purpose'? — Debating Europe
Why You Should Visit Romania Right Now Why You Should Visit Romania Right Now Why You Should Visit Romania Right Now. Pack your bags, drop your plans and whatever destination you had in mind for your holiday or vacation. You should go to Romania! With breathtaking and amazing landscapes, rich and unique cultures and traditions, delicious food and warm people, Romania will pull you in and surprise you in so many ways. Piatra Mare The people are friendly and the culture very interesting Unlike other eastern European nations in the Balkans, Romanians are blessed with the warmth of a Latin culture. Shepherds Milking Sheep When I first came to Romania I thought the Romanian language was all they spoke. I’ve joined Hungarian Szekelers in their Pilgrimage in the Csiksomlyo and Straddled the Border of the old Austro-Hungarian empire. Masses In Sumuleu Ciuc It’s still relatively undiscovered and not overrun with tourist I mean just ask the average Joe in the U.S. where is Romania? Sheep Station Horse The Photogenic and Old Authentic Villages Farms in Breb Cluj-Napoca Corvin Castle
1 – Fresh produce and vegetables. Locally grown and organic is the norm. There’s mass produced stuff at the supermarket of course but you can still find a lot of locally grown produce and it’s cheap. 2 – Haystacks. They don’t roll them in machines. Stacking Hay In Breb 3 – People are kind and welcoming. 4 – Brânză de burduf. 5 – Castles and Fortresses. Rasnov Citadel 6 – Maramures. 7 – Transylvania. 8 – The Carpathians. 9 – It’s easy to hitchhike. 10 – Young and progressive people. 11 – Sarmarle. Sarmale 12 – The beer is cheaper than water. 13 – The LEI. 14 – The picturesque cities. Timisoara Romania, Piata Unirii 15 – Harghita County. Farm House On Green Rolling Hill Want to Travel More? 15 Things I Loved About Romania 15 Things I Loved About Romania
A Day in Sibiu, Romania: The Heart of Transylvania Travel without a guide book. That’s always been how I’ve approached travel. The excitement of discovering a place through firsthand information is what motivates me to explore. Sibiu is one such discovery. Sibiu Cathedral View It’s unique architecture of medieval towers and walls with strange windows on rooftops that resemble human eyes make it an appealing place for tourists. Sibiu Main Square Reflections The German population decreased after World War 2 and eventually displaced after the communist regime took over. Sibiu Thick Tower Sibiu is surrounded by thick fortified walls and towers that you can still see today just on the outskirts of the main square and is one of the highlights of the city. Sibiu Main Square Fountain There’s a little square across the way with various restaurants and cafes with brightly colored walls. Sibiu clock towers There’s several museums in Sibiu and apparently some of the most important in Europe. Sibiu has lower and upper town. Sibiu Passageway
Social Classes in the Middle Ages Written by Simon Newman History - Middle Ages There was a very distinctive social class system during the Middle Ages. Royalty The Royalty were the highest of the Social Classes in the Middle Ages. Kings The King was the highest authority in the land. Queens Though they did not often rule alone, Queens played an important part in the Medieval class system. Princes Depending on their birth order, a prince may have been next in line for the throne when his father died. Princesses Princesses were not usually next in line for the throne unless there was no male heir who could take the place on the throne that was being left. Nobility After the Royals, Nobility had the most power of the social classes in the Middle Ages. Hereditary Nobility Dukes The main responsibility of a Duke was to be the ruler of a province. Barons A baron was responsible first to his king and second to the people who lived on his manor. Non-Hereditary Nobility Knights Knights often served as vassals during the Middle Ages. Serfs
Feudal Europe

Ightham Mote, a 14th-century moated manor house in Kent, photo by Silver149 The parcel of land leased to a Baron by the King was known as a manor. Under the Feudal System, the Baron had complete control of the running of the manor provided he met certain obligations set by the King. Castles Most of the Barons who were given land by William the Conqueror, following his invasion and conquest of England in 1066, were French. The Church The church was another central feature of the manor. Manor House The manor house was the home of the Baron. Villeins (serfs, peasants) The largest amount of land on the manor would be used by the villeins. Medieval Life - The Manor
Feudalism and Knights Feudalism and Knights - BackgroundAt the beginning of the Middle Ages a knight was originally a person of noble birth who was trained in a range of weapons, horsemanship and chivalry. A Knights Armor in the Middle Ages was extremely expensive to produce. It had to be tailor-made to fit the Knight exactly or the Knight ran the risk of an ill-fitting suit of armor hampering him in battle. In the early Middle Ages a horse played an extremely important part in the life of a knight. A knight would own several horses which were built for different duties. The Courser was the most sought after and expensive warhorse, but the more common warhorses were the Destriers. Middle Ages Feudalism Feudalism and Knights - Grants of LandFeudalism was based on the exchange of land for military service. Feudalism and Knights - The Feudal LevyA knight who had been rewarded with land pledged his military services. Steps to Knighthood
World War II in Europe The Holocaust took place in the broader context of World War II. Still reeling from Germany's defeat in World War I, Hitler's government envisioned a vast, new empire of "living space" (Lebensraum) in eastern Europe. The realization of German dominance in Europe, its leaders calculated, would require war. 1939After securing the neutrality of the Soviet Union (through the August 1939 German-Soviet Pact of nonaggression), Germany started World War II by invading Poland on September 1, 1939. 1940The relative lull in fighting which followed the defeat of Poland ended on April 9, 1940, when German forces invaded Norway and Denmark. With German encouragement, the Soviet Union occupied the Baltic states in June 1940 and formally annexed them in August 1940. 1941After securing the Balkan region by invading Yugoslavia and Greece on April 6, 1941, the Germans and their allies invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, in direct violation of the German-Soviet Pact. Further Reading Bess, Michael.
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