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Gloomy picture of euro-area growth outlook

depressing-and-gloomyThe European Union trimmed its forecast for euro-area growth next year as the economy struggles to gain momentum with the debt crisis dragging into a fifth year and unemployment at a record.


Mass Surveillance and Europe’s Police State

survelanceA new study says so. It's titled "Mass Surveillance of Personal Data by EU Member States and its Compatibility with EU Law."

Sergio Carrera is a Spanish jurist. Francesco Ragazzi is Netherlands-based Leiden University Professor of International Relations.

They co-wrote the study. They did so with Didier Bigo, Nicholas Hernanz, Julien Jeandesboz, Joanna Parkin, and Amandine Scherrer.

The European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs commissioned it.

The Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) republished it with EP permission. It's called SEPS Paper in Liberty and Security in Europe No. 61/November 2013. More on it below.


Relentless racist attacks on Italy's only black minister continue

Cecile-KyengeItaly's first black minister, a target of racist slurs since her appointment in April, has condemned a spectator who threw bananas towards her while she was making a speech at a party rally.


EU Wants to Put a Carbon Tax on All European Flights

airplaneThe European Commission wants to impose a carbon tax for all flights using Europe's airspace. In order to gain access to airspace in Europe, airlines will now be forced to buy "pollution rights" from the government.


Spaniards migrate to Morocco to seek better lives

inversemigrationsEmilio Rodriguez runs a small construction company in Tangiers in northern Morocco where, like many other Spaniards, he has moved in search of fresher professional pastures.

"In Spain at the moment things are going badly," he says.


Orbán says Fidesz won’t be servant to EU, banks

deda-banksFidesz activists must obtain every vote possible at next year's parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán declared at the party congress on Saturday afternoon.

Addressing the gathering at the Millenáris Park in Buda, he conjured up a vision of internal and external enemies ranged against the party, who are angered by the state-imposed reductions in utility prices.

"Sweet-talking bankers, greedy multinationals, EU bureaucrats and their Hungarian lackeys" will unite against Hungary, he said, so that if the left-wing wins the 2014 elections, international big capital will form the government and Hungarian people will pay the price.


Germany-Turkey diplomatic row over EU bid

turkey eu germGermany has summoned the Turkish ambassador in a row over Turkey's bid for membership of the European Union, BBC reports.

Turkey's EU Minister, Egemen Bagis, has accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of using the Turkey issue in her campaign for re-election.


Mass protests in Romania join ‘Balkans-wide wave’

romanian-protestsA fortnight of protests in Romania against plans for Europe's biggest open-cast gold mine have joined an unusual wave of grassroots opposition across the Balkans, analysts say.

The Romanian civic movement, unprecedented since the 1990s, follows protests by similarly young, educated, middle-class Slovenians, Bosnians, Bulgarians or Turks venting their anger at politicians accused of cronyism and incompetence. "These demonstrations are quite different from organized political rallies or protests for better salaries or pensions. People gathering here are concerned about the future, they are not asking a pay rise but fight more out of idealism," sociologist Mircea Kivu said.

"What you see this year, from Slovenia to Bulgaria, is a revolt of educated, middle-class people who grew up in political apathy. All started with a relatively minor controversy, but quickly turned into a general cry for change," Joost van Egmond, a Dutch journalist who covered the various protest movements in the region, said.


European Governments in Crisis over US Spying Revelations

eu-prizmThe latest revelations regarding the extent of US surveillance of world communications traffic has led to a chorus of protest and expressions of unease in the European media and political circles.

According to the information released last Friday by former CIA employee Edward Snowden, the NSA has collected vast amounts of information based on a global sweep of telephone and internet communication. So-called “heat maps” of the spying operation make clear that the NSA had no qualms about tapping the communications not only of countries it defines to be its enemies, but also those regarded as its long-term allies.

The NSA heat map published in the Guardian newspaper reveals that no less than 3 billion pieces of data were collected from individuals, institutions and businesses across the continent of Europe in the course of March 2013 alone. Every European state was subject to surveillance, with the continent’s biggest economy, Germany, subjected to the most scrutiny.


Netherlands Court rules state responsible for three Srebrenica deaths

srebrenica-675x439The Dutch Supreme Court that the Netherlands is responsible for the deaths of three Muslim men during the infamous Srebrenica massacre in 1995. More than 7,000 Bosnian Muslim boys and men were killed in the massacre, considered to be the worst on European soil since World War II.

At the time, Dutch peacekeeping forces had ordered the men to leave a United Nations compound when it was attacked by Bosnian Serb forces.

The final ruling comes after a long legal battle against the Dutch state whose peacekeeping force (Dutchbat) was stationed in Srebrenica in 1995 during the Srebrenica Genocide. Hasan Nuhanovic, former United Nations (UN) interpreter for the Dutchbat, along with the family of Rizo Mustafic, an electrician for the peacekeeping force, filed a case against the Dutch state claiming that it was liable for the deaths of Mr. Mustafic and Mr. Nuhanovic's father and brother.


IMF admits: we failed to realise the damage austerity would do to Greece

IMF And GreeceThe International Monetary Fund admitted it had failed to realise the damage austerity would do to Greece as the Washington-based organisation catalogued mistakes made during the bailout of the stricken eurozone country.