Newsletter 01/2016

Dear Friends,

We wish you all a happy new year!

This year starts with a debate on refugees, as last year ended. More important is, however, the question whether Europe can live up to its values and standards in difficult times?  Some even fear that the Union may fall apart. Times are over that the EU is a project without alternative. The EU needs to bridge the gap to its citizens and explain itself better than it did in the past. So shaping the modern Europe to make is fit for a better tomorrow is on top of this year's agenda.

The Paris COP 21 Climate summit was not a failure, in these days this is already success. The Paris Declaration, that still needs national ratifications, sets the path for keeping the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. To reach the goal all actors need to commit themselves: governments, civil society and the business sector.

The European Union is the biggest democratic entity in the world. Spreading and fostering democracy within the Union and beyond its borders is more important than ever. Human rights defenders and democracy promoters complain about shrinking public and democratic spaces as authoritarian forms of governance gain ground around the globe. Preserving liberal democracy and its values and make it work for the citizens is the best way to defend our freedom.

Those are the challenges that will shape our programme for 2016.

Kind regards

Klaus Linsenmeier, Director Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union

Upcoming Events

Jan 27

Screening of "Ecumenopolis: City Without Limits"


Newest Articles

Refugee crisis 2015: Chronicle of a foretold crisis

Dec 07, 2015 by Andreas Takis

2015 is a hallmark year for migration to the EU. It is the year when the impasses of European migration policy manifested themselves in an explosive fashion. The massive influx of Syrian refugees into European territory resulted in the collapse of the European border and the European political project was once again put into question. The "hot summer of migration" triggered the reshaping of European policy, which nonetheless continues to be trapped in the dilemma of border security versus humanitarianism.

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How to Make Europe Prosper Again: the Challenges of Unemployment and Economic Stagnation

 Jan 07, 2016 by Annamaria Simonazzi

More than eight years since the outbreak of the global crisis and five years into the eurozone crisis the Union looks widely divided. Between 2010 and 2014, debtor and creditor countries alike have implemented ‘a massive contractionary shock – equal to four percentage points of the monetary union’s economy. The GIIPS [Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain] accounted for 48% of the fiscal swing, even though they accounted for only a third of EZ  GDP. EZ core nations decided that they too had to embrace fiscal rectitude. As the monetary union’s largest economy, tightening by Germany accounted for 32% of the Eurozone’s overall fiscal tightening. France’s austerity amounted to 13% of the EZ total.’

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Key Messages from Warsaw to Paris and Beyond

 Nov 30, 2015 by Silvia Brugger Radostina Primova Rosalind Cook

The Brussels climate dialogue series that was held from the Climate Summit in Warsaw (COP19) until the Climate Summit in Paris (COP21) resulted in the following six key messages to build EU climate ambition in the international climate negotiations

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COP 21 and the Paris Agreement: A Force Awakened

 Dec 15, 2015 by Lili Fuhr Liane Schalatek Maureen Santos Hans JH Verolme Radostina Primova Damjan Bogunović

Globally, political leaders are lauding the acceptance of the global and legally binding Paris Agreement on Climate Change at COP 21 as a historical moment. It achieves a goal long believed unattainable. However, judged against the enormity of the challenge and the needs and pressure from people on the ground demanding a global deal anchored in climate justice (“system change, not climate change!”), the Paris Agreement can only be called a collective failure and disappointment. Read a critical assessment by hbs colleagues from around the world.  

Read more

Civil society under pressure

 Dec 02, 2015 by Barbara Unmüßig

Shrinking – closing – no space: Governments across all continents villainize civil society actors. Where does their sense of threat emanate from?

Read more

Dealing with Authoritarian Regimes: Challenges for a Value-based Foreign Policy

 Nov 27, 2015 by Ralf Fücks

From China to Russia to Iran, voices questioning the universality of liberal democracy are growing louder. How confidently can and should the West stand up for democracy and human rights in the world? 

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Portugal‘s ‘Unwanted Youth‘

 Jan 14, 2016 by Rica Heinke

When the euro crisis was at its peak, European media largely ignored the situation in Portugal, even though the small Iberian country with a population of just over 10 million suffered massive economic and fiscal difficulties. In contrast to Greece, Portugal was seen as a European model student, since the conservative Portuguese government made no effort to resist the Troika´s structural adjustment measures.

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Newest Publications

How should we communicate the COP21 outcome and what does it mean for the EU’s 2016 agenda?

 Dec 01, 2015 Download Policy Brief 5

The level of political commitment in the build up to Paris means a deal is very likely. But, the devil will be in the detail. A successful climate agreement will establish an enduring framework within which governments can work together to keep the rise in global temperatures below 2°C. It will shape the development of the real energy economy in the months and years after Paris with major implications for the EU agenda. A strong outcome in Paris will need to be precise and concise if we are to achieve an enduring regime to manage climate risk in the future. For the EU, 2016 is an important year for its climate and energy agenda, with a range of legislative proposals expected as the implementation of the Energy Union strategy gets further underway. The final Policy Brief of the "From Warsaw to Paris" series discusses how to communicate the COP21 outcome and what the outcomes of Paris mean for the EU’s 2016 climate and energy agenda.

Read more

Driving Regional Cooperation Forward in the EU's 2030 Renewable Energy Framework

 Dec 19, 2015 Download Event Report Download Report Download Presentation

The EU's 2030 renewable energy framework presents a great opportunity to boost regional cooperation in the Energy Union to bridge the gap between national energy policies and a Europeanisation of renewables deployment. 

Read more

The Spanish General Election: Will Another Austerity Government Bite the Dust?

 Jan 12, 2016 Download Event Report

The Spanish election will, indeed, change the political landscape of the country. Two new big parties will enter the political arena and make a coalition government necessary. That government will have to deal with a country in a dismal economic situation and may well find itself caught between economic and social interests, while reforming the constitution to deal with several political crises within the country.

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Syria after the Russian Intervention: in Search of a political Strategy to End the Crisis

 Dec 03, 2015 Download Event Report

From the beginning the crisis in Syria has been extremely complex and full of dilemmas for the international community, in particular the European countries and the European Union. The Syrian refugee crisis reminds the EU and its Member States how close Syria actually is and how many Syrians expect Europe to play a role, if not in finding a political solution then at least in guaranteeing their security. The rise of ISIS last year and the Russian involvement in Syria in the last months, not only added further to the complexity, but also to the urgency for the EU and its Member States to act.

Read more

Capacity Building - Conclusions and Recommendations "How to Counter Right Wing Populism and Extremism in Europe"

 Dec 24, 2015

Across Europe, democracies are increasingly under pressure from right-wing parties and movements that often combine radical anti-immigrant and Islamophobic positions with populist rhetoric. Those movements differ strongly in their party programmes, ranging from Eurosceptic to overtly racist but share a disdain for the existing political institutions. From October 12 – 16 2015, the Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union hosted a capacity building for 16 young Europeans from France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Sweden and the UK. The aim was to give the participants the possibility to compare the right-wing movements in their respective countries of origin and to jointly develop policies to combat this disquieting trend.

Read more

The Corporatist Economy and the Nanny State

 Nov 16, 2015 Download Publication

To what extent should the state intervene in the economy? Political debates on this issue often follow a false dichotomy. We take for granted that the Left favours a high degree of state intervention, while  onservatives are associated with support for free markets. The important question is not the extent of state intervention but rather the nature of the legislation that we must adopt in order to best serve the interests of the broad majority.

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hbs Office of the Month

The Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung is a global network of more than 30 offices with various projects. Once a month, we will keep you updated on a different project.

In China, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung works in cooperation with the China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO). The office also works with governmental departments and think tanks, academic institutions and civil society organizations. See the website of our Chinese office to find out more about the foundation's work in China.

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