Orbán combined Germany’s much-criticized rules for drawing electoral districts with Britain’s highly disproportionate first-past-the-post rules for constituency elections, and topped it off with the widely used d’Hondt system for deriving proportional representation from party-list votes, a system that marginalizes small parties and bulks up plurality ones. The 2014 Hungarian system also allowed for blatant gerrymandering, an unusual new system of vote aggregation, and double and even triple standards in the way that different categories of citizens were treated (see my “Hungary, An Election in Question” and “Legal but Not Fair” for details). Those who supported the government found it easy to register and vote from abroad, while those who opposed it had to contend with red tape and misleading instructions circulated by new Fidesz-installed election officials. Unless the allied opposition had garnered at least 6 percent more votes than Fidesz, it could not have won even a bare majority of the parliamentary seats. All told, the election system had been altered to turn a bare plurality into a bare supermajority—hence Orbán’s apparent landslide..
Kim Lane Scheppele explains in The Nation how Hungary has been made over into a one party state
and how powerless the European Union is to do anything about it. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse
on May 20, 2014 -
Reuters: EU court rules against requirement to keep data of telecom users
[different news sources: BBC
, The Register
] Considerably more detail is available in the ECJ press release (pdf)
and the full judgement
but the Court has invalidated Data Retention Directive 2006/24/EC and struck a very clear blow against metadata storage in national law as the authority of the directive will soon cease to exist. This has a particular impact for UK MeFites, as UK law was based on the Directive and crucially passed through Parliament via the European Communities Act and thus skipped some review steps but is founded on the validity of the directive being implemented. Remaining national law would of course also be open to challenge on the same grounds. [more inside]
posted by jaduncan
on Apr 8, 2014 -
Perry Anderson's book length three part series on the history of India from the beginnings of its independence movement
, through independence and partition
into its recent history as a nation-state
is the latest in a series of erudite, opinionated and wordy articles in The London Review of Books by the UCLA professor of history and sociology on the modern history of various countries, so far taking in Brazil, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus, the EU, Russia, Taiwan and France. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Aug 25, 2012 -
Mired deep in financial crisis
, the Greek government of George Papandreou
has sacked the country's military leadership
In a surprise development, Panos Beglitis, Defence Minister, a close confidante of Mr Papandreou, summoned the chiefs of the army, navy and air-force and announced that they were being replaced by other senior officers.
Neither the minister nor any government spokesman offered an explanation for the sudden, sweeping changes, which were scheduled to be considered on November 7 as part of a regular annual review of military leadership retirements and promotions. Usually the annual changes do not affect the entire leadership. [more inside]
posted by Jahaza
on Nov 2, 2011 -
Orbán's concept of moral renewal and economic rehabilitation for Hungary has several tenets: Those without work are to be given work; those who are already working should work more in the future, but without being paid more; in the interest of the country's "stability," those who hold political power today should be allowed to remain in office for as long as possible; and those who once had power and did not use it for the benefit of the people should now be punished.
"Supporters of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán say he has a strict leadership style, while critics warn of the threat of forced political conformity, Jew-baiting and labor camps. Meanwhile, the European Union is saying nothing, apparently accepting the fact that a member state is getting out of control
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear
on Aug 20, 2011 -
In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges
, will have to learn to say "No we can't"
, Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield
, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye
, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees
, we will judge our commitment to sustainability
, scientists should research the causes of religion
, we will all be potential online paparazzi
, English will have more words than any other language
(but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops
, Iran will continue its nuclear quest
while diplomacy lies in shambles
, the sea floor is the new frontier
, we should rethink aging
, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project
-- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it
-- though it has some unfinished business to attend to
, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom
.The Economist: The World in 2009
. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane
on Nov 27, 2008 -
is a not-for-profit website that allows members to buy up surplus "permits to pollute" that form the currency of the European Union's emissions trading scheme
(or EU ETSs
). Members can then "retire" them so that they cannot continue to be traded between the industrial polluters - cement, steel and car manufacturers etc - forced by EU regulation to operate within the system. "I suppose it's a bit like burning money in front of someone so they can't spend it on something bad," says the founder, Bryony Worthington, to the Guardian
. [more inside]
posted by lucia__is__dada
on Sep 19, 2008 -
, an essay in The London Review of Books by UCLA history professor Perry Anderson, criticizes the European Union as a neo-liberal economist's wet dream and unthinking lackey of the United States. [more inside]
posted by Kattullus
on Sep 19, 2007 -
from the English press in alphabetical order collected by the European Union's UK Press Room. Examples include: EU orders farmers to give toys to pigs, pets to be pressure cooked, circus performers must wear hard hats, no more Caerphilly Cheese in Caerphilly, butchers cannot give a dog a bone, EU says Brit yoghurt has to be called Fermented Milk Pudding & Brussels makes bright smiles illegal.
posted by Kattullus
on Aug 25, 2007 -
The United States
and the European Union have agreed to expand a security program
that shares personal data about millions of U.S.-bound airline passengers a year. Information that potentially can be used includes "racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, trade union membership" and data about an individual's health, traveling partners and sexual orientation. "Even a request for a king-size bed at a hotel could be noted in the database." "E.U.'s privacy supervisor expressed 'grave concern
' over whether the rules 'will be fully compatible with European fundamental rights,' calling the arrangement 'without legal precedent.'"
posted by ericb
on Jul 28, 2007 -
At last, someone is going to take the legal route.
Italian authorities have issued arrest warrants for 22 CIA Agents suspected of involvement in the US kidnap/torture policy. "The new warrants allow for the suspects' detention anywhere in the 25-nation EU, a prosecutor said."
That's more lost clients for the European tourist industry.
posted by cassbrown1
on Dec 24, 2005 -
Long ago, in 1998, the EU looked at the future
"... The implications of vertical and horizontal proliferation of this technology and the need for an adequate political response by the EU, to ensure it neither threatens civil liberties in Europe, nor reaches the hands of tyrants."
posted by hank
on Jan 26, 2005 -
Shut Up! "The EU has requested that member states come to a standstill at noon today to observe a three-minute silence for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Is this just a shallow, belated gesture - or the best way to show our solidarity?"
Blake Morrison of the Guardian asks. There's also an interesting "History of Silences" at the end of the article.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian
on Jan 5, 2005 -
New Power for 'Old Europe'
"Since the fall of the Berlin wall, the European Union has been steadily transforming itself from a facilitator of trade to a sophisticated geopolitical power with the teeth to back up its policies... Over the past decade, EU member states have ceded governing and enforcement authority to Brussels in areas ranging from environmental regulation to food safety, accounting standards, telecommunications policy and oversight of corporate mergers."
posted by Irontom
on Dec 13, 2004 -
So this is the new European world.
OK basically there is a new superpower in the world and damned if I can find anyone in my county seems to know or care..... but we're all about one mans untimely grisly death. Compare the world to the US
I think this may be a good indicator of the rifts that exist between us and the rest of humanity...
posted by Elim
on Jun 19, 2004 -
The European Union welcomes 10 new members!
As I write this, the celebrations have started as Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia become members of the EU today.
While some folks are gonna party like crazy
, others are warning of doom and gloom
What do you think? Will this have significant effects on global culture, politics, and economics - or will it merely represent a paper change within the rarefied world of European diplomats, with little other than localized effects on day to day life?
posted by MidasMulligan
on Apr 30, 2004 -
Italian spammers face jail
. The ruling follows estimates
by the European Commission that spam e-mails cost EU companies approximately 2.25bn euros in lost productivity last year.
posted by MintSauce
on Sep 4, 2003 -
The EU decides to expand
and I am obviously looking forward to reading about and discussing this event when i log in on metafilter this morning, only to find that this story has not been posted. This is probably one of the most important changes in the European political landscape since the Wall came down more than ten yeas ago and I must say I am a little disappointed with you all that it was not linked and discussed last night. Shape up metafilter!
posted by FidelDonson
on Dec 14, 2002 -
Have the anti-Euro lobby shot themselves in the foot?
A video promoting opposition to the UK joing the Euro has been critisized for including a spoof of Hitler praising the currency. It's attracted publicity for the campaign, all right, but has it unmasked the "No" campaign as anti-Europe "little Englanders"? (Guardian link)
posted by salmacis
on Jul 3, 2002 -
eu seeks closer ties to iran
This approach has got to be better than calling states 'evil'. This is the same as the US keeping links with China, a less than perfect regime, and one that could be called a sponsor of terrorism.
" Mr Patten told the BBC: "It can't seriously be anybody's idea of a good way of promoting stability in the region to think that we should isolate and cut Iran off for ever."
He said there should be recognition of the strength of the reform movement and be aware that there were other elements which were far less friendly to the West.
"If you don't talk to the reasonable people, you fetch up with fewer reasonable people to talk to."
it's been over a decade since i was in Iran (1992) and the reformers/moderates ahve gained very significant ground since then. The Axis of Evil speech did tremendous harm for moderate Iranians, as it seemed to justify the hardliners stance on the west.
posted by quarsan
on Jun 17, 2002 -
So the rich get richer? Or just another bleeding heart.
EU and US selling poor down the river
Oxfam report accuses west of double standards on trade
The European Union and the United States are robbing the world's poor of billions of dollars each year in export earnings by preaching free trade while protecting their own markets, development campaigners claim today.
posted by onegoodmove
on Apr 11, 2002 -
Press sez "good", public sez "bad"
I'm not posting this story to discuss Bush's EU tour (lord knows we've done that one to death), but rather to examine this line: "Mr. Bush's European tour, though it drew largely upbeat news coverage, did not appear to help him in the eyes of the public." I'm a pretty big believer that the media (oh, let's just go ahead and capitalize it: "The Media") plays a huge role is shaping public perceptions of politicians, and I too thought the coverage of Bush's EU trip was pretty positive -- certainly in comparison to the "he's gonna go over there and get suckerpunched" predictions they were running before his departure. And, still, his numbers go down. What do you think? How large an influence does The Media really have? Does the public just believe what Peter Jennings tells 'em, or is it possible that, *gasp*, they can think for themselves?
posted by Shadowkeeper
on Jun 21, 2001 -
Euro-court outlaws criticism of EU,
and thus demonstrates what inevitably will happen when most European governments have communists(or "former communists") on board. PS: beware that any reply to this tread could be seen upon as additional critisism against the Holy Union...
posted by frednorman
on Mar 7, 2001 -