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Neoliberalism's failure state

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 - 39 comments

Surveillance state reverse

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 - 5 comments

Codename: DROPMIRE

According to The Guardian and Der Spiegel, the NSA has bugged EU government offices in Washington and New York, installed spyware on EU embassy communications equipment, and used the NATO headquarters in Brussels as a base to infiltrate the phone and computer networks of the EU's Justus Lipsius building. In addition, the NSA is targeting German civilian communications, monitoring ca. 500 million phone calls, emails and text messages per day.
European leaders are not amused- these revelations could endanger a trade pact worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
posted by anemone of the state on Jun 30, 2013 - 363 comments

The Hunt For "Red October"

An advanced and well-orchestrated computer spy operation that targeted diplomats, governments and research institutions for at least five years has been uncovered by security researchers in Russia.
The highly targeted campaign, which focuses primarily on victims in Eastern Europe and Central Asia based on existing data, is still live, harvesting documents and data from computers, smartphones and removable storage devices, such as USB sticks, according to Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based antivirus firm that uncovered the campaign. Kaspersky has dubbed the operation “Red October.”
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jan 15, 2013 - 26 comments

No Prize Awarded

The 2012 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the European Union.
posted by gerryblog on Oct 12, 2012 - 95 comments

Perry Anderson's essays about modern states in The London Review of Books

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 - 6 comments

Consumer Rights in the Age of Steam

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled that people can resell used software licenses. Rock, Paper, Shotgun speculates about what this will mean for gaming, an industry which has embraced digital distribution wholeheartedly.
posted by gilrain on Jul 3, 2012 - 77 comments

"Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend."

"Of course water hydrates." or does it? EU bans claim that water can prevent dehydration. Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration. And hysteria over the EU's ruling on water and dehydration ensues. You can read the EU's ruling here (PDF). Highland Spring vows to defy EU rule on water labelling.
posted by Fizz on Nov 20, 2011 - 103 comments

"How long before ... Greece, in its desperation, turns once again to the colonels?"

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 - 152 comments

The Goulash Archipelago

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." [previously]
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on Aug 20, 2011 - 17 comments

Yes! We Have No Sustainable Fisheries!

The EU is to (finally) reform the Common Fisheries Policy [NYT] (BBC Q&A). As fishsubsidy.org note, the industry is currently subsidised by over €1bn a year, and the new policy fails to allow for a large change in fleet size. If you're looking for ways to help on a personal level, mefi's own Zarkonnen has produced a guide to what seafood is safe to ethically eat that I've found useful. [via mefi projects]
posted by jaduncan on Jul 30, 2011 - 27 comments

In Europe, tea-parties of a euroskeptic stripe threaten EU

In Europe, bail-out and immigration fears have led to the rise of nationalism and xenophobia, a crisis that now threatens the EU itself. Right-wing euroskeptic parties and politicians have gained in power, such as the True Finns, they can roughly be seen as "Europe's Tea Parties". Greece is talking about dropping the Euro currency (due to Finnish demands), other PIGS could be next. Denmark has introduced custom checks at its borders again, seeking to stop the flow of intra euro traffic, while France and Italy have raised the possibility of reintroducing their own border controls.
posted by stbalbach on May 12, 2011 - 49 comments

Herman! It's me, it's Cathy, I've come home, whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh, let me in at your position of Europe's first High Representative for Foreign Affairs.

Europe finally has a president. And a foreign policy chief. [more inside]
posted by creeky on Nov 20, 2009 - 91 comments

Poland Approves Mandatory "Chemical Castration" Drug Treatment for Convicted Pedophiles

In response to an incest case in which a man imprisoned, raped and fathered two children with his own daughter, Poland's Lower House of Parliament has approved an amendment to their penal code which makes chemical castration of pedophiles mandatory in certain cases. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 26, 2009 - 127 comments

EU Profiler

EU Profiler: the authors of Kieskompas, a "Vote-O-Mat"-style tool for the undecided Dutch voter, following up on their adaptation for the US Presidential election (previously on MeFi), will launch an EU-wide version for the European Parliament elections upcoming in June. So Europeans, urge your political parties to register! The tool itself will launch in May.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Mar 29, 2009 - 6 comments

Stereotyping our way to a better EU

SatiricalCzechArtFilter: A massive art installation at the European Council building in Brussels has raised hackles. Bulgaria, in particular, is not pleased at being represented as a "Turkish Toilet." [more inside]
posted by LMGM on Jan 14, 2009 - 37 comments

The Economist: The World in 2009

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 - 31 comments

Buy yourself a tonne of CO2 emissions

sandbag.org.uk 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 - 52 comments

Depicting Europe as a neo-liberal economist's wet dream and unthinking lackey of the United States.

Depicting Europe, 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 - 21 comments

Euromyths

Euromyths 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 - 64 comments

Homeland Security Gets Personal

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 - 71 comments

Esta thread est en Europanto.

Que would happen if, wenn Du open your Metafilter, finde eine message in esta lingua? No est Englando, no est Germano, no est Espano, no est keine known lingua - aber Du understande! Wat happen zo! Habe your computero eine virus catched? Habe Du sudden BSE gedeveloped? No, Du esse lezendo la neue europese lingua: de Europanto!
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Sep 5, 2006 - 130 comments

CIA Arrest warrants

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 - 45 comments

EU weather satelite unit

accurate weather forecasts...yes... Add your own sound effects.
posted by longsleeves on Dec 22, 2005 - 6 comments

An Appraisal of Technologies of Political Control

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 - 8 comments

Shut Up

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 - 39 comments

New Power for 'Old Europe'

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 - 26 comments

It depends on what's important to you!

The European Union is the world's largest superpower: of course, militarily the US is still dominates, but this article (Salon day pass required) argues that in terms of economy, personal freedom, the welfare of its citizens and human rights the EU is far and away number one. Via DailyKos.
posted by sic on Nov 18, 2004 - 85 comments

The Super Power no one heard of

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 - 54 comments

The 25 Member EU

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 - 43 comments

Spam, Spam, Spam

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 - 7 comments

The EU Constitution

The proposed European Union Constitution will lead to a massive welfare state? Or, "Compare and Contrast the United States Constitution with that of the EU" From a cursory glance at the depth of the document, this detail-oriented Constitution is entirely alien to one such as myself used to the broad Madisonian brushstrokes of the United States Constitution. What are the merits and/or limits of the 'broad' versus 'detailed' Constitution? Is the EU taking on more than a government should by stating provisions for general welfare and environmental awareness? Or, is the EU looking ahead in ways that others have not?
posted by tgrundke on Aug 6, 2003 - 23 comments

10 Country Expansion Of European Union

My Union Is Bigger Than Your Union: On May 1 2004 the European Union will become 25-country strong and the most powerful political and economic force in the world. And? [More inside.]
posted by MiguelCardoso on Dec 15, 2002 - 28 comments

The EU expands

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 - 43 comments

What do you think of when I say United States?

What do you think of when I say United States? Probably not this.
posted by humbe on Oct 29, 2002 - 62 comments

blimey charlie the french are getting right hot

blimey charlie the french are getting right hot under the collar. There is growing indignation in france at the creeping use of the english language. Well now it seems that the EU, with an impeccable track record of supporting the french is suddenly ruffling a few feathers.
posted by johnnyboy on Aug 2, 2002 - 47 comments

Have the anti-Euro lobby shot themselves in the foot?

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 - 23 comments

eu seeks closer ties to iran

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. your thoughts.....
posted by quarsan on Jun 17, 2002 - 13 comments

So the rich get richer? Or just another bleeding heart.

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 - 16 comments

Is 'lumpy sauce' a vegetable?

Is 'lumpy sauce' a vegetable? EU officials are meeting today to decide this burning question. (more inside)
posted by mr_crash_davis on Jan 9, 2002 - 13 comments

EU Countries Soften Cannabis Policy.

EU Countries Soften Cannabis Policy. This past week, experts and officials from around the EU met in the central Dutch city of Utrecht to exchange views at the European City Conference on Cannabis policy. (From Radio Nederlands)
posted by tpoh.org on Dec 8, 2001 - 10 comments

European Parliament says Echelon exists

European Parliament says Echelon exists and is more or less powerless to stop it. All the more reason for government and industry to create encryption standards.
posted by skallas on Jul 4, 2001 - 6 comments

Press sez "good", public sez "bad"

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 - 32 comments

Where (and how) does the European Community

Where (and how) does the European Community think they're going to store a million gigabytes of data per day -- for seven years?
posted by Steven Den Beste on May 16, 2001 - 20 comments

Euro-court outlaws criticism of EU,

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 - 11 comments

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