Regional Conflict Insights


                        BREXIT AND ALL THAT! 

POLITICO Brexit Files: May-Juncker-Barnier tête-à-tête — David Davis ♥ EU unity — Mahatma Nuttall

04/26/17 3:40PM CEST

TODAY’S READOUT — British Prime Minister Theresa May will meet with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier in Downing Street today. …

http://www.politico.eu/article/britains-brexit-denial/

Europe In Crisis

Immigration

On this page regionalconflictinsights.org will follow the many faces of crisis in Europe which give rise to conflict. We will redirect you to scholarly articles photographs and available video clips. This step is in response to the obvious growing tensions related to immigration, with millions of refugees flowing in from North Africa , and  The Middle East in particular fleeing civil strife in Iraq, Syria , and Libya among others. This has brought about a humanitarian crisis in Europe which itself is an overflow from yet another humanitarian crisis in the countries named above.

The refugees are faced with the challenge of having to make dangerous trips sometimes across the sea and into unknown territory where they are held in holding camps awaiting processing which is not at all certain. Europe appears to have no united position on this issue and the political sphere has seen rising opposition to immigration, and these forces appear vindicated in their anti-immigrant attitudes by the growing tides of refugees arriving at their borders.

Terrorism

Recent terrorist attacks in France, the latest being on 13th November, 2015 are another challenge for Europe. These attacks give rise to many issues which emerge from popular discourse about immigration, how to fight terrorism and Middle East diplomatic policy. This is a complex problem not only for France which is the home of a large Muslim population, many with origins in former French colonies, but also for Europe as a whole as the continent tries to establish a coherent immigration policy to respond to the millions attempting to obtain refugee status there. Regionalconflctinsights.org has  received one commentary on the situation which may be found at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/terror-paris-harsh-lessons-time-think-sit-down-shutup-frydenborg, by Brian E. Frydenborg. This commentary touches on many of the obviously relevant issues and is recommended reading for those interested in devising programmes aimed at building peace or other policy strategies in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in France.

Economic Crisis

Greece comes to mind when one thinks about economic crisis in recent times. Greece's problems sent ripples across Europe and threatened the very existence of the monetary arrangements (Eurozone) between members of the European Union. In spite of the endorsement given to the Syriza party in the recent snap elections held in Greece, the question of an alternative to austerity economics is still a very divisive issue . Trade Unions in Greece recently called a nationwide strike which was reported to have been very successful. Again regionalconflictinsights.org has been fortunate to receive at least one report on the recent strike which sheds light on the ongoing debate in Greece about the viability of the austerity measures adopted by past Greek governments and now by the Syriza led government as well. This report can be found at: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=15090,  a report from The Real News Network. The Real News Network has followed this topic for many months and is a great source of news, discussion and reflections on the situation in Greece. These reports are recommended by regionalconflictinsights.org for those who want to hear a far reaching analysis of the Greek economic and political crisis and not just a sound bite or a repetition of the views of those who dictate economic policy for countries such as Greece.

Based in this report it can be said that the policy which the government has agreed to with the lenders who are supposed to be bailing Greece out of its economic crisis is not yet a done deal. The Unions appear to want to have some impact on future decisions relating to the remedies sought to end the economic crisis. We are reminded that conflict is never about mere figures and balancing books. In the final analysis the impact on citizens' everyday lives is the heart of the crisis and the conflict and while one problem may appear to be solved by balancing books, who knows what the long term effects of the austerity measures will be? 

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

Tag: Austerity , terrorism, economic policy, French politics, Greek Politics, conflict, extremism.


      Gerard Galluci's Analysis -  The Kosovo Declaration of Independence                                   


Some – including now the New York Times – are beginning to notice that the Russians appear to be taking advantage of precedents set by the US and EU for previous armed interventions and unilateral political alterations.  At the top of many lists is the 1999 NATO intervention in Serbia – taken without any UN Security Council authorization – and the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence taken outside the framework of UNSCR 1244.  The US and most EU members recognized the new “state” even though it violated Serbian sovereignty.  The US has consistently argued that the Kosovo intervention and eventual rejection of Serbia’s claim to its cultural homeland were “unique” and set no precedents.  The US continues to repeat the same refrain now, suggesting that the NATO intervention there was to protect people and arguing that Serbia lost its claim to Kosovo because of its actions there. But all this is clearly in the eye of the beholder and ignores that others may see things differently and see their own national interests at stake in other places, such as Russia in Ukraine.

Without reprising the complex history of Ukraine and Crimea, the essentials appear clear.  Russia sees the US and Western Europe trying to extend their political and economic empire into the very birthplace of its civilization.  Russia sees an effort to manage a post-Yanukovych transition agreed in negotiations immediately trashed and recognized by the West.  Putin put pieces on the board in Crimea – the actions on the ground over the last several days – while signaling that he is open to deal with the new Ukrainian government and accept that Yanukovych is history.  Perhaps there are genuine negotiations going on between the parties behind closed doors.  But the rhetoric from the West suggests that all Moscow is getting in return is continued US and EU demands that first it surrender.

Beyond the question of what exactly the Western powers expect of Russia and how likely it is that Russia will meet those expectations there is a more fundamental question that should be asked.   Why should the west care what happens with Crimea?  What US national interests, for example, are at stake there?  What difference would it make if the people of Crimea decide to leave Ukraine – as the Kosovo Albanians did with Serbia – and join Russia.  We all know the shallow historical connection of Crimea to Ukraine and that Russians are a large majority there.  Why could the West not accept Russian annexation of Crimea as a somewhat belated border adjustment in the wake of the end of the USSR?   The knee-jerk support the West gives to Ukrainian sovereignty cannot in the full light of day be seen as simply “principled.”  Rather it is an assertion that when the West violates international standards – that force may be used only with the approval of the UNSC and that state sovereignty must otherwise be respected – it’s okay because it’s the good guys doing it.  When others do the same, it is unacceptable.

Read more at :http://www.transconflict.com/2014/03/care-crimea-103/

                                             Interview on the protests in Ukraine  

You are invited to apply for academic programs at the World Mediation Centre including online courses in  Conflict Management and Mediation. See websites and application form below!

District Manager, World Mediation Centre.

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                                              Jailed Journalists In Turkey

How Erdogan Got the Protest Coverage He Wanted


Over the past few years, Turkey has made headlines as the world’s top jailer of journalists. According to Reporters Without Borders, a nongovernmental organization that supports press freedom, 67 journalists currently sit in Turkish prisons. For a country that has cast itself, not altogether mistakenly, as a regional leader and a beacon of democracy in the Middle East and the Muslim world more broadly, that is bad news.

The government insists that only a small fraction of the jailed journalists are behind bars for crimes related to their reporting. (Most of the journalists are Kurds accused of links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, considered a terrorist group.) Human rights organizations and media watchdogs beg to differ. Of the 67 jailed journalists, a Reporters Without Borders spokesperson said in an email, “a minimum of 33 journalists and 2 media assistants” have been detained for their reporting.

Yet the debate about numbers misses the point. As the last two weeks have shown, Turkey’s jailed journalists are only the most visible symptom of a much wider malaise: the cowing of the country’s free press.

Read more at: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/139505/piotr-zalewski/the-turkish-medias-darkest-hour#cid=soc-twitter-at-snapshot-the_turkish_media_s_darkest_ho-000000


           Taksim Square Cleared of Protesters As Conflict Escalates

                                               PROTESTING G8 SUMMIT

 

Youth employment

ILO Chief: Less austerity, more investment needed to tackle youth jobs crisis

Failing to act on the youth jobs crisis would sow the seeds of social unrest and destroy hopes for sustainable growth. That is a cost the world cannot afford, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said at a conference on youth employment in Budapest.

News | 11 January 2013
BUDAPEST (ILO News) – International Labour Organization (ILO) chief Guy Ryder has called for less austerity and more investments to promote a jobs recovery at a time when the youth employment crisis threatens to scar “the very fabric of our societies”.

Ryder stressed that measures promoting youth employment should be shielded from austerity policies and that spending on such programmes should be increased.

“Investing in these measures is far less costly than dealing with the consequences through unemployment benefits, anti-social behaviour or a more permanent disconnect from the labour market,” the ILO Director-General told government, worker and employer representatives at a conference in Budapest.

“The higher the investment, the lower the youth unemployment rate,” he added.

Ryder pointed out that the global crisis took a bigger toll on youth than any other group.
  • Worldwide, nearly 75 million youth aged 15 to 24 are unemployed.
  • In Europe, 5.5 million youth are unemployed. That represents 22 per cent, more than double the rate for adults.
  • Long-term unemployment affects nearly 30 per cent of unemployed youth in Europe.
  • Some 14 million young people, or more than 15 per cent of European youth aged between 15 and 29, are NEETs - neither in education, employment or training. The number of NEETs has almost doubled over nearly two years.
“We cannot and should not let that happen before our very eyes," said Ryder. "It is time for action, for immediate and targeted action.”

Apprenticeships and other work-training programmes, government incentives for employers who hire young people, entrepreneurship, social enterprises and cooperatives, as well as public employment programmes can be part of the solution.

But isolated interventions are not enough to tackle the issue. Targeted measures, such as youth guarantees, are far more effective.

Ryder stressed that such packages of measures are affordable and that the costs of inactivity – allowing long-term unemployment to grow and NEETs to disconnect from society – would be far higher.

The ILO Director-General said the 2012 ILO Call for Action on youth employment was a very strong call to policy makers to respond to the youth employment crisis. The Call for Action is accompanied by a policy portfolio of possible and tested measures from around the world, that were debated and evaluated long and hard during the last International Labour Conference.

He also welcomed the package of measures proposed by the European Commission last December in Brussels to address youth unemployment.

Ryder said the ILO will support and fully cooperate with the European Commission in the implementation and evaluation of the effectiveness of different measures promoting youth employment at the European level.

He also highlighted ILO support for bipartite negotiations between European employers’ and workers’ organizations for a framework action plan on youth
 
See: employment.http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/newsroom/news/WCMS_201233/lang--en/index.htm
 

 Unemployment Rises to New High in Euro Zone

The euro zone jobless rate rose to 11.8 percent in November from 11.7 percent in October, according to Eurostat, the statistical agency of the European Union. Eurostat estimated that 18.8 million people in the euro zone were unemployed in November, two million more than a year earlier.

Read more at : http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/09/business/global/daily-euro-zone-watch.html?smid=tw-nytimesworld&seid=auto&_r=0

 

Crisis Of Values In Europe

Extract from Article by George Soros 

 

'Thus, policies designed to preserve the financial system and the euro are transforming the EU into the opposite of an open society. There is an apparent contradiction between the euro's financial requirements and the EU's political objectives. The financial requirements could be met by replicating the arrangements that prevailed in the global economy in the 1980's and dividing the eurozone into a center and periphery; but that could not be reconciled with the principles of an open society.

There are ways in which the policies pursued to preserve the euro could be modified to meet the EU's political objectives. For example, individual countries' government bonds could be replaced by Eurobonds. But, insofar as the contradiction remains, the political objectives ought to take precedence. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The financial problems are pressing - and monopolizing politicians' attention. Europe's leaders are so preoccupied with the crisis of the day that they have no time to ponder the long-term consequences of their actions. As a result, they continue on a course that perpetuates the division between center and periphery.

George Soros

Read more: http://wyborcza.biz/biznes/1,109170,13130373,George_Soros__

Europe_s_Crisis_of_Values.html#ixzz2H87zuDOQ

 

Alexis Tsipras: Frontline of a financial war

The leader of the Greek opposition on how his country has become a "debt colony" forced to follow "criminal" policies.

Talk to Al Jazeera Last Modified: 22 Dec 2012 11:19

It is a small country, but its problems have reverberated around the world. For almost three years, Greece has been at the centre of a global financial crisis - sinking under huge debts and threatening to bring the entire eurozone down with it.

European countries and the IMF have leant Athens billions and billions of euros - but in return for these bailouts, they have demanded severe austerity measures.

Wages and pensions have been cut, unemployment has soared, and the Greek economy is predicted to shrink by about one quarter by the end of 2013.

On the Greek streets there has been anger, with many strikes and protests.

But this past week, the S&P credit rating agency upgraded Greece. It remains clear, however, that the crisis continues and not everyone shares the government's view that things are improving.

One of the primary voices with no confidence in the current government is Alexis Tsipras, the leader of the left-wing main opposition Syriza Party.

"The debt will just keep growing and we will find ourselves in a vicious circle: new austerity measures will be taken, then our deficit will grow again, we will need more cuts, and so forth," Tsipras says.

His party says Greece has become "a debt colony", forced to follow the wrong economic policies.

"We have to have a haircut because the debt is not sustainable, and this haircut will be radical and substantial so here the IMF is right ...," he says. "But we have a model that offers a solution. It is the same model that was applied to Germany after World War II. In 1953, 28 countries - and Germany - decided that they would write off 60 percent of the German debt. And they imposed a five-year moratorium on interest payments and they added a clause that Germany would only pay the remaining interest if the German economy was growing again. I think this is a sustainable solution not only for Greece but for all the countries in southern Europe."

Many believe the young and charismatic politician is going to be the next Greek prime minister, but what, Al Jazeera asks him, would Greece look like under a Prime Minister Tsipras?

"Let's be honest," Tsipras says, "Greece has a dysfunctional public sector, nobody denies that. Greece is a country with no fair system of taxation. The rich don't pay taxes in Greece, all the burden is put on the soldiers or the poor. The rich people are protected by ministers. I am talking about the people who have sent their money to Switzerland and have evaded taxes. We will promote these reforms and I think we are the only ones that can do that, because we have no interconnections with the strong financial players in Greece."

"But," he adds, "there are some reforms we will not promote. For example, we will not ask for lay-offs in the public sector, we will transfer them .... What we want is to restructure the public sector on the basis of European standards."

On this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, Al Jazeera's Barnaby Phillips talks to the Greek politician who calls the current policy in Greece "criminal" and promises to change it.

"The only way for the euro to survive is to keep Greece in the eurozone, because if one country leaves the whole puzzle will collapse. And the only way for Greece to remain in the eurozone is for Greeks to survive," Tsipras says. "As we speak there is an issue of survival. Greece is a country in humanitarian crisis. A few days ago, Greece resorted to the World Bank. The World Bank takes care of Third World countries. Greece is not a Third World country. No, that's wrong, Greece is a country of the eurozone, it was one of the 28 most developed countries of the world and suddenly a global experiment took place in Greece. The experiment failed. We cannot keep trying it."

 

                                        Austerity Woes 

                     Greek Citizens Protest Austerity Measures