EM Germany Weekly Round-Up | week ending 10/10/2014
Every weekend, EM Germany’s weekly round-up introduces the highlights of that week‘s European issues – a brief survey of the press, EM Germany’s activities and to supplement it a look at international discussions on Twitter.
EM Germany weekly round-up – the week’s highlights in print, at EM Germany and on Twitter
03/10-10/10/2014– Under the motto “United in Diversity” Germany’s Unification Day was celebrated over the long weekend. On the occasion of the national holiday, Chancellor Angela Merkel highlighted the impact the peaceful revolution in the former GDR 25 years ago had on reunification. Politicians in the Chancellor’s government to Minister-Presidents also used the day to address global crises and to call for solidarity with immigrants and refugees (Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung).
Islamic State conquered the Kurdish headquarters in Kobane and is advancing in Syria and Iraq despite air strikes. According to activists, the Islamists are controlling 40 per cent of Kobane, including the headquarters of the Kurds. The US and its allies are continuing their attack from the air against IS. Despite the impending fall of the city, Turkey, which has stationed tanks within shot and sight of Kobane on its southern border, is not prepared to act against the terrorists alone. The international alliance against IS must agree on a common strategy. The Turkish government’sapproach to the fight against IS is being met with resistance in the country. In recent days, pro-Kurdish demonstrations took place in numerous Turkish towns and cities (Tagesspiegel).
European Commission chief-designate Juncker’s start in office may well be delayed, after Alenka Bratusek suffered a clear defeat in the EP hearings and declared her resignation from the new EU Commission. Furthermore, the Parliament has demanded a different portfolio for Hungary’s Commissioner. EM Germany Board Member representing the Young European Federalists (JEF) Germany, Linn Selle, also demands new suggestions for the youth portfolio. Formally, the Parliament can only accept or reject the Commission as a whole. The Juncker Commission is a first in the history of the EU, because the European Parliament has forced a direct link between European election and the appointment of the Commission President (Süddeutsche Zeitung, SZ).
EM Germany President Rainer Wend calls upon the Juncker Commission to relaunch the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) as a powerful and credible EU policy. This could also help counterbalance national cuts in military and foreign policy spending.
This week, scientist, writers and peace activists were honoured in Stockholm and Oslo with the Nobel Prize 2014. This year’s round of nominations ends with the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences on Monday, 13 October. On Wednesday, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to a German: Stefan Hell and two Americans received the prize for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy (Frankfurter Allgemeine).
The occupation in Hong Kong is over – after around a week of blockades and occupation, the Hong Kong democracy movement has come to a standstill. The students certainly do not want the standstill to be regarded as the end of their protests. On Monday, representatives from Hong Kong student organisations made sure to emphasise that the fight for democracy and direct elections is not over.
Ebola case in Spain – after the first Ebola infection in Europe, Spanish nursing staff and doctors have been demonstrating. For the first time since the beginning of the Ebola epidemic a person outside West Africa has been infected with the virus. A nurse, who had treated an infected missionary from Sierra Leone in a hospital in Madrid, has tested positive for the disease. Besides the nurse, three further people have in the meantime been brought to hospital with suspected Ebola (SZ).
The hearings of the European Commissioners-designate occupied Twitter users under the hashtag #EPhearings2014 – #bratusek who has resigned in the meantime, and the shaky candidate #navracsics were at the fore. It will come to a #TeamJunckerEU #reshuffle. In Germany, during the #Lichterfest (light festival) in Leipzig, the peaceful revolution in 1989 was commemorated. While the world’s attention is focussed on the attacks on the Syrian-Kurdish city #Kobane by “Islamic“ terror group ISIS, the awarding of the #nobelprize2014 for peace to #satyarthi und #Malalagave hope. In a socio-political context, the #EUSummit in Milan was equally followed, as was the passing of Prime Minister #Renzi‘s employment reform law, the #JobsAct.