Cities are a great place for social experiments. Benjamin R. Barber


Austerity in Europe



Years of austerity have left their mark on Europe: budget deficits have shrunk, reforms have been delayed, and the social costs of cuts are increasingly visible.

Less free market, more political creation

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Recently I read two seemingly contradictory ‘letters to the editor’ in a daily paper, I frequent regularly: “We always claimed that the boom of the East is really happening in the West,” a citizen from Wittstock in Brandenburg wrote. A reader from a city in North-Rhine-Westphalia, on the other hand, criticized my party DIE LINKE for a “policy which focuses too strongly on the Eastern Germany.”

by Dietmar Bartsch

Impoverished Living in a Wealthy Nation

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The German teacher Friedrich Froebel founded an educational establishment in the East-German Keilhau, Thuringia, about two hundred years ago. His credo at the time: “Children shall not be safeguarded or indoctrinated, but shall happily grow in the sunlight, gain strength and develop.” And 200 years later? Well, today we can hardly ignore the encompassing concern of society for our offspring.

by Dietmar Bartsch

European migrant crisis


Refugees welcome

European migrant crisis engages the european societies.

Why the refugee crisis may sweep Angela Merkel to a 4th election victory

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Does the refugee crisis spell doom for Merkel and usher in the end of her chancellorship? Not necessarily. After a decade in the job she shows remarkably little signs of fatigue and there is no reason either to believe she is daunted by the intensity of opposition her controversial migration policy has been incurring. Nor does a growing amount of personal defamation seem to sap her determination.

by Christian Schnee

Is there such a thing as “the wrong Europe”?

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In a recent interview the associate director of Portugal´s border agency, Luis Gouveia, said that besides bureaucracy the difficulty in the resettlement of refugees is due to the fact that they don´t want to come to Portugal but to the Northern European countries like Germany or Sweden.

by Simone Duarte

The Pegida movement in Germany


Ill at ease

The Pegida movement is on the rise in Germany. What do those self-declared “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the Occident” want and what does their existence mean for Merkel’s government?

The Dependents

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Instead of heavy-handed rants about Pegida, we should ask ourselves what makes demonstrators so extreme, since no one is born a racist.

by Diana Kinnert

Let’s talk, Pegida!

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The flat condemnation of Pegida is hysterical. Modern democracy means dialogue.

by Christopher Gohl

Innocently German

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The claim of the Pegida movement – “We are the people” – isn’t just objectively wrong but also dangerously seductive.

by Heinrich Schmitz

Fall of the Berlin Wall anniversary


25 years later

The Berlin Wall is a thing of the past. But has the idea of it completely disappeared – or is there still a Wall left in our minds and in our perception of the world today?

The Other Truth

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History is written by those who emerge victorious. The legacy of those who don’t is dependent on the good will of the ones left standing – and whatever eulogies they are prepared to deliver.

by Reinier de Graaf

Reunited at last

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Our understanding of 1989 as a “reunification” and a “return to the normal course of history” is very much conditioned by our (mis?)understanding of the ruptures of 1914 and 1939.

by David Pizzo

“Generation German Unity”

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It’s up to the post-reunification generation to debate which lessons from the Nazi and GDR experiences should be passed down.

by Manfred Wilke

The exotic appeal of chicken-shaped egg cups

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How I came to discover East Germany: Musings from a naïve Western German.

by Julia Korbik

Former Communist States in the EU


Ten Years Later

On the 1st of May, it will have been ten years since many formerly Communist states joined the European Union. But while this step was universally heralded as the end of long a transition towards democracy, the current picture is more nuanced: Many of the hopes associated with accession to the EU have proved to be short-sighted and the financial crisis has been a divisive force in an enlarged Union. How have the new member states fared, ten years into their EU membership?

Specters of the past

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For Slovakia, European Union membership seemed like the holy grail. But the country’s ills merely hide behind this shiny new surface.

by Radovan Geist

An Uneasy Journey

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Ten years after joining the European Union, many Czechs are deeply skeptical of it. But the disenfranchisement was mostly caused by domestic politics.

by Jiří Pehe

Europe, a love story

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Slovenia’s entry into the European Union was filled with pomp and ceremony. But things quickly turned sour.

by Erica Johnson Debeljak

Topics of the European Elections 2014


Europe at the Polls

The upcoming elections to the European Parliament will determine whether Europe is moving towards an ever-closer union or drifting towards a fragmented and estranged region. We want to address the pressing questions and background issues of this watershed election.

First as tragedy, then as farce

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Europe is putting up a brave front after the watershed election, but now it has to face the bitter reality.

by Max Tholl

A step too far

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In the Netherlands, political engagement has tempered racism and anti-migration sentiments. But it has done so at a cost.

by Daan Welling

A bleak reality

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Across Europe, Roma people are facing blatant racism. And yet there is hope.

by Dessislava Kirova

Chasing the tale

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Have pro-Europeans been telling the wrong kind of story, or why are so many Europeans still struggling with their identity?

by Adrian Armstrong
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