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OneEurope



  1. Europe Day celebrates peace and unity that was the idea of the Schuman Declaration. This year the celebrations are even more important, because the European Union is facing so many challenges. It is necessary to think what brought us together since the French Foreign Affairs Minister speech in 1950. With the election of Macron, as the next French President, Europe has to be happy. As a pro-European, is expected that the youngest French President ever will bring new ideas to the old continent, and that is what we, Europeans, need. The EU needs fresh ideas!

    The United Kingdom is about to leave our bloc but they are still our European brothers, we should not see Brexit as a nightmare, we will have to keep a strong relation with the UK if we want a strong and peaceful Europe. We, Europeans, should do more to protect the persons who arrive at our coast with the same hopes for a better life, as the Europeans that 60 years ago were looking for the same when they signed the Treaty of Rome, which has been replaced by many other treaties since then, with the most recent being signed 10 years ago - Treaty of Lisbon. Each treaty had a goal of turning EU even more strong, equal and secure for all its citizens.

    The EU has grown from just 6 members to the current 28 members. States are looking at the EU as a union which promotes peaceful cooperation, respect of human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality and solidarity among European nations and peoples. Only together we can deal with the challenges of our world, a divided Europe would mean a fragile region. Despite our differences - yes we have a lot of differences - we can work together, we have been working together for a better Europe since the World War II, and we can keep doing that for long.

    The EU is also celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Erasmus program, a program meant to be a bridge between our differences. Many young people have participated in this program, which has now been extended to other fields such as internships and volunteering. These programs have changed their lives into a more multicultural vision of what Europe is truly made of but they were also able to experience the similarities between different cultures and nations. They do not feel Portuguese or Swedish anymore, they feel Europeans.

    This year was the first time that I was present at official celebrations of the 9 May. The EU Delegation to Namibia presented a simple but cheerful event in Windhoek. I truly felt as a European citizen in that moment, and I understood what make us being under the same organisation. Namibia have only official representations from 6 members States, I was not expecting a big event, but this day brought all Europeans in Namibia together around what really unity us: the same home.

    The same home that we should respect and protect, the home where we have been growing and learning how to face the many challenges, the same home that is looked by the outside as a home of good values. We have to keep our home safe, secure and strong, we only keep this if we remain united in our values. We should respect our differences that is also what make us unique but keeping the idea that we share a big home with people from all around the world looking for the same goals searched by each of us.

    Keeping the EU strong is keeping our future peaceful and prosperous, we should fight for that, especially we the young people. The future of Europe is the youth, the EU should actively face and deal with the challenges of the new generations in order for them to not lose the European brightness left by their parents and grandparents. Young people are the next leaders of an EU that will face more and more challenges but if we remain united, we will stand stronger to face the upcoming challenges.

    Europe is me!

    Europe is you!

    Europe is us!

    Happy Europe Day!

  2. What went wrong in America?

    It seemed like a dommino effect of populism around the globe will follow after the Brexit and the election of Trump in the Oval Office. But the latest results in Dutch, Austrian and French elections proved that Europeans won't let cheap, nationalist rethoric alter their values.

    So, the question must be asked: What happened in the USA? How can "a Trump" win in America, but not in Europe?

  3. Eyes are on the Presidential Election in France all across Europe. These three young insiders are concerned about the aftermath of this historic election for France and the European Union

    As the French Presidential election draws ever nearer, OneEurope caught up with three people to discuss what this election means for France and the European Union: Cedric R.- a French expat in the Netherlands; a Macron supporter; and one half of Europe Unleashed. Jordan Jeandon, a French citizen from Dijon, currently working in Paris. Finally, we have OneEurope’s own Paris-based Millie Kershaw.

    According to Jeandon, “a large number of French citizens want to leave Europe but the reasons for doing so are different: some do not support a European system that does not respond to their concerns, others think that Europe is the veritable ruin of the French state.” Kershaw argues that the euroscepticism expressed in the first round is less an instantaneous shift, but  “more of a steadily growing opinion that has been gaining more ground year upon year,” which can be attributed to an increasing “scepticism of mainstream political parties…. and exasperation for a political system and the perceived political elite as a whole; those who many feel have proven very little when it comes to keeping promises bring about positive change to the lives of citizens.” 

    While admitting the “Front National is becoming more of an established party… it is not an insult anymore,” Cedric maintains that “France is generally not a eurosceptic country.” Citing a Euractiv poll that shows the majority of French people support the European Union, he adds that “it’s not binary- you don’t have people in favour and people who want to leave. You have people in favour, people that are indifferent and people that maybe want to leave- and over this entire poll of people, you have 57% of people that are in favour of it.”


    "It’s not the way it used to be fifty years ago.” 

    “I also understand,” Jeandon tells us, “the reason that motivates Mélanchon to refuse a Union that authorises the use of glysophates in its insecticides and it doesn’t take a strong stance on ecological matters.” Cedric, contrarily, disputes the claim that Mélenchon and Dupont-Aignan are necessarily eurosceptic to the extent that they genuinely want to leave the European Union. “I know someone who is voting for Marine Le Pen actually, and when you ask them about European Union, what they tell you is that first she will have a referendum, and then we will never exit.” Instead he postulates that “people vote for politicians like Marine Le Pen, or Mélenchon, because they are very charismatic and because what they present is nice to hear- that the issue lies at a European level.” 

    Although as he does point out, “the economical situation that we have currently in France is not the fault of Europe, it’s the fact of us not being able to make enough reform or to change our habit. The way we are working right now- the way the world is right now- it’s not the way it used to be fifty years ago.” Kershaw, however, points out that the “popularity of populism can’t be dismissed as there are concerns that need to be addressed and taken seriously when it comes to the economy and security among other issues,” and goes as far as to tie this to the fate of the European Union.

    "If the majority doesn’t agree with either En Marche! or FN reforms, nothing will change." 

    “You have two ‘France’. You have the one side of France that is successful in the economic environment, in Europe. People, basically, like me that are educated, that travel, that go and work in a different European country- that completely adhere to the model of the European Union as it is. And then you have the rest of the people who live in rural areas that are cut from education… that have difficulty finding a job, that have difficulties in Europe and that are very frustrated. These are the two France that are nowadays combatting against each other.”

    Jeandon blames the French political system for the disengagement and disenfranchisement, particularly among the latter group, and warns that “if the majority doesn’t agree with either En Marche! or FN reforms, nothing will change. “If there is no evidence of the change that was demanded by a large proportion of the country, scepticism surround the EU will continue to build… I can’t see why the FN wouldn’t be back in the final round of voting in the next presidential election if that’s the case.” Populism, Jeandon argues, will “disappear the day when the (non-populist) governments in place regain the confidence of their citizens.”

    On the other hand, Cedric does not believe merely electing Macron and reforming the system will put an end to the tide of populism either. “I think the populism will still stay high for the whole term that Emmanuel Macron will be in place. But if, at the end of the term of Emmanuel Macron as a possible president, he makes some change, make some improvement that people can really see that happening in their life, then I expect the party of Marine Le Pen to go towards what is, for me, a normal score for extreme right or extreme left which is below ten percent.” Likewise, Kershaw believes that “it’s fair to say, dependent on the success of the next five years (assuming Macron wins), lack of change and reform would propel the FN to the top spot by the next election.” Although broadly agreeing, Cedric is somewhat more precautious, suggesting that that Macron’s government “is the last stop before the extremes- because it could be Marine Le Pen, but it could be Melenchon as well."

    "I do think it would be in Europe’s best interest to carry out reform of the EU" 

    “It might trigger a civil war in France” Cedric postulates in reference to the potential enactment of Le Pen’s isolationist trade and foreign policies. “If tomorrow you closed to the border, you put some taxes on import, I think the situation will be pretty bad because we exchange a lot of goods with Germany and other countries.If you speak about jobs, I’m actually not sure having such a policy of being an isolationist will promote more job. In France, you know, we are very scared of what happened in May ‘68 when the country was completely blocked because of social unrest in the cities and also the countryside. This is, for me, a risk definitely and a threat even to the democracy because what happens tomorrow if she can’t control the population anymore?”

    “I do think it would be in Europe’s best interest to carry out reform of the EU,” Kershaw says, “seeing as France and Germany are in such precarious positions with regards to populism and Euroscepticism and the future of the Union itself.” However, calling hopes for fully-fledged European federalism under Macron “a little bit too optimistic”, Cedric points out the disparity between the Group of Four (France, Germany, Spain and Italy) who are seeking further integration and the Visegrad Group who don’t want to go beyond a single market. “I think the idea of Emmanuel Macron is to have a consultation of people to clarify the situation because… people are in favour of Europe, but the people for which they are voting are eurosceptic- I mean, something is not normal.” 

  4. Romanian politicians don't give up so easy on their fellow convicts

    Not long after the biggest protests in the history of Romania, when the Government tried to legalize some forms of corruption and release a number of inmates through an emergency decree, the ruling Social-Democrat Party didn't give up on their dream: A new law is prepared by the Senat which would PARDON inmates convicted for CORRUPTION.

    Last night, more than 1000 people gathered spontaneously in front of the Government building to protest the wicked proposal.

    How can EU sanction this kind of anti-social behaviour from the Governments within its member states?

    Is this acceptable for an EU member state in 2017?

  5. Who will be the next French President?

    It seems Macron is still leading the polls, but so did Clinton before losing to Trump. Who do you think will win the French elections and why?



  6. Erdoğan, a leader who did many essential reforms in Turkey and helped its development, since in 2003 he became Prime Minister of Turkey. In the recent years he has become more and more authoritarian and expressing his Islamic ideas, creating a cult of personality around him. From a good example to the other Middle East countries, Erdoğan is now putting Turkey in an uncertain future.

    ALWAYS THE KURDS

    Erdoğan never hided his conservative and religious ideas, he was even in prison for claiming a religious poem before he founded AKP. During his mandates as Prime-minister, he made peace with the Kurds, but he understood now that this was not the best option for him. After attacks in the Kurdistan area of Turkey, the cease fire between the Turkish Government and the Kurdish terrorist group PKK ended, now many Kurdish top-politicians are in jail, labelled of terrorists.

    When in 2015 the pro-Kurdish party HDP was able to pass the 10% elections threshold, I thought that this would prevent Erdoğan of getting his Presidential system, but I was wrong. In the 2015 election AKP won without majority. A coalition was needed, but none of the four parties represented in the Parliament agreed to form government, this held to new elections last November, after the end of the cease fire with the PKK.

    The pro-Kurdish party lost some seats, which helped AKP to reach majority, but not enough to change the constitution alone. In the beginning of 2017, 18 amendments to the Turkish Constitution were approved with MHP’s help, reducing the legislative powers of the Parliament and giving more powers to the President, a long waited wish by Erdoğan. These amendments to be approved have to pass in a national referendum that will take place on the 16 of April, while some of the HDP lawmakers are still in jail.

    A Troubled economy

    The Turkish economy that was growing fast during the first AKP mandates, is now slowing down. The problems began to intensify after the failed military coup, last July, around 130,000 civil servants lost their jobs and 45,000 have been arrested, including academics, journalists, politicians, militaries, businessmen, etc. In addition to Kurds and Kemalists, Erdoğan is now challenging as well the Hizmet movement, nowadays known by FETO, the government confiscated around 800 companies owned by Gülen supporters.

    This purge, that have been taken place since 15 July, is affecting the enviable growth of the Turkish economy. The gross domestic product is going down, the unemployment is rising, the rating agencies slashed Turkey's credit rating to junk status, the tourism sector is having troubles and the Turkish lira dropped to a historic low against the US dollar.

    All these factors combined show the fragile situation that Turkish economy is facing, but this “economic terror” it is in some part due the fear that businessmen have to invest in the “New Turkey” that emerged with the Erdoğan’ obsession for more power. As Turkey still in state of emergency, no-one knows what can happen after the referendum and markets do not like instability.

    ENEMIES EVERYWHERE

    Erdoğan created his own world, putting everyone who is not by his side in the enemy flank. Even the European Union, that helped Turkey turning into a more democratic State and its economy with European funds, is now being attacked as if it is the main source of the Turkish problems, in order to distract Turkish people from the real internal problems provoked by the increasing of President authoritarianism.

    Erdoğan with his persistence that external powers are against the development of Turkey, must have forgotten that Europe is an irreplaceable  for Turkey. Not only Europe depends on Turkey to control the influx of refugees, as Turkey depends from the European investment for a strong economy. And both are old NATO allies who must coordinate their efforts to solve the situation in Syria and find ways to prevent more terrorist attacks. Everyone has its limits and Erdoğan is pushing Europe Union too much.

    The New Turkey’s time

    Turkish citizens, however their origins and believes have the democratic power to vote and decide what they want for their home country. The future of Turkey is again in Turkish hands, but they need to understand that is not a simple change in the Turkish regime that is going on, it is something deeper that will affect the daily life. They will have to choose between a New Turkey where the death penalty is back and the one-man rule will take care of their destinies with an increasing authoritarianism, or they will choose to have a true strong New Turkey in the European Union with a democracy where freedom of speech is respected and Kurds, Alevis and other minority groups have their rights defended, as a true model for the other Middle East countries. The fight between Evet and Hayır might has been another surprise as the last referendums in Europe, but the Turkish referendum is for sure another clash between populism/nationalism against liberalism/globalisation.



  7. Economic crisis, growing migratory pressures, social and economic inequalities, xenophobia, regional conflicts, extremism and populism are today’s main challenges Europe has to face.
    These challenges are both global and domestic and reflect an unstable environment in which the European Union is navigating. Facing these issues, requires much effort from European policymakers, otherwise this may challenge the Union’s economic and political influence and perhaps its ideas, values and coherence.

    As it marks its 60th birthday, the European Union is in poor shape. It needs more flexibility to rejuvenate itself. We will only succeed in relaunching the EU if we take the direction of a more social, more just, more value-based Union now.

    The role of the individual is crucial in today’s globalized word. According to European Commission, today’s communities are in high-pressure. The challenges that face - like unemployment, climate change, aging population- have taken a growing social dimension. For this reason, individuals should be able to gain in strength, in skills and abilities, so they can meet the changing conditions of globalization. When the individual is able to adequately perceive the reality around him, then he can achieve what we call “individual empowerment”. When the individual empowerment process occurs in any person's life, they begin to believe that they are capable of having better control over their lives; they understand their situation, and their actions can improve our society. Thus, the concept of individual empowerment initially relates to a process that change the person. People are taking control and leading decisions that change their lives. The second stage of empowerment refers to a process in which people win confidence to make decisions that change their role in society. It is a bidirectional process that takes places between the person and its environment.

    The result of this process is the creation of new skills, based on individual’s insightfulness and capabilities. These essential features can reform person’s political consciousness, the ability to cooperate with others and handle life’s challenges. In other words, the person holds a key caring and guiding role in its own life. According to Howard (1993), the empowerment process gives the local environmental knowledge a new context—an intellectual understanding of the social situation, which encourages a sense of greater control of the environment and an ability to feel at home in the world.

    How people can help in relaunching the European Union?

    It is more than clear, that EU needs to take a more social, more just and more value-based direction. It is high time we make our European Union into a social union, with strong workers’ rights, gender equality, secure jobs and income, and decisive measures to tackle youth unemployment, wage inequality and vast differences in living standards and social security. Social progress must always mean upward convergence.

    One thing is certain: the Europe of tomorrow will not be the same as the Europe of yesterday. New challenges require new solutions. According to a senior EU official, “the real problem is the social Europe because here the division is clear, very traditional and a little bit ideological”. As Donald Tusk said, when our forefathers created this alliance, they didn’t talk about different speeds or make exceptions for certain members. They placed all their faith in European leaders’ desire to work together. Now, as our unity is tested under the strain of difficult challenges, the only way forward is to reaffirm our unity and recall the union’s original raison d’être.

    The European project will either survive as a unified alliance or not at all. We must safeguard what we’ve built and respect our common rules: human rights and civil liberties, freedom of speech and assembly, checks and balances, and the rule of law.

    Main Sources:

    We must renew Europe for all Europeans - https://euobserver.com/stakeholders/137252

    Elisheva Sadan, Empowerment and Community Planning, 1997 http://www.mpow.org/elisheva_sadan_empowerment_chapter5.pdf

    How to relaunch the EU - http://www.politico.eu/article/how-to-relaunch-the-european-union-future-brexit/



  8. The Elgin Marbles  also known as the Parthenon Marbles, are a collection of Classical Greek art made under the supervision of the architect and sculptor Phidias and his assistants. 

    They were originally part of the temple of the Parthenon and other buildings on the Acropolis of Athens. Following a public debate in Parliament and the subsequent exoneration of Elgin, the marbles were purchased from Elgin by the British government in 1816 and were passed to the British Museum, where they are on display in the purpose-built Duveen Gallery. Since then the marbles are placed in London and the British Government never gave them back to Greece when they belong.

    The British Museum claims that the removal of the objects saved them from destruction, as they were not being protected at the time. However, times have changed. If the marbles are returned to Greece, they will be in a museum. Greece has built the New Acropolis Museum featuring state-of-the-art design and technology which ensures protection of its collection. What’s more, the New Acropolis Museum is a mere 300 meters from the Acropolis, allowing the marbles to be seen as intended—basking in the Greek sunlight. 

    To fully appreciate the artistic and historical significance of the friezes, they should be viewed in their context of the Acropolis mount, a hillside covered with art venerating the gods watching over Athens.  The British Museum has unequivocally stated that it will not return the marbles to Greece but, maybe the country has some options. Just as Italy leveraged its vast collections and archaeologically-rich resources against American museums, perhaps Greece could do the same. Over the past decade, museums across the U.S. returned looted objects to Italy after Italian officials threatened to withhold all Italian loans.

    The fear of losing access to Italian objects pressured museums to comply with Italy’s demands. As Greece has a rich archaeological trove, bargaining may be successful. International fervor is rising over the dig at Amphipolis, an elaborate burial site in Northern Greece that may contain the remains of a relative of Alexander the Great. Prohibiting British archaeologists to access the site and barring any finds from going to British institutions may be one way to apply pressure for the return of some of the Parthenon Marbles. This type of action is necessary. The Parthenon is not just cultural heritage, but a symbol of Greece and the glory of Athens. They shouldn’t be in a different country than Greece.We can’t change the history and especially we can’t ‘’steal’’ history of other country.

    In addition, following the global recession in 2008, Greece has found itself burdened by massive debts and forced to live under policies of austerity that the Financial Times has described as turning the country into a “quasi-slave" economy. Youth unemployed is about 50 per cent and suicide rates have soared. The country has also had to deal with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the brutal war in Syria and desperate poverty and religious extremism in other countries. Returning the sculptures would boost public morale and also tourism, a mainstay of the Greek economy.In conclusion, the Elgin Marbles should and have to be returned to their ‘’mother’’ in Greece. 

     



  9. Just a few days ago, US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles against the airbase that hosted the Syrian Mig-23s that carried out the chemical attack in the Idlib province, according to reports[1]. Although no investigation followed in order to provide undisputed evidence of the attack, the strike aimed to destroy the Al-Shayrat airbase’s facilities, US officials said[2].The recent missile strike constitutes the first ever direct military act taken by the US administration since the outbreak of military clashes in Syrian soil, evolving to a bloody 6-year civil war.

    The US Tomahawk Missiles

    The missiles that were used during the US airstrike have been described as a modern, precise and powerful weapon that has the capabilities of delivering deadly blows to the enemy’s facilities even if they are protected by thick walls while zeroing collateral damages[3]. “Raytheon”, the company behind the Tomahawk missiles, has developed the weapon at a cost of US$1-1.5m. Tomahawks played a significant role in the intervention against the Libyan regime in 2011 and destroyed key strategic infrastructure[4]. The recent upgrades are going to further enhance the missile capabilities that can be found in the table on the left side.

    The US position on the airstrike

    However, this war involved certain proxy war characteristics and has been clearly used as a backdoor for terrorist insurgencies[5]. The US strike signifies an important intensification of the US military planning in the area, and could well be perceived by the Syrian Arab Republic’s authorities as an act of war against a sovereign state.US President Donald Trump’s judgment of the situation and the eventual airstrike against Syria has underlined a rather significant alteration in his own stated position on the dilemma over US involvement against the president of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar Al-Assad. It is essential to recap President Trump’s initial position on the Syrian conflict which was contrary to invading or even engaging by military means against the Syrian president[6]. Nonetheless, the recent chemical attack that was said to be carried out by the Syrian regime’s forces changed the US administration’s view on a potential engagement, well after several sensitive the release of images and videos depicting dozens of people killed by sarin gas. At first, this illustrates a change of policy compared to the red lines that the Obama administration had employed but did not keep on. The second sign of US policy can be translated as a flexibility doctrine that Donald Trump is likely to unfold[7]. However, the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson was swift to neatly highlight that this course of action did not underline any shift in US policy regarding Syria[8]. Tillerson, though, did stress that his government was prepared to follow any steps that would guarantee that the Syrian regime would not cross any other red lines imposed by the US.

    The Russian reaction

    Reports from Moscow underlined that the implications for the future US-Russia relations on the ground would definitely depend on Washington’s next moves and whether this missile strike was a sole event, as retaliation for the chemical attack in Idlib. Russia constitutes a central advocate of the Bassad administration and has evolved to the key determinant of the Syrian crisis. The Russian Major General Igor Konanshenkov highlighted the potential consequences in the relations between the two world powers that the airstrike may have[9]. In addition, he underlined that the Russian army would increase its readiness and enhance the Syrian anti-aircraft and air-defense systems. As a result, he stated that the Syrian army will gain strengthened capabilities in protecting its key infrastructure against any potential threats.

    The next step that the Russian Federation took emphasizes a realist and diplomatic approach that is expected to criminalize and condemn the US missile assault. Russia’s Representative to the United Nations, Mr. Vladimir Safronov urged that the airstrikes could trigger a grim diplomatic environment in the Syrian conflict that would lead to further implications to the wider region, affecting regional and global stability[10]. The realist account that Mark Galleoti employs to analyze the Russian reaction is probably the one that should be further expected to be followed by the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The decision to send the new-built frigate ‘Admiral Grigorovich’, capable of air defense, naval assault, and key-strikes operations, is a decision that lays a realist framework to a potential escalation[11]. Furthermore, according to Matthew Schmidt who has been following Russian affairs and is employed as an assistant professor of national security at the New Haven University, the Russian administration will likely push forward a pressing military policy in case the US initiate new military operations against the Syrian regime[12].

    S-400 Triumph - Was the most advanced Russian A/A system even activated?

     

    Last but not least, there is a growing discussion whether the probably most cutting-edge air defense systems worldwide were activated. The S-400 missile systems that have been deployed to supplement the already existing S-300 did not interrupt any of the fired missiles originating from the US Navy destroyers[13]. This debate is further complemented by the argument of the US that they informed the Russian command in Syria prior the attack took place early Friday. The Russian military has enhanced the air defense capabilities of the Syrian airbases in Hmeymim, Latakia and Tartus that host Russian fighter and bombing jets. At this point, Mark Galeotti conveys his thoughts over the conditions that did not lead to the activation of the missile system that was absolutely capable of taking down the Tomahawk missiles[14]. What can be really understood is that a possible reaction of such scale by the Russians could spark an unprecedented crisis on the Syrian conflict that would inevitably affect international peace, given that it would be the first time that Russia would engage the US. Therefore, within the framework of a realist lens, it is safe to conclude that the US gained momentum over the Russians for a short period, however the realist game has not even come to an end and the next moves of the Russian-US chess board in Syria are likely to be the ones that determine the future of the whole region.

    Bibliography

    [1]

    J. H. a. B. S. Euan McKirdy, "Syria strikes: Site of chemical attack hit again," 03 04 2017. [Online]. Available: CNN. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [2]

    Barbara Starr and Jeremy Diamond, "Trump launches military strike against Syria," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/04/06/politics/donald-trump-syria-military/. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [3]

    E. Hunt, " Tomahawk missile: weapon of deadly precision comes back to fore in Syria," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/apr/07/tomahawk-missile-weapon-of-deadly-precision-comes-back-to-fore-in-syria. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [4]

    Raytheon, "Tomahawk Cruise Missile," 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/tomahawk/. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [5]

    A. AbuKhalil, "The 8 Proxy Wars Going On in Syria Right Now," 24 09 2014. [Online]. Available: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/asad-abukhalil/syria-proxy-wars_b_5874488.html. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [6]

    E. Rosenfeld, "'DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA': Trump's 2013 comments on Syria urged congressional approval, military restraint," 06 04 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/06/trumps-past-comments-on-syria-urged-the-us-not-to-attack.html. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [7]

    B. J. P. a. V. SALAMA, "After Syria strike, Trump's emerging doctrine is flexibility," 08 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://apnews.com/7b780e963f044ae7957614df9b167e5f/After-Syria-strike,-Trump's-emerging-doctrine-is-flexibility. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [8]

    S. S. Reports, "Syria: No Change In U.S. Policy Toward Al Assad, Tillerson Says," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.stratfor.com/situation-report/syria-no-change-us-policy-toward-al-assad-tillerson-says. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [9]

    V. I. b. A. Press, "Russia ups ante by freezing communications with U.S. in Syria," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.pekintimes.com/news/20170407/russia-ups-ante-by-freezing-communications-with-us-in-syria. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [10]

    K. H. i. M. a. E. S. i. B. Demetri Sevastopulo nd Courtney Weaver in Washington, "US and Russia clash over Trump’s strike on Syria," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.ft.com/content/e9f09a54-1b91-11e7-a266-12672483791a. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [11]

    S. International, "Admiral Grigorovich Missile Frigate Rejoins Russia's Task Force in the Med," 08 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://sputniknews.com/military/201704081052437418-russia-frigate-mediterranean/. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [12]

    A. Jazeera, "What next for US-Russia ties after Syria strike?," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/russia-ties-syria-strike-170407043220909.html. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [13]

    D. Cenciotti, "US military has launched 59 cruise missiles at airbase in Syria. Here’s what we know so far.," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://theaviationist.com/2017/04/07/us-military-has-launched-59-cruise-missiles-at-airbase-in-syria-heres-what-we-know-so-far/. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

    [14]

    K. Hill, "Attack on Syria dashes hopes for better US-Russia relations," 07 04 2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.ft.com/content/68b6f0d0-1ba2-11e7-bcac-6d03d067f81f. [Accessed 08 04 2017].

  10. Greece experiences a wave of mass emigration. The experience of ex-patriates may be a key to learn best practices from other countries.

    Over 427,000 people left Greece since the onset of the economic crisis in 2008, marking the third wave of mass emigration in the 20th and 21st centuries. (Greek Reporter)

    Many of the emigrants are young and well educated, resulting in a brain-drain for the Greek society and economy that ultimately is bad news for the country. A lot of these job opportunity seekers, migrate to other EU member states with stronger economies which offer more opportunity to develop their careers. Yet some of them have found themselves in a peculiar situation. The Greek community in Ireland is growing, despite the difficulties that the Irish economy went through during the past years.

    It is estimated that the number of Greeks in the country has doubled - if not tripled, over the period that followed both the Greek and the Irish bail-outs programmes. Partially because Ireland was the first country to exit the EU/IMF monitored plan, there are many other factors that despite the all flaws, make the Irish economy more competitive than the Greek. 

    Apart from the obvious advantages of the English language, its strong ties with the USA and strategic location close to most major European economies, plus of course the much-debated corporate taxation system, Ireland has established a more business-friendly economy.


    "In 5 working days, you can set up your business"

    Giorgos Stamopoulos is originally from the city of Patra in Greece. He moved to Ireland about 5 years ago, where he started working in various jobs in customer service and the IT industry. But 4 months ago, he decided with his partners to open “Eat-Greek,” a take-away restaurant in Dublin. Back home, he used to run his own business in the frozen meats trade, but as the economic crisis took over the country, it was hard to make any profit. “People just did not have the money to make any payments,” he describes.

    His new business venture in Ireland is doing very well so far. Overall Giorgos is very impressed and satisfied by the way business is conducted in the country.

    “It is very easy to get a licence and open a shop in this country, as the licence is being issued on the property rather on the individual owner, like in Greece”  he says.

    There is less paperwork or red-tape and dealing with the banks or the local authorities is very much straight-forward,” Giorgos continues. 

    “Back in Greece opening your own business takes too much time and money, as there are a lot of parties involved; from solicitors to public servants, the owner of the premises, the business partners,” he describes.

    In addition, taxation is made easy in Ireland and everything is streamlined to do business faster and with less effort.

    The working conditions are better too. There is far more meritocracy in Irish businesses and if you work hard you will succeed, according to Giorgos. Adam Kritidis moved to Dublin around 22 years ago, from his home town of Edessa. He is also a business owner in Ireland, although for much longer than Giorgos.  He opened his first restaurant 16 years ago, and since then he has co-owned to another 8 restaurants in Dublin. 

    Adam also points out Ireland’s “business friendly” mentality. “In 5 working days, you can set up your business and additionally, 7 days are required for opening a bank account for it,” he states. That is something that Greece is still lacking behind, hindering naturally much of its business and economic development.


    "There is a better work culture" 

    People that arrived more recently in Ireland, have noticed major differences between the two countries.

    Theodoros Zioutos came to Dublin in 2015, while already being married with two children. He arrived on his own, while his family stayed back in Greece for a while. They were reunited once he settled in his new home. He is a sound engineer, a profession he has been doing since 1995 in Greece. With 20 years of experience, Theodoros decided to resettle in Ireland, as he saw his working rights being scrapped in a country disintegrating under a deep economic crisis.

    “I felt that I had no career prospects anymore, while I was seeking to find a financially safer and stable environment to raise my two kids,” he describes. 

    “In Ireland working experience is being rewarded and acts as bonus when seeking for employment. There is a better work culture, with staff getting lunch breaks and receiving the necessary rest between shifts,” Theodoros continues.

    He adds that health and safety issues are being taken seriously, there is meritocracy and adequate training is always being given. “Overall there is far more professionalism in an Irish workplace, than in Greece,” he adds.

    Theodoros thinks that Greece could follow Ireland’s example in many ways. This includes a better organisation and prioritisation, less red tape and a more transparent taxation system. In short, streamlining the state’s institutions and their functions.


    "I need to work less hours to make ends meet"  


    His quality of life has improved since he moved to Ireland. “I need to work less hours to make ends meet, thus I can spend more time with my family, which is important,” he says.

    Under the current economic climate, Theodoros does not consider returning to Greece. Yet because of the uncertainty that exists in Europe due to Brexit, he does not exclude moving on to another EU country. There are some things though that some new arrivals from Greece find harder to adopt, although in general their experiences remain positive.

    Matina Velonaki is originally from Athens in Greece. She studied English Literature and prior to her moving to Ireland, she worked as an English teacher. She was also working freelance as a translator but unfortunately, she was not making enough money from either job. Her income in Greece during the crisis, was amounting to about 50 € a week.

    Matina visited Dublin in 2009 and stayed in the country for one year for studies. After two years back in Greece she returned in Ireland to find a job. She settled in the city of Cork where she started working in a Greek speaking, customer service industry related job.

    Matina feels that working conditions in Ireland are far better than Greece overall, but she also came across various working conditions, some that she was unfamiliar with in her home country.


    "Bogus Contracts" 

    “I have never heard of the so called “bogus contracts” that several multinational companies offer their workers,”
    she explains. 

    “Working with no sick leave, demanding working conditions, flexible hours with the minimum wage, plus no worker’s benefits, is something I was not aware that existed in Ireland,” she describes.

    During her career, she experienced lack of job security in some multinational companies and in addition, very tough competition among Greeks. She believes that because of the hardships back home, several Greek workers in Ireland have become extra competitive to maintain these jobs.

    She plans to remain in the Ireland for the long term, but preferably move to Dublin. She got used to the way things work here, although she misses her home country occasionally.


    Lessons for Europe


    These examples showcase a different work culture that Greece and other EU member states could consider in order to make their economies more competitive.

    Not all of them might be applicable to other places in Europe, however examining and debating on them could offer valuable insights on how to reform the way we conduct and attract business, copy the beneficial parts, avoid the mistakes. Thus, expatriate communities could prove to be the best source of experience and knowledge on such issues. I wonder how could their voices be heard, both by their adopted and native countries, to create a constant database of shared apprehension on how to conduct business across Europe.