Lobbying is an integral part of democracy, but multiple scandals throughout Europe demonstrate that a select number of voices with more money and insider contacts can come to dominate political decision-making – usually for their own benefit.
The world is clearly splitting into two parallel worlds, with each going their own way, in what we could call the ‘Acapulco paradox’.
The new European Commission looks more like an experiment in balancing opposite forces than an institution that is run by some kind of governance. It will probably end up being paralysed by internal conflicts, which is the last thing it needs.
The elderly have taken to the streets in Portugal to protest drastic public sector pension cuts announced this week by the government of conservative Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho.
The heated reaction to the legalisation of same-sex marriage has run counter to the widespread image of France as the cradle of the modern republic and equal rights since the 1789 revolution. In contrast, Portugal with its reputation for prudishness, has shown itself to be much more open and tolerant.
The economic crisis began in the United States under the administration of then-President George W. Bush, following the collapse of the Lehman Brothers Bank. It came as a result of unregulated globalisation and a neoliberal ideology that places usurious markets, offshore bank accounts, and money for the sake of money, above state power. It is an ideology that ignores citizens, even as they starve.
The huge impact of the economic crisis on male employment in Portugal has led to a sharp increase in the proportion of women who have become the main breadwinners in their families. But that has not translated into progress towards equality.
Thousands of people marched through the streets of cities across Portugal "against exploitation and impoverishment" caused by the government's austerity cuts, in a protest organised by the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers (CGTP), the country's largest trade union.
Poverty in Portugal has risen to levels that were unimaginable a year ago despite the bleak outlook forecasted by the harsh measures imposed by the troika of creditors in exchange for the country's financial bailout.
Having survived the announced end of the world on Dec. 21, we can now try to foretell our immediate future, based on geopolitical principles that will help us understand the overall shifts of global powers and assess the major risks and dangers.
The austerity programmes being rolled out in virtually every member state of the European Union (EU) - particularly in Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy - have failed to reach their stated objective of consolidating public finances in order to solve sovereign debt crises.
“Look out there, the blue one…. that is a European Union fishing vessel that is threatening our livelihood,” says Lallmamode Mohamedally, a Mauritian fisherman, as he points to a boat offloading its catch at the Les Salines port, close to the country’s capital Port Louis.