As the European Union accuses Hungary of shifting towards authoritarianism, a spike in emigration from the country has led many to speak of a politically motivated exodus. Others suggest that economic conditions play a role in the westward flow of brainpower that is leaving Hungary's future uncertain.
The recent agreement for the normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo has confirmed that the European Union (EU) is still acting as a “magnet”, attracting its external neighbours and transforming and integrating them. Thanks to its prospects for EU membership, the whole Balkan area has become more stable and secure. Unfortunately, this virtuous magnetism no longer exerts the same force of attraction on our own citizens.
Regardless of who is responsible for Egypt's current political impasse – be it the administration of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi or an aggressive secular opposition – local experts are certain of at least one fact: Egypt's dire economic circumstances will not improve without political stability.
The European Union (EU) has asked its citizens to brace for further economic misery. In a report on European economic prospects released on May 3, the European Commission said that further deterioration is expected to last at least until 2015. But, as every such report says, things will then get better.
As former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe employees went to the Labour Court in Harare this week hoping for a ruling in favour of the finalisation of their retrenchment packages, the country’s public and private sectors continue to lay off workers without paying the promised compensation.
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.
“In Gaza we don't lead normal lives, we just cope, and adapt to our abnormal lives under siege and occupation,” says Dr. Mona El-Farra, a physician and a long-time human rights and women's rights activist in the Gaza Strip. On International Women's Day, when many of the world's women are fighting for workplace equality and an end to domestic violence, Farra and the majority of Gaza's women fight for the most basic of rights.
The severe crisis crippling Spain is also sparking some creative responses, such the Okonomía project, a teaching initiative that helps individuals and communities to understand the workings of the economy and make more informed decisions to manage their finances.
"That's where I sleep," says Fernando, indicating a puddled area under a bridge. A 62-year-old Portuguese citizen, he has lived in Spain for 15 years, and he is part of the growing number of homeless people in this country wracked by a merciless economic and financial crisis.
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.
Out-of-work engineers, family businesses that are falling apart, people working in precarious conditions in an ailing labour market – it’s a description of Spain, but it could just as easily be Portugal, Greece or Italy…
Renato Grbic is a simple Belgrade fisherman, who grew up on the shores of the Danube River in Belgrade, but he performs an additional job that he is not paid for.
“The overwhelming majority of people we work with tell us, 'We don't want the aid, we want to have an opportunity to work and earn money’. Especially people who had a decent job but lost it in the last many years: before asking for any aid, they ask for a job.”