Union in Diversity

Germany Grapples with Diversity

With a persistent undercurrent of discrimination against foreigners, ‘Gastarbeiter’ (guest workers) and citizens of colour, despite the fact that 20 percent of its population - roughly 16 million residents - are from an immigrant background, Germany is faced with the urgent task of rethinking its ambivalence towards diversity.

European Left Backs Hollande in United Front Against Austerity

Practically all European Social Democratic and Socialist parties are supporting the French presidential candidate François Hollande in the upcoming elections, in the hope that his likely triumph against incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy will create enough continental momentum to put an end to the present Conservative-inspired social and economic austerity policies.

Neo-Nazis Taking to Terror

Just days after a hotel was firebombed in a suspected racist attack, experts and activists have warned of neo-Nazi groups turning to ‘terrorist’ campaigns as they become increasingly influenced by far-right movements in other countries.

Greece Takes the Shine Off Serbian EU Candidacy

Serbia has reached its historic goal of becoming a European Union (EU) member candidate after being a pariah state for years. But analysts warn that the undisputed political success may not bring immediate results.

Little Money to Promote Gender Equality in Eastern Europe

Despite pushes from international bodies such as the United Nations (UN) or the European Union (EU) to promote gender equality in Central and Eastern Europe, access to funding for such initiatives remains largely conditional upon national governments’ willingness to embrace this agenda.

Finnish Contest No More Between Right and Left

In an uncharacteristically lively election campaign in this nation of five million people, Finns head for the polls in a second round of voting Sunday to elect a new president.

BELARUS: Political Prisoners Facing Oppression

"I had to fight to be treated like a human, not animal," dissident Nikolai Avtukhovich wrote from prison. Last month Avtukhovich, Belarusian political activist and entrepreneur, convicted to five years in the penal colony for illegal storage of five cartridges for a hunting rifle, cut his veins.

Romanians Discover Street Protest

For more than a week, thousands have been demonstrating in cities across Romania. Participants from all walks of life bring to the fore the broadest array of demands in what looks like a celebratory discovery of street protest. The main call is against lack of transparency and accountability in decision-making.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Castration for Sex Offenders Triumphs

The Czech government has defied calls from international human rights groups to stop the "degrading" practice of surgically castrating sex offenders.

EUROPE: Unrest Spreads Eastwards

Protests in Hungary and Romania are the first signs of anti-systemic mobilisation in the Eastern half of the continent. While protests in both countries indicate dissatisfaction with their governments’ authoritarian turn, their origins differ, as does the European Union’s reaction to them.

KAZAKHSTAN: Dissent Stifled Amid Indifference

President Nursultan Nazarbayev, re-elected last April with an improbable yet typical 93 percent, presided last weekend over parliamentary elections that maintained his iron grip on his oil-rich country’s parliament, and further stifled dissent.

EUROPE: Separate Schools for Roma Challenged

A school in Slovakia has defended its decision to segregate Roma children from other students after a court ruled the practice breached equal rights laws.

HUNGARY: Civil Society Steps in as Opposition

The massive overhaul of Hungary’s political system by the conservative Fidesz party is raising fears the country’s days as a liberal democracy may be numbered. With opposition parties powerless, it is civil society that has awakened to support a more participatory democracy.

SERBIA: Royalty Rehabilitated in Retrospect

Serbia saw the first rehabilitation of a member of its royal family earlier this month, in a move by the supreme court described by historians as "deeply moral" and necessary - for generations who remember the Karadjordjevics as well as those who have learned about them from the history books.


ben aaronovitch rivers of london series