Letter from …

Letter From … Bergen

Fiona Twycross AM  |  10 June 2016

Over 20 years ago, as a postgraduate studying Norwegian, it felt like a whole host of European Union-related career possibilities were closed down to me when Norway voted to stay out of the EU. In 1994 most of my Norwegian friends (holding generally socially progressive views) were opposed to joining. Among arguments used by them …

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Letter from … Brussels

Claude Moraes MEP  |  5 April 2016

For everyone in the European parliament, 22 March was an agonising day. On that day, on rightwing blogs I read some extraordinary responses to the Brussels attacks. One hinted we were going to hear all the same responses that we heard after previous atrocities. But to be tired or complacent in our response is no luxury any …

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Letter From … Washington DC

Claire O'Connor  |  15 February 2016

I was asked to write about perceptions in Washington DC towards the United Kingdom’s referendum on membership of the European Union, and how worried the Americans are. The truth is that there is very little interest, and even less concern. ‘Brexit’ sounds more like an illicit sugary breakfast cereal than a potential event of global import. True, Barack …

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Letter From … Brussels

Clare Moody MEP  |  15 February 2016

David Cameron and his renegotiation demands have now risen to the top of the agenda in Brussels. Before Christmas, when he finally outlined his demands to fellow heads of states, they were met with mixed responses throughout the corridors of Europe. However, our European Union neighbours are now doing what they can to help Cameron …

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Letter from … Vienna

Philipp Novak  |  5 February 2016

2016. Austria’s social democrats are in power, in a loveless grand coalition with their conservative opponents. The government is unpopular; unemployment is rising, government debt growing, and reforms are absent. The rightwing populist Freedom Party of Austria is leading in the polls, on 30 per cent of the vote. The SPÖ lags badly, on just …

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Letter from … Madrid

Roberto Robles  |  24 December 2015

The Spanish general election on 20 December delivered the most fragmented parliament since the country’s transition to democracy, with the People’s party and the Socialist party suffering unprecedented losses to two new political forces on the centre and on the left – Ciudadanos and Podemos. While this had been widely expected, what was not what …

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Letter from … Berlin

William Bain  |  15 December 2015

Germany’s Social Democrats are one of the great progressive and civilising forces in our continent, having stood fast against fascism and communism and ensured peace and prosperity in postwar Europe with governments led by chancellors of the calibre of Willy Brandt and Helmut Schmidt. But their decline since 2009 was one of the first signs the …

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Letter from … Helsinki

Mikko Majander  |  17 November 2015

The Social Democratic party faced a bitter moment of truth in Finland’s April 2015 elections. After four turbulent years as a junior partner in a coalition government the SDP attracted an all-time low of 16.5 per cent of the vote, ranking only fourth among the parties. The elections also produced a new deal in the …

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Letter from … Canada

Claudia Chwalisz  |  27 October 2015

Last week, millions of Canadians showed Stephen Harper that they are tired of his low cunning, fear, hate, arrogance and corrosive political discourse. The 11-week election campaign – the longest and most expensive since 1872 – backfired on the Conservatives. Harper tried to convince us to fear our own neighbours, to believe that enemies are …

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Letter from … Tokyo

Andrew Stevens  |  14 October 2015

After his historic December 2012 return to power and the subsequent ‘snap’ election two years later, last week Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe reshuffled his cabinet, but only after inking the contentious Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, the scope of which makes 1994’s Nafta look like a town twinning. We can perhaps forgive Abe, of the country’s …

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