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The campaign against vaccination

Čt, 01/17/2019 - 15:52

JENNY ARDUINI only ever wanted the best for her young son. The 36-year-old mother from Emilia-Romagna in Italy read that the government was banning unvaccinated children from pre-school classes. That seemed autocratic. The state was imposing its will on families rather than letting them make their own decisions. Ms Arduini had heard that vaccinations could cause autism. “I was really angry,” she recalls: “I wanted to defend my child from something bad.” Most of all, she felt stifled: “I wanted time to understand, time to work it out, I didn’t want to be forced into a choice.” A leftist, Ms Arduini is generally sceptical of authority. That made her a supporter of the Five Star Movement, an Italian populist party then in opposition and now in government that preaches direct democracy and parental choice on vaccinations.

So incensed was she that she messaged IoVaccino, a pro-vaccination campaign group, to lambast them for inspiring...

Kategorie: Evropa, Souhrn

Macron and Merkel renew their vows

Čt, 01/17/2019 - 15:52

“GENTLEMEN, NEVER forget that for France there can be no other alternative but friendship with Germany.” Half a century after Charles de Gaulle uttered these words to his ministers, the relationship between France and Germany remains the most important in Europe: an emblem of peace and reconciliation, and the foundation stone of European integration.

To renew and strengthen this essential bond, President Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, will meet on January 22nd in the German border town of Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle in French), where they will sign a 16-page treaty. The ceremony takes place 56 years to the day after de Gaulle and his West German counterpart, Konrad Adenauer, met at the presidential palace in Paris to sign the Elysée treaty, capping the two countries’ move from Erbfeinde (hereditary foes) to partners in what a later West German chancellor would call the...

Kategorie: Evropa, Souhrn

Macedonia gets a new name and a new start

Čt, 01/17/2019 - 15:52

GOOD NEWS from the Balkans is rare. Even after Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, the prime ministers of Greece and Macedonia, agreed last June to end a 27-year dispute over what to call the former Yugoslav republic, few pundits would have bet that parliaments in Athens and Skopje would ratify the deal.

Yet on January 11th Mr Zaev at last scraped together the two-thirds majority needed for Macedonia’s parliament to endorse a constitutional change making “North Macedonia” the country’s official name, to go into effect once Greece has agreed too. The extra adjective is intended to assuage long-standing fears in Athens of a territorial claim on the Greek region of Macedonia south of the border. Mr Zaev hopes that talks will start this year to let Macedonia join the NATO alliance and, eventually, the European Union, since Greece is lifting a decade-long veto on both as part of the agreement.

Now, however, it is...

Kategorie: Evropa, Souhrn

Is Serbia still on course to join the European Union?

Čt, 01/17/2019 - 15:52

IT IS BACK to the future, but this time with iPhones and selfies. As thousands of Serbs protest against their president, Aleksandar Vucic, it is easy to recall the heady days of the 1990s when people marched against Slobodan Milosevic. When he fell in 2000, their slogan was “It is over!” Today’s banners proclaim “It has begun!”

The number of protesters who have marched for the past six weeks is disputed. But days before a visit by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on January 17th, they showed no sign of abating. The protests started after Borko Stefanovic, leader of a small leftist party, was coshed and kicked as he arrived on November 23rd for a meeting in the town of Krusevac. The perpetrators, he says, were thugs connected to a local businessman close to Mr Vucic’s ruling party. Serbia is a front-runner to join the EU, whose leaders, says Mr Stefanovic, indulge Mr Vucic because they want the Balkans to remain...

Kategorie: Evropa, Souhrn


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