Europe

“I AM still alive,” said Radmila Sekerinska in a shaken voice. “That is a cause for relief, considering the alternative.” The deputy head of Macedonia’s Social Democrats required stitches after being dragged by the hair on the evening of April 27th, when a mob supporting VMRO, the nationalist former ruling party, smashed into the country’s parliament.Macedonia has been in a state of political crisis for more than two years, but the attack in Skopje may prove a turning point. For week...
The secret ingredient is: nothingAT “Rawduck”, a restaurant in London’s trendy Hackney neighbourhood, clients crowd around communal tables under dim lights, inspecting a menu of delights such as charred purple sprouting broccoli, shaved yellow courgette and goat’s curd. Along with food, the venue offers classes in pickling vegetables and making kombucha (a Japanese fermented tea). The greatest emphasis is on the wine list, all of it billed as “natural” or organic. But on this front, ...
HISTORY has a way of repeating itself. In 2013 a group of anti-euro intellectuals led by Bernd Lucke, an economist, formed the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party. Two years later he was ousted by Frauke Petry, an erstwhile ally, who led the party to a series of sensational results in state elections by angrily opposing Angela Merkel’s refugee policies. But in recent months, as the refugee crisis has moved off the headlines, the AfD’s poll numbers have slumped into single digits. ...
Award: Tom Nuttall, our Brussels correspondent, has won the 2017 Evens Prize for European Journalism, awarded for making the European project easier to understand.
IT IS crucial to keep Siemiatycze pretty, says Piotr Siniakowicz, the mayor, himself resplendent in bright-blue suit and silk pocket-square. The border with Belarus is a hop and a skip away, so this small town in eastern Poland may mark visitors’ first encounter with the European Union. Siemiatycze brims with well-maintained nursery schools and a gleaming sports centre, thanks to EU funds lavished on the region since Poland joined in 2004. Remittances from thousands of émigrés in Belgium hav...
WHEN the KGB men came to his family flat, they split up Yaroslav Sivulsky and his parents into separate rooms. Mr Sivulsky, then a young boy in the Soviet Union, watched as agents searched their belongings for “banned literature”. His grandparents had been exiled to Siberia for belonging to the Jehovah’s Witnesses, a Christian denomination founded in America in the 19th century; his parents had kept the faith alive in their home.Now Mr Sivulsky and the 175,000 other Jehovah’s Witnesses i...
Marine Le Pen’s second-place finish behind Emmanuel Macron has been hailed as a sign that the global wave of populist nationalism which Donald Trump rode to victory is receding. But if France used America’s system for electing presidents, Ms Le Pen might have won. In America’s electoral college, every state gets one vote for each of its senators and members of the House of Representatives. Imagine that France’s 18 regions were treated as states. Each would have two senators, and they wou...
THREE years ago, he was largely unknown to the public. Today he is a step away from becoming France’s president. Emmanuel Macron’s remarkable rise from obscurity to favourite for the presidential election on May 7th carries symbolic value well beyond his homeland. If he defeats Marine Le Pen of the National Front (FN), as polls suggest he will, the country will have shown the rest of the world not only that it can favour youth over seniority, and optimism over fear, but that pro-European lib...
AFTER the most volatile and closely run campaign in recent history, the French first-round vote has yielded an extraordinary outcome, putting two party outsiders into the final round of the country’s presidential election. According to estimates by Ipsos, a pollster, for France 2 Télévision based on a sample of polling-station results, Emmanuel Macron, a pro-European centrist independent, came first with 23.7%. Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front (FN) followed with 21.9%. The pair ...
TODAY was supposed to be a moment for candidates in the French presidential election to go into overdrive ahead of first-round voting on April 23rd. Strict electoral rules ordinarily shut down campaigning at midnight. But last night’s fatal shooting of a policeman on the capital’s symbolic main avenue, the Champs-Elysées, has brought an abrupt early end to the campaign. The gunman, who opened fire on a police van with an automatic weapon, was shot by the police as he fled. French news repor...
EMA ZELIKOVITCH, a 24-year-old philosophy graduate in Madrid, takes a deep breath before listing the jobs she has held over the past few years. While at university she worked as a dance teacher, waitress, street fund-raiser for NGOs, call-centre operator and greeter at political conferences for Podemos, a far-left party. Since graduating she has juggled jobs at two restaurants, but one recently sacked her. Every job was on a temporary, or “fixed-term”, contract. And while some paid her a liv...
Not quite Le MaraisOF ALL the voters fuming about neglect by out-of-touch politicians in distant Paris, the people of French Guiana have perhaps the strongest case. It is the second-poorest of France’s five overseas departments (DOMs). The unemployment rate, at over 20%, is more than double that of the mainland. Some 40% live in poverty. The murder rate is the highest in France.The department is entering its fifth week of a general strike. Thousands of Guianese have taken to the streets to pro...
WHEN Martin Schulz entered the village hall in Nunkirchen on March 24th, in the hilly German state of Saarland, the cheer nearly blew the roof off. To a beery crowd of villagers and party activists, the candidate for Germany’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), who hopes to replace Angela Merkel as chancellor, was introduced as a near-messiah: “the man who made politics in Germany interesting again, who has reinstated the SPD’s self-belief, who has put social justice back on the agenda, w...
PEAT has a lot to recommend it. It imparts a delicious flavour to whiskey. It emits an agreeable aroma when burned. It is a cheap source of energy; at its simplest it involves no more than digging by hand. Ireland, which has vast quantities of the stuff, uses it for 6% of its energy.But peat is also one of the dirtiest fuels available, emitting 23% more CO2 than coal. Ireland is unusual among developed countries in burning it for energy on an industrial scale. A geological precursor to coal, it ...
 EVEN before all the votes had been tallied, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, claimed victory. “My nation stood upright and undivided,” he said of the referendum on a new constitution giving the presidency immense new powers. “April 16th was a victory for all of Turkey.”Many Turks would dispute that; and it was not even a convincing win for the president. The Yes camp, which Mr Erdogan headed, limped away with just over 51.4% of the vote. Outside observers accused the gov...
AS USUAL, the president’s first foreign trip is to the chancellery in Berlin. But the meeting with Angela Merkel does not go well. The two women instantly begin squabbling. Accused of breaking Europe’s rules on borders, Mrs Merkel fires back that her visitor has not done her homework: Germany has always acted lawfully. Fine, growls la présidente: if Mrs Merkel wants a war, she will get one. On her return to Paris the president orders the European Union flag removed from official buildings. ...
One of the lucky onesTHE 16-year-old Gambian who was discovered by a Spanish naval ship as he clung to a fuel tank in open seas will doubtless be haunted by his experience for the rest of his days. But he was also exceptionally fortunate—the only survivor, by his account, among more than 140 people who left the Libyan port of Sabratha on a large rubber dinghy on March 26th or 27th. It began taking on water a few hours later, he told UN officials from his hospital bed on the Italian island of L...
We have so much in commonIN AN influential article in 2013, Valery Gerasimov, chief of the Russian general staff, described a new doctrine (often termed “hybrid warfare”) involving “information conflict” alongside diplomacy and military force to achieve geopolitical aims. To Americans, the Russian-sponsored hacking and distribution of fake news during last year’s presidential election were a shocking example of this strategy. Yet there is little new about it. The Kremlin has been using...
Seemed like a trustworthy chapCHARGES of Russian interference in European politics tend to be shrouded in mystery. Take the case of Egor Putilov (pictured), also known as Alexander Fridback, Tobias Lagerfeldt and Aleksandr Yarovenko. On June 8th 2016, Sveriges Radio, the Swedish public radio station, interviewed Mr Putilov, who identified himself as a former employee of the national migration agency. He stated that asylum-seekers as old as 40 were claiming to be children, and that the agency was...
PUNDITS and political scientists don’t always agree. When it comes to predicting electoral outcomes, though, both tribes assume that the economy is the most reliable oracle. Numerous studies have found a strong correlation between GDP growth and voting behaviour. Whether or not those in power are responsible for the economy, it has been responsible for whether or not they get re-elected.A study by Ruth Dassonneville, now at the University of Montreal, and Michael Lewis-Beck of the University o...