Eurobarometer: Immigration now top issue for Europeans

Immigration

According to the European Commission, citing its May quarterly Eurobarometer poll

Asking citizens about their main concerns, immigration is now at the top of the most frequently cited topics at EU level. With 38% (+14 points) it is now way ahead of the economic situation (27%, -6 points), unemployment (24%, -5 points) and the Member States public finances (23%, -2 points). It is the number one most frequently cited concern in 20 Member States reaching peaks in Malta (65%) and Germany (55%). Concern for terrorism at EU level has also increased significantly since November 2014 (17%, +6 points).

The report notes that opinions on EU vs. non-EU immigration remain largely unchanged from last time (link): 51% positive about EU migrants, 56% negative on non-EU migrants. Hostility to non-EU migration holds in all countries except Sweden.

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Unpopular Churchill Quotes

Churchill

Winston Churchill is a very popular historical figure on both sides of the Atlantic, and with good reason given his cardinal role in the destruction of Nazism. One can scarcely think of a more critical decision than his push to pursue the lonely war with the Third Reich in the summer of 1940 despite the Fall of France.

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ECB: “Neoclassical theory does not provide an explanation for convergence”

Euro Convervence

East-West convergence, intra-Eurozone divergence.

The European Union has “convergence” as one of its major doctrines: All European nations are to “converge” in legal standards, government quality, and economic performance. This is related to blank-slatist ideology insofar as it asserts that Greeks, Germans, and all other Europeans interchangeable. Conservative journalist Christopher Caldwell has argued that the European Central Bank’s directive, upon the creation of the Euro, instructing banks to treat German and Greek debt as equally safe was based on the same ideological blinder that led the United States Federal Government to demand banks begin equally lending to Non-Asian Minorities, even when the latter had low income and poor credit history. In both cases, it is argued, blank-slatist ideology led to a massive misallocation of capital in construction (Spain, California) and dead-end loans (Greek and NAM IOUs.) We have since been “unwinding”: Indeed the GIIPS in the EU and NAMs in the U.S. have been bearing the brunt of the economic crisis.

Contrary to what is sometimes asserted, European officials are not stupid (indeed even the lowest cadres need to pass a demanding IQ test selecting candidates for “exceptional cognitive ability”) but rather, if they sometimes appear stupid due to a certain dogmatism, this is usually because they have to work within particular civil-religious, legal, and institutional constraints. Within those constraints, EU economists have been thinking about the implications of the Euro-financial crisis for convergence doctrine. The ECB’s latest Economic Bulletin has an interesting article on the failure of convergence and lessons learned. In short: While further neoliberal-inspired market integration will help, the key is “endogenous” growth through real social improvements, e.g. a better workforce, more R&D and technology, better government:

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ECB’s Cœuré on the Eurozone: Federation or Stagnation

I always like seeing what the European Central Bank is thinking. Unlike most pseudo-political actors in Europe today, the ECB is a decider, and a decider has to think, and when it presents that thinking, it presents a theodicy justifying the way it wields its power. I find the ECB often says more intelligent and interesting things than various European non-deciders.

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Benjamin Franklin’s Defense of Compromise

Benjamin Franklin as a proud British subject (1767).

Benjamin Franklin as a proud British subject (1767).

Not long ago, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the Cypriot House of Representatives:

The word “compromise” should not have negative connotations. Believe me: in the European Union it is the key word for our everyday business. The challenge is to look at compromises as opportunities to achieve progress.

In this spirit,  the following is Benjamin Franklin’s, perhaps surprisingly, less-than-spirited, and yet masterful in its modesty, defense of one such political compromise: The Constitution of the United States of America. The speech was spoken to the assembled Constitutional Convention on its last day, September 17, 1776.

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Poll: 86% of Bosnian Muslims still wouldn’t want you marrying his daughter

Bosnia

According to Pew Research, only 14% of Bosnian Muslims would be “comfortable” with their daughter marrying a Christian:

Relatively few Bosnian Muslims count non-Muslims among their close friends: Roughly nine-in-ten Bosnian Muslims (93%) say most, if not all, of their close friends share their faith.

Similarly, few Muslims in Bosnia-Herzegovina are comfortable with the idea of their son or daughter marrying outside the faith. Fewer than one-in-five Bosnian Muslims say they would be comfortable with either a son (16%) or daughter (14%) marrying a Christian.

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On Tsipras’ Unconditional Surrender: Cui bono?

Best friends?

Best friends?

The far-left are an interesting bunch. On the one hand, they are sometimes surprisingly edgy (and in fact anyone who isn’t edge enough will be a “class-traitor”); on other, they are also the most intolerant of too much edginess (then you’re a “fascist”). A very fine line.

So the Paris-based American journalist Diana Johnstone (who has a very interesting book on the collapse of Yugoslavia) has an unorthodox analysis in CounterPunch of Alexis Tsipras’ recent unconditional surrender. Did the Greek Leftist surrender to Berlin, which wanted to kick them out anyway, or a financially-motivated Paris and a geopolitically-motivated Washington?

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