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A European “no-fly list” violates civil rights

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
A European “no-fly list” violates civil rights

Imitating the United States’ surveillance state methods will not make Europeans safer. The European Union is going through the process of creating a counter-terorrism database that will compile information from EU countries regarding ongoing investigations, prosecutions and convictions of militants, including returning foreign fighters who joined terrorist groups abroad. The measure,…

Bashing big bosses: the favourite discipline of the French press

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Bashing big bosses: the favourite discipline of the French press

It is an antiphon, declared over and over again in public opinion. From high-level intellectuals like Noam Chomsky to the average citizen, everyone agrees: control by the big bosses over the media protects the former from being targeted by the latter. Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber was already warning of the danger of journalists losing control of their media to big business almost 60 years ago.…

Political violence is unacceptable

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Political violence is unacceptable

In the wake of the ratification of the CETA agreement, environmentalists and anti-free trade zealots are ganging up on politicians who voted for it. This can't become the new normal.   Incidents in France   The French National Assembly recently approved CETA, a free trade agreement between the European Union and Canada. The left-wing media outlet Mediapart consequently published…

Americans: Your Euro trip will show that big government sucks

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Americans: Your Euro trip will show that big government sucks

Let a Euro trip be your lesson: big government on the old continent is way worse than some politicians would have you believe. During the summer months, many young Americans make a trip across the pond to visit the old continent. They have good reason to do so. Europe is a gorgeous continent of stunning beauty and amazing cultural heritage. Americans are very welcome tourists, notably because…

EU websites are not your platform

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
EU websites are not your platform

EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis likened British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin in a blog post published on the website of the Commission. The point of contention is not so much about the comparison itself as it is that Andriukaitis is abusing his bureaucratic office for political purposes.   A political Commission?   The question…

What's the new triumvirate worth?

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
What's the new triumvirate worth?

On Tuesday, Ursula von der Leyen was confirmed by the European Parliament as the new President of the European Commission. According to the latest plan, current Dutch Commissioner Frans Timmermans and Danish Commissioner Magrethe Vestager would become Vice-Presidents on equal footing.   The deal   The Renew Europe (RE) group leader Dacian Cioloș made one point and one point only in…

The death of the “Spitzenkandidaten”

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
The death of the “Spitzenkandidaten”

The European Council killed the "Spitzenkandidaten" process. It was never great, but a return to the old appointment system will have consequences of its own.   A useless circus   The treaties of the European Union, as they stand at the moment, indicate that the results of the European elections need to be taken into account for the nomination of the president of the…

In its war against disinformation, the European Union goes too far

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
In its war against disinformation, the European Union goes too far

The European Union wants to do more to combat the spread of fake news. The tools it uses, however, will hand too much power to the government.   Fighting fake news   When current European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker was asked by German newspaper Bild what advice he would give to his successor (we don't know yet who it is going to be), the Luxembourger said:…

A selfie in Pripyat

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
A selfie in Pripyat

I experienced some social media backlash after posting a selfie from the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Beyond the usual problem of annoying comments, this experience raises questions about our current social media use.   Ferris wheel selfies   The iconic ferris wheel in Pripyat, abandoned inside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone since the accident in 1986, is a good place to take a selfie.…

Remember Macron’s new food bill? It backfired as anticipated

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Remember Macron’s new food bill? It backfired as anticipated

Last year, the French legislature passed the “Loi EGalim”, intended to re-establish fairness between food producers and retailers. But none of the “fairness” measures have made anything fairer. Quite the contrary.   What happened   In a piece for FEE back in February, I went through the different dispositions in the bill. One of the flagship policies included…

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