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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…

Should we sift through old tweets?

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Should we sift through old tweets?

Remember the tweet you thought was hilarious, but that would now land you in hot water? Yeah, you know which one. But should it even get you in trouble?   What is Twitter?   Twitter is by far the most spontaneous of all social media sites. Twitter's timeline is great for reactions, quotes, and gives a lot of visibility for a briefly worded thought. Facebook encourages…

Liberalism: What's in a name?

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Liberalism: What's in a name?

The European Parliament political group ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe) have announced the intention to drop the word 'liberal' if an alliance with French President Emmanuel Macron's European "Renaissance" movement is made. That's a good thing for the authenticity of liberalism in Europe.   The alliance   The announcement was made…

The case for the sharing economy

Blogger: Bill Wirtz
The case for the sharing economy

The sharing economy is not only a different way of presenting services such as Uber or Airbnb, but actually a wide range of companies that operate on the basis of shared resources to maximise their utility. Innovations in this area, however, require rethinking  the State's current authorisation system to give more flexibility to companies, employees and consumers. Uber’s example…

ALDE's moral high-ground is slipping away

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
ALDE's moral high-ground is slipping away

Prominent ALDE members are continuously criticising the EPP and the ECR for the parties that hold their membership. And indeed, the Hungarian Fidesz is rightfully criticised for still being a part of the European People's Party. Yours truly has been a part of this conversation. ALDE group leader Guy Verhofstadt continuously goes after Manfred Weber for this reason, but truth be told: the…

Who is really dismantling Europe?

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Who is really dismantling Europe?

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the renegotiation of the Schengen agreement, which guarantees the right to free movement between the signatory countries in Europe. Paired with some of his other statements, this demonstrates  how hypocritical France's head of state can really be.   The context   The European nations participating in the Schengen agreement are…

The Dutch-Albanian feud can be resolved by ending the war on drugs

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
The Dutch-Albanian feud can be resolved by ending the war on drugs

The Dutch parliament has asked their government to invoke the visa suspension mechanism for the Republic of Albania. The parliament in the Hague cites a worrying increase in crimes committed by the Albanian mafia as a reason for the move.   The visa suspension mechanism   Regulation (EU) 2018/1806 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 November 2018 allows member states…

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