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What's behind skyrocketing rental prices in Spain?

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What's behind skyrocketing rental prices in Spain?

Last month, Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sánchez was forced to call a snap election after Congress rejected his budget proposal. The call for elections and subsequent dissolution of parliament has not, however, prevented Sánchez’s caretaker government from continuing legislating via executive orders. Even though these executive orders need to be approved by the…

Protecting the environment should be about being pro-human

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Protecting the environment should be about being pro-human

In figures released by Eurostat this month, it was reported that only 6.4% of energy consumed in the Grand Duchy in 2017 came from renewable sources, making Luxembourg stand more than ten percentage points below the EU average of 17.5%as well as the member state producing the least amount from renewable energy. Granted, this number is up from previous years, rising from 5.4% in 2016, 5% in…

Burrowing into Books - "My Twenty-Five Years in Provence" by Peter Mayle

Burrowing into Books - "My Twenty-Five Years in Provence" by Peter Mayle

  “After several months our luck finally changed. We found a house on a hillside, with several thousand acres of the Luberon Natural Regional Park at the end of the back garden, a modest vineyard and the fine old village of Ménerbes two minutes away.”…

What the Dutch air travel tax proposal reveals about our political class

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
What the Dutch air travel tax proposal reveals about our political class

The Netherlands is pushing for a new tax on air travel. The story is very under-reported in the media, even though it reveals something quite striking about the current political establishment.   The most important reason   Dutch Secretary of State for Finance Menno Snel presented a report to the Council of Ministers of the EU arguing for a €7 tax (per passenger, per flight…

Linguistic inclusion or social mobility?: A dilemma

Linguistic inclusion or social mobility?: A dilemma

Language and accents are a veritable passion for anglophones. Upon landing in the UK for the first time, my new comrades at university asked me to explain President Trump, but their curiosity was focused on his accent, not his policies. The power of linguistic tonality and musicality has long been a sore topic with those of a social justice inclination, who have long waged war on British Received…

Is the Romanian PM right about the EU's hypocrisy on corruption and civil liberties?

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
Is the Romanian PM right about the EU's hypocrisy on corruption and civil liberties?

Romania's presidency isn't a smooth one for a number of reasons. For one, taking over the rotating Council presidency in a European election year means that the European Parliament will be missing as one of the institutional partners from April on. During this reduced time, the country will then be asked to finish a number of major-league legislative projects, such as the development aid…

Book Review: The Clash of Economic Ideas

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Book Review: The Clash of Economic Ideas

The Clash of Economic Ideas: The Great Policy Debates and Experiments of the Last Hundred Years By Lawrence H. White Cambridge University Press; 1st edition (April 9, 2012) 438 pages, $39.77   “I’m rather good at it”, said a young John Maynard Keynes to a friend shortly after starting the only economics course he would take in his life; a course that would turn a…

The Bank of Spain warns about the harmful effects of raising the minimum wage

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The Bank of Spain warns about the harmful effects of raising the minimum wage

On December 21 last year, the Spanish government issued an executive order whereby it increased the national minimum wage by an astonishing 22.3 percent for fiscal year 2019. Despite the potentially harmful effects that such a drastic measure could have on Spain’s ailing labor market (the unemployment rate is still over 14 percent), Sánchez’s government didn’t hesitate to…

The European Parliament is sabotaging its own democratic values

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Blogger: Bill Wirtz
The European Parliament is sabotaging its own democratic values

There is only one way of looking at the Leinen amendment in the European Parliament: it structurally tries to silence Eurosceptics.   Changing the funding of political groups in the EP   In an amendment submitted by the German Social Democrat Jo Leinen and supported by the EPP (European People's Party, centre-right), the S&D (socialists and social democrats), as well as the…

Freedom of Choice in the 21st Century: Towards a New Jus Vitae Necisque?

Freedom of Choice in the 21st Century: Towards a New Jus Vitae Necisque?

In the United States, an important conversation is taking place, the results of which might set a worldwide precedent for ethical regress of the most devastating kind. It is now an alarming reality that, while European countries have laws which generally ban abortion after the first trimester, when the baby becomes better formed and (as far as science knows so far) able to feel pain, in the US,…

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