With a regional economy in disarray, the European Central Bank (ECB) has taken measures to jumpstart commerce in the region. The ECB announced it will purchase €20 billion per month of net assets for the foreseeable future. This quantitative easing will also include a cost of its main deposit rate to a record low of -0.5%.
ECB President Mario Draghi didn’t make light of the current economic situation in the EU:
“In view of the weakening economic outlook and the continued prominence of downside risk, governments with fiscal space should act in an effective and timely manner,” Draghi said. “In countries where public debt is high, governments need to pursue prudent policies that will create the conditions for automatic stabilizers to operate freely. All countries should reinforce their efforts to achieve a more growth-friendly composition of public finances,” he added.
However, not everyone is onboard with this stimulus plan. Robert Holzmann, the central-bank governor in Austria, opposed the measures, noting that while these measures by Mario Draghi are a mistake, they can be changed once the new ECB President, Christine Lagarde, takes the helm.
A new, controversial role in the EU has many up in arms about what the governing body is saying about immigrants and refugees in the region. Incoming chief of the EU’s administrative branch, Ursula von der Leyen, announced the role of “Vice President for protecting our European way of life” at a recent press conference. This role would center around migration policy, leading many to believe this is a move that appeals only to the far-right, using terminology that is very controversial.
In an attempt to explain the new position, von der Leyen said:
“The European way of life is built around solidarity, peace of mind and security…We must address and allay legitimate fears and concerns about the impact of irregular migration on our economy and society.”
However, many in the EU were appalled by such statements. Dutch member of EU parliament Sophie in ‘t Veld sees this as the complete antithesis of the values of Europe:
“The very point about the European way of life, is the freedom for individuals to choose their own way of life… The implication that Europeans need to be protected from external cultures is grotesque and this narrative should be rejected.”
Climate change is one of the biggest threats facing humanity. But could technology lessen its impact? A recent expose by Time Magazine highlighted the ways in which technology can help change the climate change narrative and provide a cleaner environment for the world.
Over recent years, solar and wind power have declined significantly in cost, with wind power doubling in the US over the past 10 years. Between solar and wind energy, renewables garnered 17% of all electricity generation in 2018, up from 9% in 2008.
It is the commitment to carbon-free electricity that is set to move the needle for climate change:
“In 2019, Nevada and Washington joined California and Hawaii in committing to 100% carbon-free electricity in the next generation. Around the world, France, Sweden, Norway, Portugal and the U.K., among others, have set similar goals.”
It appears the UK is now ruled by a dictator. At least, that’s what many media members and citizens in the country are claiming after Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed parliament in an attempt to stave off a deal with the EU.
Several media outlets across Europe bashed Johnson for his role in potentially bringing down the British democracy:
By comparing Johnson to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – who has faced criticism for expanding government control over the judiciary, the press and academia – Austrian newspaper Der Standard was among the more fretful voices.
“Johnson and his henchmen clearly think Brexit is more important than democracy and the rule of law,” the paper’s London correspondent, Sebastian Borger, wrote.
Germany’s international public broadcaster DW was more blunt. “Boris Johnson, the UK dictator,” blared the headline of an opinion piece by the network’s senior European correspondent, Barbara Wesel.
Luckily for his detractors, the Scottish highest court of appeals found that Johnson’s attempt to suspend Parliament was unlawful because it “had the purpose of stymieing Parliament.” Still, Johnson plans on appealing the decision in the country’s supreme court.