Jean-Claude Juncker, the new President of the European Commission and his “winning team” start to work officially on 1 November 2014. The former Prime Minister of the small state and fiscal paradise Luxemburg (500,000 inhabitants) is trying to spread the sentiment of breaking new ground for the European Union after five years of financial, economic, and increasingly, political, crisis. Peter Wahl reports
Unlike his predecessor, Juncker made some self-critical remarks and admitted what critics had been saying for years: There ‘was a lack of social fairness’ and ‘democratic legitimacy had suffered’ in the EU. Hence, he promised ‘a new start’ as well as ‘jobs, growth, fairness and democratic change.’ Of course, it is too early to judge whether this is more than a rhetorical facelift, or neo-liberalism with a human face. But looking more closely into the selection of commissioners and the structural changes in the Commission, there is little reason for optimism ...
At first glance, everyday life seems not to have changed in Istanbul. The streets are congested; people hurry to the ferry or the bus. For weeks, there has been no terror attack. Nevertheless, there are some visible changes. There are much more policemen in the streets. In some days, the Istiklal Caddesi, the main shopping street on the European side, seems to be under a state of siege. At every street corner, there is police van with the blue light switched on.
Recent disturbing trends in international finance have particularly problematic implications, especially for developing countries. The new United Nations report, World Economic Situation and Prospects 2017 (WESP 2017), is the only recent report of a multilateral inter-governmental organization to recognize these problems, especially as they are relevant to the financing requirements for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Trump government signals unequivocally the end of international US hegemony. An international hegemon is able to define rules that find relatively broad acceptance internationally and plays a role in safeguarding international economic stability. The Trump government announced measures that go against the present economic rules while not proposing new ones.
The global deficit in quality jobs and deteriorating economic conditions in a number of regions threatens to undo decades of progress in poverty reduction, warns a new report by the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Employment and Social Outlook (WESO) 2016.
Weakening of workers' rights in most regions is being aggravated by severe crackdowns on freedom of speech and assembly, according to the 2016 Global Rights Index. Restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, including severe crackdowns in some countries, increased by 22%, with 50 out of 141 countries surveyed recording restrictions.