The “Schulz-Effect”: Socialists lose first election under his leadership

Following the sudden ascendance of Martin Schulz as their new leader, Social Democrats in Germany have gone through a  delirium of optimism, hoping that the former EP President’s “popularity” and “leadership” would boost their chances to win the national elections in September. The media wrote about “Saint Martin”, “Martin the Saviour”, and of a “Schulz-Effect” – and opinion polls suggested that the Social Democrats were now ahead of Angela Merkel’s CDU. Only last week Schulz was elected the new president of the Socialist Party with 100% of delegates’ votes.

Well, the hype didn’t last long. Continue reading

Human rights report reveals widespread violent attacks on Christian refugees in Germany

A report just released by the international religious freedom organisation Open Doors reveals a shocking level of attacks on Christian refugees while being housed in German refugee centres. Over the period covered by the research, up to September 2016, a total of 743 cases are documented of Christian refugees who have reported religiously motivated attacks. Continue reading

Freedom of speech is not freedom to insult

boehmermanninjailIf his real objective was merely to get worldwide media attention, Jan Böhmermann has done the right thing.

In Germany, as elsewhere, there is increasing criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose style of governance is more and more perceived as dictatorial. (This perception is very different from what it used to be not long ago. Back in 2004 he even was awarded the title of “European of the Year” by the readership of European Voice, a liberal weekly that has since been absorbed by POLITICO.) But in Germany more than elsewhere this criticism of the Turkish president raises delicate diplomatic issues, given the great number of ethnic Turks living in the country and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s controversial policy to put the management of Europe’s immigration problem into the hands of the Turkish government. Continue reading

EU/Turkey: Not a very clever deal

davutoglu_merkel_0So it seems that the EU and Turkey have agreed that Turkey will take back persons that, coming from Turkey, have illegally entered the EU via the Aegean … in exchange for an equal amount of “legal” immigrants who will be selected in Turkish refugee camps.

In other words, the number of immigrants will not be reduced. Continue reading