Divide and Obstruct: Populist Parties and EU Foreign Policy

Divide and Obstruct: Populist Parties and EU Foreign Policy

The rise of populism is beginning to shake the institutions that bring Europe together, but despite the promises of several populist figureheads and the fears of many, it is not taking over European politics. The far right has made significant gains, especially in Italy, where Lega picked up an unprecedented 23 seats. In France, the Rassemblement National came first with 23.5 percent of the vote, but it has lost two Members of the European Parliament. The governing populist parties in Hungary and Poland have also performed strongly. Other populist parties expected to fare well in Germany and the Netherlands have underperformed. The populist left is shrinking. Read More

Macron, Ardern host Paris summit against online extremism

Macron, Ardern host Paris summit against online extremism

French President Emmanuel Macron and New Zealand’s premier Jacinda Ardern will host other world leaders and leading tech chiefs on Wednesday to launch an ambitious new initiative aimed at curbing extremism online.

The initiative, known as the ‘Christchurch call’, was pushed by Ardern after a self-described white supremacist gunned down 51 people in a massacre at two mosques in the New Zealand city in March, the country’s worst atrocity of recent times.

Participants will be asked to commit to pledges to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content on social media and other online platforms.

The political meeting will run in parallel to an initiative launched by Macron called ‘Tech for Good’ which will bring together 80 tech chiefs in Paris to find a way for new technologies to work for the common good.

The summit comes as there is a growing realisation that the current abuse of social media by extremists must be countered, after the Christchurch attacker broadcast live footage on Facebook from a head-mounted camera. Read More

The Imam, the Security and Operation of the Islamic Mosque in Athens

The Imam, the Security and Operation of the Islamic Mosque in Athens

Time counts backwards for the operation of the first official Islamic mosque in Athens, after years of struggle by the Muslim communities of Greece. The government has been involved in a race to complete the next few days the work of redevelopment of the surrounding area, the shaping and equipping of the interior of the mosque, and the process of recruiting Imam. The intention of the government is to function it officially at the beginning of April, and certainly before Easter.
At Maximum’s Palace, there is the thought of giving the proper splendour to the inauguration of the mosque with a great ceremony, to which even the leaders of Islamic states will be invited to attend. This shows that the country’s domestic affair, with the signature of Antonis Samaras, will be exploited by the government to promote the image of the Prime Minister internationally, while at the same time strengthening Greece’s profile, that it fully respects religious rights, constructing and operating a state mosque, as a continuation of the image he has achieved abroad after the Prespa Agreement.
The position of the Muslim communities is that the mosque in Islam is an obligation of the followers and believers rather than the state. They could take advantage of this suggestion without thinking that the mosque was made because Islamic countries were pressing, and not because it was a need to satisfy the religious needs of a large community living in Attica. Read More