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About This Club

For everything Europe.


  1. What's new in this club
  2. Stopping the authoritarian rot in Europe EUOBSERVER.COM A few weeks ago, the European Union underwent a fundamental change: it ceased being a bloc of exclusively democratic states. Even worse - leaders across Europe barely flinched. I really don't understand (Well, of course, I do, but still.) why Hungary's move towards a full-blown authoritarian regime has received so little public attention. No matter what your opinion on the European Union was prior to this, there is no denying that this is a huge and important story about how the European Union has undergone a fundamental change. It's clearly a historic change for the EU as it has now truly ceased being a bloc of exclusively democratic states. And European leaders have so far been awfully quiet and spinelessness about it all.
  3. Donald Trump threatens with punitive tariffs against EU and France following the approval in the French parliament of a 3% digital services tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple. So why this strong response from the US and Donald Trump? I think it’s because of two main reasons: Firstly, and the most obvious reason IMO, is because the US political establishment is heavily influenced by corporate lobbyists – TBH the whole US political discourse has been profoundly corporatized in recent decades – and that includes lobbying from the US tech sector. Just see this article from the Guardian on how the tech industry now dominates the US lobbying industry. Secondly, these tech giants are a central part of the extensive and global spy network that the US government manage against both its enemies and allies. Leaks have for example shown how NSA's top-secret spy program Prism has direct access to Google Apple and Facebook servers. Obviously, any perceived threats against these tech giants cannot be tolerated by the US government – Trump’s response is just his usually blunt honesty/stupidity.
  4. Very little of the money that French billionaires promised to donate to the reconstruction of Notre Dame has actually been donated. French billionaires slow-walk donations to rebuild Notre Dame WWW.CBSNEWS.COM Even though their fortunes get bigger by the month, their pledges of more than $500 million are mostly still just promises For example, French billionaire Bernard Arnault pledged $224 million to rebuild Notre Dame. He's donated just $11 million so far. But his fortune grew by $32.4 billion in 2019. And he's not alone. Let's recalculate Arnault's pledge and compare his generosity in proportion to average people. A median French family might have a household wealth of $60000. Let's say it went up to $3000 this year. It would be as if this family pledged $20 to Notre Dame. And paid $1. These billionaires are not generous.
  5. Here's an interesting article in the Huffington Post on the general election this past Sunday in Sweden: Sweden Is What Happens When Liberals Let The Far-Right Set The Agenda. The country’s left-wing Social Democrats just saw their worst election result in generations. I agree with this conclusion. The Swedish Social Democrats were "saved" (they could have done much, much worse than 28% TBH) when they late in the election campaign actually started countering the racist politics of the Sweden Democrats with their own politics and solutions. In addition to this, they also - finally - promised some much-needed welfare investments. In the graph above we can see how the voter support for the Social Democrats has progressed during the election campaign. In phase 1 they were all about harder punishment for crime and tougher limits on immigration and refugees - something which just resulted in reinforcing the racist worldview of the SwedenDemocrats and a country near collapse (despite the fact that Sweden today is one of the richest, happiest and successful countries in the world). Phase 2 is when the support for the Social Democrats started to rise again, coincidentally this was also around the time when they campaigned more on traditionally strong social democratic talking points, such as welfare investments and economic redistribution. So the general election in Sweden clearly shows IMO that progressives, socialists, and liberals will always lose when they let the far-right set the political agenda.
  6. Denmark has become the latest country to prohibit wearing the burqa and niqab in public. But Denmark's ban may backfire - just like it has in many other European countries with similar bans. This is a pretty interesting article that's worth your time, I think. Check it out: Banning Muslim Veils Tends to Backfire—Why Do Countries Keep Doing It? So, why do European countries keep doing it?
  7. Benno

    Wedding destinations.

    I went to a wedding in Krakow. It was very Polish. Medieval church. Monks. Old tapestries. Smoke. Vodka. The whole package. Then I went to the Auschwitz concentration camp...
  8. Simon

    Wedding destinations.

    I would imagine that there are several places in and around Poland that you can choose from. But what kind of environment are you guys looking for? I would recommend Karlskrona in the southern parts of Sweden - it's a world heritage city located in the middle of an archipelago. It's not far from Poland, the ferry just takes around 10 hours.
  9. What are some destinations in Europe that you would recommend for a wedding? I want to get married to my girlfriend somewhere closer to her home. I'm from the US and she's from Poland. It doesn't have to be somewhere in Poland but I would prefer if Poland was easily accessible. Any ideas?
  10. My favorite place to visit would have to be Poland. With all the castles, the Skull museum and all the history you can just see in the cities. Its truly breath taking. It's crazy to imagine how beautiful it must've been before big buildings started to emerge. What country was your favorite to see and why?
  11. The Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Berlin Wall, Leaning tower of Pisa, etc. These are just few of the beautiful sights too see in Europe. What was your favorite place to see and why? What about it made it so memorable?
  12. I come from a small village in Poland with the population of 250 people, where life was much simpler. I believe that small communities like that allowed the culture of the country to stay well preserved. Some will say that its stunting the growth to keep these villages untouched. What are your thoughts?
  13. In an interview with CBS News and ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, US President Donald Trump said that he thinks "the European Union is a foe". Read the full story here: "I think the European Union is a foe," Trump says ahead of Putin meeting in Helsinki This certainly doesn't bode well for future US-EU relations. Maybe it's true what Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said last year, that Europe can no longer rely on America?
  14. So the form protest group from the Catalunian province of Spain is now a national party. Personally, I don't think a group with such extreme, separatist based beliefs should be recognized as a political party on a National level because this will only prolong a crisis that the Catalan people continue to suffer. https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/02/05/inenglish/1517821118_900009.html
  15. This is good new for me as a European! I agree, this is a step toward the right direction following the recent legalization in Germany for Medical use. This is also the first time I've read of marijuana criminalization being seen as an unreasonable entry to the criminal system outside of the US. I can say just from my anecdotes from the places I've been, unfortunately, this is happening in other countries as well.
  16. AP News Article This would most definitely be a step in the right direction, in my opinion! I fully agree with the idea that the system simply creates more criminals. Once you're "in the system" it's almost impossible to get out, even over something as simple as marijuana charges. At least, that's how it is here in the states. Does Germany have a similar situation when it comes to low-level weed convicts having trouble finding work/housing?
  17. Check out this map that shows how divided Europe is by the air we breath in the East and the West. This is especially visible in the winter when the combination of old cars, low energy efficiency, solid fuel heating, bad regulation and enforcement, and limited social policies in many eastern parts makes pollution levels very high, especially in calm weather.
  18. Uh oh... Angela Merkel has just said in a speech that Germany or Europe can no longer rely on America under Donald Trump, or Britain following Brexit. Instead Merkel said that "we Europeans must take our destiny into our own hands" and "fight for our own future". The Independent reports: So, basically, France think Donald Trump is a dictator, and the Germans think he's unreliable, while the British think he can't be trusted with any kind of intel. But at least the Saudis think he's useful. Good job America!
  19. New data from the World Health Organization shows that nearly 85 percent of all Europeans were exposed to hazardous air pollution above recommended levels in 2014. The highest rate of air contamination and air pollution-related deaths can be found in Eastern European and Balkan countries, according to the new statistics. Least air pollution averages and air pollution-related deaths can be found in all of Scandinavia, Finland, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. In 2012, Sweden registered less than one death per 100,000 people due to air pollution and the country had Europe’s lowest average of 5.9 micrograms of pollutants per cubic metre. Learn more here: Which European countries are the most polluted? How well does your country and/or city fare when it comes to air pollution?
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