This week's editor

Heather McRobie

Heather McRobie is an editor at 5050.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Debates and articles from across the openDemocracy website that discuss or are relevant to Europe

Securitisation not the response to deaths at sea

The European Union has responded to the humanitarian crisis presented by refugee deaths in the Mediterranean—but only through the lens of border control.

Turkey and the Armenian genocide: the next century

For the Armenian diaspora, today is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day—but not in Turkey. Perhaps members of the country’s Kurdish minority can help shake up a polarised narrative.

Crisis in the Mediterranean: Europe must change course

As leaders of European Union member states prepare to meet to discuss the Mediterranean refugee crisis, the Council of Europe commissioner for human rights sets the bar for an adequate response.

What the EU must do now to halt this tragedy on its shores

There are answers to the Mediterranean migrant-deaths crisis. They just require the European Union, whose foreign ministers met yesterday, to grasp the political nettle.

Lampedusa: Never again

The terrible migrant deaths off the Italian island have evoked horror across the continent. In a small camp in France, Rebecca Omonira-Oyekanmi talks to fellow countrymen and women who have survived: their hopes, dreams, and learning to feel unwelcome in Europe. (First published in October 2013)

Europe's war on migrants

The unending series of mass drownings in the Mediterranean of migrants and refugees are not unfortunate tragedies: they are the dread outworking of the occluding of humanitarian concern by the rhetoric of border control.

The struggle against anti-Semitism

Anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe. And no, that is not because Israel faces ever-growing criticism.

Arms and the men: Sweden’s revoked Saudi arms deal

From the outside, the Swedish snub to the Saudi royals looks like a big triumph for women’s rights over commercial pressures. Close up, the ethical picture is a little muddier.

Turkey and Armenia: genocide? what genocide?

April 1915 saw the start of the genocide against Armenians and other minorities in the former Ottoman Empire. Erdoğan hopes he can ignore the anniversary and it will go away—while Armenian politics is stuck in victim mode.

Mass surveillance: wrong in practice as well as principle

The paradox of mass state surveillance, as the answer to non-state violence, is that it can overlook the intelligence targeted law enforcement finds and render critical infrastructures vulnerable—never mind threatening fundamental freedoms.

Migrants in the Mediterranean: mourning deaths, not saving lives

For as long as the humanitarian impulse to rescue the desperate and the destitute is trumped by Europe’s focus on border control, the death toll will rise inexorably.

Settling accounts: what happens after SwissLeaks?

The SwissLeaks scandal around the HSBC bank subsidiary there has highlighted how globalisation can facilitate tax-dodgers. Only a bright spotlight of information can deter them.

Karabakh truce shaken by gunshots and tough talk

OSCE mediators urge an end to attacks after a month in which the 20-year-old ceasefire was broken in thousands of incidents.

Is there reason to hope for Minsk II?

The last Minsk agreement on eastern Ukraine failed to bring peace. The latest looks similar—but the context has changed.

The devil is in the details

Conspiracies theories about the Charlie Hebdo attacks come to the fore in France, blaming the secret service, Mossad, and of course the U.S.

Ukraine ceasefire announced at Minsk summit—what next?

The ceasefire agreement in Minsk over Ukraine was better than no outcome at all. But only a little better.

Scapegoats for an insecure Europe

The crisis facing Europe could be perceived as a product of conflicting class interests in what Keynes called the capitalism of the casino. All the more important that it should instead be blamed on conveniently stigmatised Others.

In Ukraine, NATO has ceased to be an instrument of US foreign policy

In the renewed cold war over Ukraine, while Russia’s economy has been weakened by European sanctions, the US is no longer the hegemon it once was—and NATO is under strain.

Ukraine steels for more unrest as Donetsk bus attack kills 12

The latest violence in eastern Ukraine would lead most observers to think an end to the military and political attrition is not in sight. They would be right.

Ethnicised justice and dealing with the past in ex-Yugoslavia

There was much hope in the international community that the Hague war-crimes tribunal on former Yugoslavia, allied to domestic proceedings, could point the region to a reconciled future. It was not to be.

Whatever happened to winning hearts and minds?

European governments risk adopting the same counter-productive approaches towards the latest Islamist groups and fighters as they did against al-Qaeda.

The European Kurds rallying to fight IS

With Kurds in Iraq and Syria under attack from the Islamic State, many young Kurds in Europe have been joining resistance forces—a trend occluded by the media focus on European-born jihadists.

The new cold war Russia (again) won't win

The last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, burst the 25th-anniversary balloon of the symbolic end of the cold war by warning of a new one, fed by NATO's eastward expansion. An economically weak USSR lost the last one; a still weaker Russia will lose this one too. 

Orchestrating democracy in Bulgaria

As Bulgaria heads for the polls for the fourth time in 18 months, is there any hope of political stability? What has caused this severe political crisis and can elections make a difference?

The poverty of European migration policy

Policy on migration in Europe bears more relationship to ideology than evidence. And humanity is sorely lacking.

The failed "mental revolution": Georgia, crime and criminal justice

Crime has been near the top of Georgia's political agenda for a decade. But successive governments have still to address fundamental questions of legitimacy and trust.

Crisis brewing in Macedonia

Events over the summer in Macedonia revealed just how fragile interethnic relationships remain. The EU and the US must address their responsibilities as guarantors of the country’s peace accord.

Scotland's referendum: the view from around the world

As residents of Scotland vote today on the future of their country, we take a look at how countries around the world are talking about the referendum.

NATO-Russia: time for a change in direction

NATO’s summit this week offers the opportunity to turn the tide against the re-emergence of the cold war in the context of the Ukraine crisis. It is an opportunity, however, unlikely to be taken.

Azerbaijan: a dual offensive

Azerbaijan’s strategy over the disputed, Armenian-held territory of Karabakh is also aimed at eliminating domestic opposition. But the country's rising troubles make this a self-defeating strategy.

Secret prisons, disappearances and torture

In a ruling described by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch as “landmark”, the European Court of Human Rights has passed excoriating judgment on the US “war on terror” following the attacks of 2001.

Out of the shadows: facing up to violence against women

Violence against women is always under-recorded, usually under-recognised and often spuriously justified by "culture" or "tradition". A new convention seeks a step change in Europe.

Slow and steady: Hungary’s media clampdown

The Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, sent a frisson across the EU with his boast last weekend that he is building a “non-liberal” state, like in China, Russia or Turkey, free of “western European dogma”—but then his steady destruction of liberty in Hungary has gone largely unchallenged.

Macedonia on the brink

It’s quiet again in Skopje after violent Albanian protests in early July—deceptively so.

How long does it take to overcome an anti-democratic regime - lessons from Bulgaria

The government in Bulgaria has resigned after 404 days of protests. What has changed in the past year and how has it affected the state of democracy in the country?

Syndicate content