This week's editor

Ray Filar

Ray Filar is co-editor of Transformation and a freelance journalist.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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

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?

As Israel-Palestine descends into violence, what should Europe do?

The latest effort by the Israel-aligned US to renegotiate the asymmetric power relationships of the Middle East has inevitably failed, with brutal violence following; it is time, as an alternative, for the EU to generalise the rule-based constraint on Israeli action it has tentatively essayed.

Arab migrants face a new Sykes-Picot in Calais

The latest raid on camps in Calais is an example of Europe continuing to strengthen border controls and crack down on migrants. But violence and coercion will not deter those who are determined to reach a safe haven at any cost.

How one man was stripped of his UK citizenship—twice

The UK home secretary has pushed legislation through Parliament which allows her to strip individuals of their citizenship, even if they are rendered stateless—but the case on which she drew turns out to have a Kafkaesque quality.

Turkey's Armenian opening: towards 2015

The approaching centenary of the genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman empire is a moment for Turkey's civil society to create a new ethical reality around the issue

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 their fellow countrymen and women who have survived: their hopes, dreams, and learning to feel unwelcome in Europe.

Fleeing FGM: Bodies on the frontline

The UK’s commitment to protecting the rights of women and girls cannot be limited to international aid; it must recognise gender-based persecution and not expel any woman to a country where she risks her life, rights or freedom, says Lorna Gledhill. 

A call to action in memory of the woman I never knew

At least 20 people have died in immigration detention in the UK: how many more must die before the UK changes its detention policy? The public must shout louder, says Eiri Ohtani. 

Who's afraid of the 'global poor'?

Shifting the migration debate to consider the impact of global phenomena such as climate change and global capitalism on the movement of people requires an understanding of scarcity and insecurity as factors which affect citizens and non-citizens alike.

Knitted Together: Crafting a culture of welcome for refugee women

A group of women in the UK have created a piece of art to challenge the detention of refugee women. Craft can be a powerful and cross-cultural means to challenge segregation with solidarity, says Rachel Walker.

Syndicate content