EUST Blog Assignment #2 Posted on February 16, 2015 by saorsa2014 Here is the next blog exercise. Remember 500 words, on topic and relevant and please use paragraphs. Due by midnight on Sunday the 22nd. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading... Related
31 thoughts on “EUST Blog Assignment #2”
19 Feb. 2015
Blog Post 2
Looking at the first image, it is clear to see that the UK has a split mindset about immigration. As we see this ad from UKIP, they clearly want to try to keep Britain for the British. What that proves is that racism is alive and well, for one, and for two that nationalist movements are trying to make a resurgence. On the other half of this, we see that someone has crossed out immigration and replaced it with hysteria. This person definitely has a more liberal ideology, and sees nationalism, at least in terms of this billboard, as a more reactionary movement, and that all this advertisement will do is create hysteria. In relation to the billboard, we can see with the chart in the next picture that UKIP, who sponsored the billboard, has gained seat in the European Parliament, up 11 members from 2009. Considering how many seats the UK controls, for ⅓ of their seats to be controlled by a nationalist, anti-immigration party is somewhat dangerous. This can lead to a number of issues, most of all being that they will be voting as a group, and would be opposed to the idea of Europe, preferring national interests. The idea of the EU was to bring countries together, and Eurosceptic communities within these countries will lead to the downfall of the EU. Looking at other countries, it is clear that Eurosceptic parties fared pretty well in the last round of parliamentary elections, and this will continue to deter the EU. The dilapidated state of the bank of Greece sign is sort of a representation of their economy. Since the 2008 economic crisis the Greeks have been probably the most hard hit of any of the EU countries. Whoever painted Berlin in place of Greece, aside from being a hoodlum, was brutally honest. The Greek economy is practically managed entirely by the Germans, as they provided a large amount of bailout money. Their close monitoring of the Greek economy has definitely caused tension, and more recently, a rebellious attitude toward repaying their debt, and how they will deal with austerity measures. Clearly the people all over Europe are strongly against austerity measures which we see in the bottom right picture, and the Greek and Spanish flags are evident, as those countries were part of the German bailout, and have been placed under some form of austerity measures. These people would probably enjoy a higher level of satisfaction with the government if they were able to use and benefit from social programs, which are cut off usually as a condition of the loans. The unrest is pretty clear, and there are protests, but on the opposite side of that are going to be people trying to control the chaos. The state police in Greece have had to deal with civilian unrest with the government since the collapse, and the protests are not always more calm like the ones we see in the bottom corner. Police push-back though, as we see here in America too, causes more uproar in the public, because the police have taken what they see as necessary action, and it draws the attention of citizens who are decidedly against the action, obviously, as that is why they are demonstrating.
Feb. 19, 2015
The photo in the top left is both sad and comical as it depicts a very real Xenophobic society. The UK Independence Party is fighting for independence from the EU but if this summer they pass the referendum to leave the EU then we will see the business district of London disappear for the most part and move to Frankfurt. While the concept of absolute sovereignty sounds sweet, the UK cannot do it. Although they are a world power, they are not what they use to be. UKIP seems to be living in the days of the British Empire but things have changed now and they need to recognize that the region of the World they reside in is and will be for the foreseeable future a cohesive unit that is strongest as a whole. Although there may be pieces that the UK does not like such as the immigration policy, if they were to leave the EU the sign above would read, “No no don’t move to Frankfurt. Say no to mass Migration.”
The second photo is of the crumbling bank of Greece. In a very literal way the Bank of Greece is has crumbled under the stress of the austerity measures that the ECB has levied on them and now in the past month we have witnessed a new government take power that is claiming to be immune to these measures and saying that they will not abide. Which isn’t entire wrong, large countries like Germany and France have dodge the Austerity measures on themselves by simply saying no were not going to do it, but when a small country like Greece objects to them they are ignored. The issue with the measures is not necessarily that they are being levied, but in actuality that they will only be levied on smaller countries.
The Chart on the right shows us the rising disapproval of the European Union. Eurosceptics are inhibitors, their presence in as MEP’s is necessary but much like the United States Senate they don’t want to work. Their primary goal is to mess with the progress that the European Union is attempting to make. As for their recent rise, it is because of the financial crisis of 2008. Although it is not the fault of the European Union, anytime there is an issue in a region people what to blame someone. The main countries to complain and elect Eurosceptics are power countries, with 70 of the Eurosceptics coming from France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. We see substantially proportional desire from smaller countries that recognize what state their Countries were in before they joined the European Union so they reflect more positively on the current system.
The bottom two pictures demonstrate the protest and riots related to the Austerity measures that governments put on their people in order to bring themselves back into coordination with the ECB strict guidelines. With the new government in place we will see how they will seek to reconcile their loans while also seeking the best for their people without placing austerity measures, citizens hate paying for the mistakes of their governments.
Currently in Europe many people are having divided feelings about whether or not the European Union is creating positive or negative impacts for the individual countries. The larger countries within the European Union are becoming frustrated with the addition of each new country because they are losing seats in the European Parliament. Immigration is also a growing issue within the EU because of the mass amount of immigration coming from Africa. As you can see in the billboard, discussing immigration, there is a large discussion going on in Europe discussing whether or not they should limit the amount of immigration occurring and the impact it is having on the European population.
When you look at the banner that says “Austerity Kills Dignity” it is easy to gain understanding that people feel like Austerity within Europe is not a positive policy in all areas. Within Greece the Austerity measures have imposed such strict regulations on fiscal policy it creates a negative impact on the possibility of growth in the long term. One reason as to why austerity measures are not the best is because they do not allow for the natural ebb and flow of the economy. When the government is limited on its ability to spend money and provide public assistance the overall welfare of the entire country is going to fall. Although being part of the Eurozone is often a positive concept and helps create a single market and eliminates trade barrios it can also create issues because countries have to maintain a productive market comparable to that of Germany.
In the photo of the bank of Greece there are multiple messages. The first of those messages is that people believe that the banks are often ran by Germany instead of by their own countries. However, in the picture you can also see that EEC is circle. In my opinion this shows that they feel their struggles can be traced back to the founding of the European Economic Community in which Greece joined in 1981. The EEC was the first try at trying to tie the European economies together and although it has been mostly positive we see the problems that can be caused from the growth of some countries while others are facing hard times can create sever economic issues like those occurring in Greece.
In recent years the issue of immigration has become a main topic for discussion. In France, nearly twenty percent of the population is either from those who were immigrants and first generation born in France of immigrant parents. This is also a major issue in Spain where twelve percent of the population are immigrants. Other countries that are facing mass immigration are the UK, Italy, and Portugal. One of the main issues with the immigration numbers being so high is that most of these countries are facing mass immigration from African countries with ties to Islam. This is becoming an issue because often the Islamic culture is misconstrued and is found to cause issues in the Christian European countries. In France reactions have even gone as far as to try to limit where head dresses can be worn.
The images work together to illustrate some of the challenges threatening European unity.
The top two pictures show growing euroscepticism, particularly in the United Kingdom. Since 2009, eurosceptic parties have gained more than 50 seats in the European Parliament. Euroscepticism is growing most prominently in some of the European Union’s founding members. For example, in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, more than 30 percent of the countries’ seats in parliament are held by eurosceptic parties. With each additional EU member, large states lose seats in parliament and more money is directed away from the EU’s core to new, poor countries on the fringes.
The most prominent eurosceptic party in the UK is the United Kingdom Independence Party, which advocates for a withdrawal from the EU. UKIP favors political independence from the EU while maintaining free trade with European neighbors, according to the UKIP website. This position is favored by many citizens in Britain. Nearly half of voters would vote to leave the EU while only 37 percent would vote to stay in the union, according to a June 2014 article published by The Guardian. However, voting to leave the EU could have negative consequences in the UK. Many Scottish voters are more committed to the EU, and Britain’s withdrawal could lead to a vote for Scottish independence.
As demonstrated by the top left picture, UKIP also advocates for tighter restrictions on immigration. The Schengen Agreement, which facilitates the movement of EU citizens by requiring open borders among members, makes it more difficult for EU states to regulate immigration.
UKIP wants to limit the number of immigrants to keep out those “without the skills or aptitude to be of benefit to the nation,” according to the UKIP website. UKIP would require immigrants to pay for private health insurance, education, and housing for five years before they could receive public benefits, according to the party website.
Restrictions on immigration would also decrease the number of international criminals from entering the UK, according to UKIP. The party used the attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper by two Islamic extremists to strengthen its position against multiculturalism. UKIP also advocates against Turkey’s accession in the EU. Party members claim that Turkey’s accession would facilitate the movement of Islamic extremists from Iraq and Syria through the EU’s open borders.
The bottom three pictures illustrate the financial crisis taking place in Greece.
When Greece joined the Eurozone in 2001, it inherited a higher credit rating that allowed the government to borrow more money. However, when the financial crisis hit in 2008, banks called in debts and raised interest rates, and Greece was unable to pay back its debts. Eurozone countries had to bail out financially struggling countries like Greece or risk the depreciation of the Euro.
In May 2010, Greece received two rescue loan packages from Eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund. Germany is Greece’s largest creditor, and the country played a pivotal role in the bailout package. In return for the bailout, Greece had to balance its budget by decreasing spending and increasing taxes. Greece also had to accept austerity measures, which meant cuts in services, such as health care, transportation, and education. Austerity measures were particularly hard on the poor and middle class.
As illustrated by the bottom right photo, in September 2012, violent anti-austerity protests erupted in Athens. Police fired tear gas at protestors who hurled gasoline bombs and chunks of marble during a 24-hour strike. In January, the left-leaning Syriza party, which promised to reduce austerity measures and restructure the debt, won a decisive victory in Greek elections.
As illustrated by the middle left picture, a large portion of Greece’s economy and fiscal policy is in the hands of Germany. Germany and Greece have very different views on how to solve the debt crisis. Germany firmly believes in austerity measures and maintains that too much spending was what caused Greece’s financial crisis in the first place. However, austerity measures have done little to solve Greece’s economic problems and have cause tremendous hardships for the people. The Greeks believe that increasing spending will help the country get out of the depression.
The financial crisis in Greece has shaken the Eurozone, and leaders are worried it could destabilize other countries struggling financially. On Thursday, Germany rejected a six-month extension to Greece’s Eurozone loan package. Germany fears that restructuring Greece’s debt will lead to a precedent for other countries, such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal. However, if the debt isn’t restructured, Greece could leave the Eurozone and cause a domino effect among other countries, which would devalue the Euro for other members.
– Jaime Dunaway
The photo on the top left is very disheartening. The vandalized sign is stating that the free movement of people in the European Union is not only leading to mass immigration, but it is creating “hysteria.” The United Kingdom Independence Party is very Eurosceptic, and they aspire to achieve complete independence from the European Union. In theory, complete sovereignty sounds appealing to almost any nation. In reality, the European Union is keeping major powers like Germany, France, and the United Kingdom from engaging in war. One hundred years ago nobody would have imagined a world where these three powers would be unable to engage in war with one another. If the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, there is fear that it would cause other countries to follow suit, thus breaking up the EU. The EU has been a pinnacle of democracy since its formation, and the breaking up of the European Union would set democracy back. Not only would breaking up the EU affect these countries political relations, it would also harm them financially. The EU has helped many economies flourish, and they have grants they give to countries for things such as infrastructure. Although the United Kingdom is a world power, they are much stronger within the European Union, and they are not the undisputed global hegemonic power they once were.
The next photo in the top right hand corner shows the amounts of Eurosceptic seats within the European Parliament. The United Kingdom has a large amount of Eurosceptics, all within the UKIP. I was very surprised that about 40% of the seats held by Denmark consisted of Eurosceptics. France and Italy also have a large number of Eurosceptics, confirming that if the UK were to leave the EU, other countries such as Italy and France could follow suit.
The photo of the vandalized Greece banking sign has some truth behind it. Greece owes such a substantial about of money to Germany, due to loans, that Germany basically owns Greece. Since Germany has so much money invested in Greece, they look over Greece like a parent observes a small child. Greece’s economy is suffering from the austerity measures placed on them.
In the photo below the vandalized sign, we see the peaceful protests of austerity measures. The 2010 austerity measures are blamed for crashing Greece’s economy and making them unable to chip away at their massive debt. The government is forced to cut wages of the employees not already being laid off, and the lessening of income leads to recession in a country.
In the last photo in the bottom right hand corner, we see the violent protest that most likely became a riot in response to the austerity measures. There has been unrest in Greece in recent years, but this photograph complete with riot shields and fire in the background shows that this protest was especially bad. Greece is currently attempting to gain a six month extension from Germany, so they have more time to pay back their loans. If Germany decides to cash out the loan from Greece, the EURO could be wrecked. Or if Greece leaves the EU, they could face bankruptcy.
Reblogged this on Neverending Wanderlust and commented:
Popular opinion regarding the EU has changed quite a bit in the past 5-7 years. The global financial crisis, and especially the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis, caused massive economic problems across the EU, which caused financial hardships for many citizens. In the wake of these economic issues, the European Union bailed out some particularly troubled countries, like Greece. However, these bailouts required the countries to implement harsh austerity measures, which included raising taxes and decreasing government spending (which meant a decrease in services). Unsurprisingly, the austerity tactics proved extremely unpopular. No one wants to pay more in taxes in return for fewer government services.
The negative sentiment towards the EU has been by far the most visible in Greece. The Greek people have rioted and protested against the austerity measures imposed by the EU and the ECB. Because the ECB is so heavily influenced by the policies of the Bundesbank, much of the Greek anger has been expressed towards Germany, as well as the EU itself. After too many years of austerity, the Greek people recently took matters into their own hands and elected the far-left party Syriza into power. Syriza and the new Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras have promised to end the austerity measures in Greece and to renegotiate the unfavorable terms of the bailouts.
The backlash against austerity is not unique to Greece, however. In Spain, the left wing party Podemos (We can) has established similar goals as Syriza and has become the second-largest party in Spain in less than a year, behind only the center-right PP. Both Syriza and Podemos also share a soft eurosceptic ideology, and therefore are not included in the eurosceptic party seats chart.
Across the EU, negative feeling toward the Union has not come only from economic concerns. Many, especially in Western Europe, are more concerned with immigration into their countries, especially from the eastern parts of the EU, Turkey, and the Middle East. Some people believe that immigrants will never integrate into their new country’s society and will slowly destroy society itself. Many eurosceptic parties feed on this xenophobic fear of immigrants and have been quite successful. UKIP, for example, is both strongly anti-immigrant and eurosceptic. In the 2014 EP elections, UKIP won more votes than any other party in the UK; this was the first time in over a century that neither the Tories or Labour won the most votes in a nationwide election. Furthermore, UKIP won its first seat at Westminster late last year in a by-election.
It is interesting to note in the eurosceptic party seats chart that most of the strongly eurosceptic countries acceded to the EU prior to 2004. Of the 13 countries that have joined the EU since then, only three (Lithuania, Poland, and Hungary) elected any strong eurosceptics to the EP in 2014, and of those three, only one (Poland) elected more strong eurosceptics in 2014 than in 2009. The chart reveals that most of the new EU members are happier with the Union than the older members. The new members as a whole are poorer than the older ones, which means that they are getting more benefits from membership, while the older members are seeing their benefits decrease. Therefore, the older members are starting to question the value of being a member of the EU. Perhaps the EU is entering a new period of political eurosclerosis.
Immigration is certainly a highly contested topic within the European Union. Immigration is a part of the single market, which is such an important part of the European Union today. The picture in the top-left is just one example of propaganda used by eurosceptic groups to encourage a more homogenous society. It is interesting to see the UK Independence Party, the one responsible for the sign, is actually a legitimate group. Legitimate in the sense that they have acknowledged power in the European Parliament. Unlike the U.S.’s two party system, these European Parliamentary systems allow these otherwise minority groups to be represented. The statistics on the top-right give some insight into the power of eurosceptic groups. Almost doubling in seats since 2009, these groups appear to primarily come from the UK, France, and Italy. Considering Germany is such a major part of the EU it is surprising that there are not more eurosceptics in parliament considering the financial fiasco in Greece and how it affected Germany.
It is rather interesting to draw comparisons and see the contrasts between the U.S. and the EU. Some might argue that the EU is really the United States of Europe, but this will never happen. There are distinct differences which prevent Europe from mirroring the United States. In reference to the middle Bank of Berlin picture, the banking system in Europe is distinctly different. The U.S. operates under a national monetary union, but the EU operates as a multinational monetary union. Admittedly some may view the European Monetary Union as a national union, citing the ECB as a marker for national unity, but this ignores the fact that each state has different and even contrasting political goals and objectives. Because each state is a separate and distinct political unit, the economies of each state will freely follow different paths.
After a general election in late 2009, the Greek government announced a new budget which more than doubled Greece’s expected deficit to GDP ratio. This was devastating for the Euro. Greece is a problem for the EU because its government is a separate entity and is able to abuse the economic strength of other countries, for example Germany. The sovereign debt crisis only served to fuel eurosceptisim and spur debate on the integration happening between countries, not only economically but also physically. Although the UK is not in the eurozone, it undoubtedly feels the effects of migrant populations settling in its territory. Indeed, eurosceptics have grown substantially in terms of parliamentary power since 2009.
There will undoubtedly continue to be marches and riots as seen in the bottom two pictures for the foreseeable future. As the EU continues to grow and expand there will be even more conflict. Diversity is at the core of this conflict: diversity in economics, politics, and even cultural norms all serve to fuel conflict. Even Scotland seriously considered leaving the UK due to such differences. Turkey, of course, would dramatically change the composition of the EU and allow for a massive influx of new immigrants, similar to the Ten in 2004. One can only imagine how the eurosceptic parties in the UK would react if thousands of Turkish immigrants started moving in.
The first image is but one of many responses to the large waves of immigration into these states. It is sponsored by the UKIP party (UK independence party); a party that is for complete independence for the UK from the European Union. As seen in the next image the UKIP is a Eurosceptic party that won more seats the past year than it has since its’ formation. This shift in priorities could lead to further deterioration of the EU. It is very surprising as the Labour of Conservatives party has nearly always won the majority and to see a change in such policies is disconcerting. This party’s movement aspires to fully control its’ border and territory hopefully to prevent this “mass hysteria.” The UKIP believes leaving the European Union would allow Britain to regain lost rights and retain their sense of independence and nationalism. This was a surprising move to me as I cannot see how in a world this globalized and interconnected why a state would want to jeopardize something that important. Of course any state would desire full autonomy but after two world wars in a couple decades you would think that compromising something like the European Union would be far from enticing. The EU is still in its infant stages in comparison to states and nations that have lasted so long; and a system of mutually dependent states abiding by the same laws and beliefs was unthinkable before the wars. I can absolutely recognize the UKIP’s good intentions by leaving but the detachment form the EU would not only harm the balance of power within the EU but the political and economic structure would certainly be harmed. With economically and financially unstable regions within the EU, the UK’s departure would further this dissolution. The image with the police force in Greece is one of many showing the possible overstepping of police. Following the debt and financial crisis, people took to the streets as riots and protests took hold. There has been scrutiny on the policing tactics during these protests sparking human rights issues for citizens and immigrants. The vandalized sign is an example of Greek frustration with the financial crisis within Greece. The past decade we have seen Greece’s financial system crumble and the affects it has had on the citizen’s income and livelihood. As Greece tries to restructure its’ debt measures Germany recently declined the option for a six month extension. Of course the leaders of Greece wish to see an end to this destabilization but Germany is trying to maintain a precedent that has been set in the European Union. Whether or not Greece will gain the necessary tools to stabilize its’ economy is up to the state and the members of the European Union; the stabilization of one state is only beneficial to other members so it will be interesting to see how the fellow states react to this crisis.
The first image is a reflection of the upcoming UK independence party’s ideals that have been making waves recently. Essentially their ideals are UK first, nationalism, anti-immigration, and anti-European union. The image plays on the traditional fear of immigration in an effort to promote the political leverage of the independence party. The replacing of the word immigration with hysteria is meant to reinforce that message.
The 2nd image references Greece’s current economic crisis which we have touched on in class. The image shows a faded Bank of Greece sign with blood dripping down it and with the word Berlin overlaying Greece. This represent the massive economic trouble Greece is experiencing as well as how Germany has attempted to alleviate their problems with large government bailouts. Which have failed. We have also touched on this in class as well involving the upcoming deadline Greece has to pay back Germany or declare bankruptcy. This event is hugely important to our field of study for many reasons. The greatest being that if Greece does declare bankruptcy it can lead to Greece falling out of the European Union and setting a precedent for other countries in similar situations to follow.
The third image seems to relate to the Eurozone countries and their austerity measures. These austerity measures are essentially the imposed economic restrictions for the Eurozone countries in an effort to reduce their national debt. These measures were given by the European Union. The austerity measures have met mass criticism from Eurozone citizens who do not want smaller wages or higher taxes. Regardless of the need for some form of measures like these the general public fined them distasteful and have begun protesting in Eurozone countries. Political parties like the one in the image are also using these austerity measures as an argument for their candidacy of against others.
The third image is a graph showing the increase in Eurosceptic or anti-European union parties within the European Parliament. This directly relates to the theme of the other images in a loss of support for the EU. The graph shows that anti-EU sentiment has risen twofold within the last five years. Mostly in major countries such as France or the UK with the UK being the biggest change. Multiple minor countries have also risen in anti-EU sentiment. This all relays the growing dissatisfaction with the debt crisis as well as with the European Union as a ruling body. Whether this dissatisfaction will culminate in anything, such as a disassembling of the European Union, or not is speculative.
The final image is recognizable as law enforcement officials in riot gear presumably quelling a riot, obviously in Europe. While there is little context in the image judging by the theme of the previous images it is safe to assume that the riot relates to the Eurozone, the debt crisis, or the austerity measures. It is simply another example of the discontent in Europe over the economic problems or even about the seeming nationalist mania sweeping several countries.
The image at the top right shows that anti immigration ideas and Eurosceptic groups are rising in Europe. The UKIP or otherwise called the UK Independence Party put up this particular sign to show that they are anti-immigration and that perhaps the rising number of immigrants threatens the people that already live there. This group’s popularity shows that euroscepticism is rising in Europe. They believe that the EU is making them weaker. The graffiti on the sign that not everybody agrees with the UKIP. In fact, many think them to be racists and have ridiculous extreme conservative beliefs.
In the graph to the right it shows that Eurosceptic party seats are growing. This is definitely a dangerous trend considering how extreme some of these parties seem to get. Look at the United Kingdoms part of the graph to see the indication that these parties are growing. The UKIP controls 24 out of 73 seats. This is alarming because they are what many consider to be a racist group. The other large countries such as France and Italy have also seem rise to Eurosceptic groups. The smaller countries do not have as many. Hopefully it remains that way, because these groups could lead to xenophobic thinking and a population turned to hate against outsiders.
The graffiti sign covering the Bank of Greece shows the attitude that Germany has such high stakes in the Greek economy. Greece was hit very hard after the 2008 debt crisis. Germany helped them out but at a cost. They now have harsh austerity measures in place that the people feel are not helping them. The situation is only worse now, with the European Central Bank not accepting bonds from Greece in exchange for funding. Now, Greece has to deal with the problem through their central bank.
The Austerity Kills Dignity sign shows that within Greece, there is backlash against the austerity policies put on them. The people do not think it is fair. It is insulting what they think is their dignity, perhaps as Europeans. The people of Greece are getting desperate because the impact of spending cuts is crippling on the Greek people. Almost a million people have no access to healthcare, which is leading to more people being sick and more deaths. This will create an even bigger whiplash against the government. You can see the whiplash in the last picture at the bottom right. What might have started as peaceful protests is turning more violent. Evidence of this is the police in uniform with a riot shield with fire raging behind. Perhaps the protests can turn less violent if they have a leader that is more anti-austerity. This was actually seen recently when thousands gathered to show support in front of the Greek Parliament to show peaceful support for a new anti-austerity leader. Now if the Greek people feel like they have no power to change anything and don’t have leaders that have their interest in mind, there will be more violent protests. It has happened before, and it might happen again under certain, bad conditions.
– Tyler Arkes
The first picture depicts just how much of an issue immigration is becoming in Europe. It shows how divided the feelings are amongst the people and how much they disagree on the matter. The issue of immigration itself is because of where they are coming from – Africa. They only want British people in Europe, but to me and im sure to many other people this is racist. It is clear in the billboard that the people are saying they don’t want anymore mass immigration. They are saying that too many people have already immigrated into Europe and that no more should be able to come in.
The next photo shows the Bank of Greece sign crossed out with the letters ‘eec’ circled. I think this just goes back to how the Bank of Greece in a way diminished under the stress the European Bank put on them. In my opinion, the circling of the letters ‘eec’ shows that they believe the struggles they have go back the EEC or the European Economic Community that Greece joined in 1981.
The third photo shows people holding a sign that says “austerity kills dignity. Reclaim Europe!”. This sign shows that people obviously don’t agree with the policy of austerity within Europe. Within Greece specifically, austerity have cause many implications and much controversy. Greece is among the smaller countries and with the austerity policy it creates a negative impact of the possibility of Greece being able to grow. The bottom right photo ties into the anti-austerity issue as well showing pictures of police men with shields protecting them from the violence that was out breaking. These protests broke out in Athens where police had to throw out tear gas to try and stop the uproars and ultimately protect themselves and other people.
22 Feb. 2015
After considering these photos, it has come to my attention that the European Union is not as problem free as it can sometimes appear to be. All throughout the European Union, from some of the largest members like Germany and the UK, to smaller members like Greece, conflicts are breaking out, with people questioning whether the EU is as ideal as it first seemed to be. As shown in the upper right picture, this problem is only growing worse, with political ‘euro-skeptical’ parties such as the UK Independence Party gaining more seats in the European Parliament. While many countries are not contributing their seats towards anti EU views, only Belgium showed a decrease in the amount of seats for euro-skeptical parties.
According to the chart, the United Kingdom is currently home to one of the largest numbers of euro-skeptics currently holding representative seats in the European Parliament. In the 2014 parliamentary elections, the UK Independence Party gained almost 1/3 of the United Kingdom’s seats. Beyond that, in the upper left photo, a billboard for the UKIP is shown. In the billboard, propaganda for the party dictates that 5000 new people are settling every week, and that the people should say no to this mass immigration/hysteria. This propaganda appears to be working, as this party’s popularity only seems to be growing. Not only is this concerning for the United Kingdom’s future in the EU, but also for the UK’s future all together. All of this will make the upcoming elections in the UK interesting.
The final three photos that I have yet to discuss primarily concern another country currently facing a large euro-skeptical population: Greece. The problem’s facing the European Union in Greece, however are a bit different than those in the UK. Greece’s problems are more centered on the sovereign debt crisis that the country faced upon joining the Eurozone. In the middle left photo, there is a picture of the Bank of Greece, which has been defaced with graffiti to instead say ‘Bank of Berlin’. This hints to the austerity terms that the Greek government had to accept in order to obtain a bailout by the European Union. The EU financial ministers met in Berlin. The people resent these actions, as the budget cuts caused by the austerity terms are taking away many things such as welfare tax, cut wages and funds for education. Cuts like these primarily hurt the lower and middle classes. The lower left photo continues to establish the Greek public’s view on these actions by showing a crowd of people carrying a banner claiming that ‘Austerity kills Dignity’ and that they need to ‘Reclaim Europe!’ For many of these people, the European Union was supposed to better their lives but instead, it may seem to them that it is simply taking services away from them. Due to this, Greece currently has many working political parties that are anti EU, and these groups are continually getting large popular votes inside of Greece. The lower right photo once again establishes the inner turmoil within Greece. This photo displays many policemen trying to contain a situation, which has obviously gotten out of control. The policemen are trying to battle flames started by rioting civilians.
All in all, these views that a significant part of the population of Europe are obtaining are not going to go away on their own. Unless the EU does something to gain the European populations approval in these areas once more, this anti-EU outlook may continue to grow.
Blog post #2
The picture on the top left depicts British sentiment of independence. The image demonstrates the idea of separation from the European Union and striving more a more British society. The Britons who created the sign are upset with the growing level of immigration into their country. They are a nationalist group who is in favor of a more democratic Britain with more personal freedoms. To further their point of advertisement towards their views, someone vandalized the sign changing “immigration” to “hysteria.” This exemplifies the British nationalists’ perspective even more of their society and how they feel about their involvement in the European Union.
Below that image, the middle image on the left side is vandalism describing Greece’s economic crisis. The image demonstrates how Germany is the driving factor of the Greek economy. Greece is in debt to Germany on a major scale. Greece was supposed to have the money paid this past week but the European Union granted them a four-month extension to make the payment. Germany is one of the driving forces of the European Union’s economy. The image demonstrates how the model for the European Bank comes from the German bank. Without Germany, the European Union’s economy would not be nearly of that which it is today. Nevertheless, if Greece’s economy completely crashes and they are removed from the Euro, the scenario would not be good for any of the countries in the Euro zone. For the United States, the value of the dollar would increase but trade relations would become more difficult. I think the European Union made a smart move by allotting Greece an additional four months to repay the debt they owe. Hopefully this will be enough time for the nation-state to gain better economic stability.
The two images on the bottom exemplify the protests of the people from the conditions of the European Central Bank. The ECB has made Europeans lives difficult in trying to maintain the standard of those in the Euro zone. These measures are especially challenging to those in the Greek economic crisis. The protests are arguing that these measure of the ECB are ridiculous and too harsh.
The picture on the top right is a graph of number of seats in the European Parliament for each state in 2014. The image brings to life the growing number of those who are Eurosceptic throughout the European Union. This is important because the number has doubled since 2009. This graph demonstrates that euroscepticism exists within members of the European Parliament. Larger nation-states such as France, Italy, and the United Kingdom have more members skeptical of the European Union due to nationalism. There is less of a sense of skepticism in the smaller countries of the European Union because they rely more on the institution for survival and growth.
When looking at this collage, I think a lot about current trends in the European Union that perhaps wouldn’t have been expected 20 years ago. I see the picture mocking the Bank of Greece by calling it the Bank of Berlin and this matches a lot of the sentiments within the other pictures as well. The picture with “immigration” being crossed out and replaced by “hysteria”, is not a new thought found in Europe in dealing with the opening of the borders in the Schengen Agreement. The image saying, “Austerity Kills Dignity, Reclaim Europe!” is also a very powerful image in which the Member States all share different coping mechanisms and understandings on how to deal with the economic crisis.
The Greek government-debt crisis shook up a lot of the European countries believing in the European Central Bank and the monetary union that had been created in the early 90’s. A eurocentrism has not sprung from the global financial crisis of 2008, but it was definitely not helped by the events leading up to the burst and the bailouts given. Greek economy had a decade long pre-existence to overly high structural deficits and debt-to-GDEP levels on public accounts that weren’t seen until it was too late and high yielding countries, like Germany, had already invested a lot of money in the banks. In 2010, the Eurozone countries, mainly Germany, responded by launching a bailout loan to rescue Greece from sovereign default and cover its financial needs. Conditional on implementation of austerity measures, structural reforms and privatization of government assets. This has just been extended for another 4 months. German interpretation on how to deal with the debt crisis is fundamentally different than other countries and many issues have arisen on the strict austerity measures that Germany lives by but other countries find restrictive and depressing the economy even more. These are fundamental issues in the EU that are perhaps encouraging a more anti-European Union mentality, especially with the slow recovery of the weaker economic nations (Spain, Ireland, Portugal) and perhaps a wasting of resources for the good of the name of the European Union.
Also seen in these images, as stated briefly in the first paragraph, is the integration of Europe being a major topic. European integration is large and ever expanding topic in the past 10 years that also is perhaps very different than one would expect if asked 20 years ago. The integration of Europe is one of the founding principles of the EU and the “four freedoms” established that free movement of social, cultural, industrial, political, legal and economic entities. This has been seen as the single greatest economic move by the EU to create a border free region and alleviating regulations that inhibited trade and movement of people. With this being said, it has recently been met by some euro sceptics who find it hard to see the benefit in weaker nations benefiting from larger nations (such as Greece from Germany). The social and political integration of the EU is quite different from the economic integration. Yet, the integration may reach major conflicts soon with national sovereignty and cultural identity being brought more into the media by euro sceptics.
All these ideas being recently seen in the media and even seen in the new arrangement of political parties in recent elections to European Parliament are rather shocking, since most of these measures found at fault are the core doctrines of the EU. It will be interesting to follow this in the years following and the very-real idea that perhaps countries would choose to leave the EU and lead to the eventual dissolve of not only the ideals but the union itself in due time.
We’ve been discussing what it means for Europe to become a super-state with the integration of the European Union as a government body. One of the things that require change with this integration is the idea that individual country’s culture should mold together in order to become “European” rather than “British” or “Czech.” While many can agree that the European Union has provided great things for Europe overall, many remain nationalist, and often times nationalist can be taken the extremes. Many nationalists (as is the case with the US as well) worry that immigration as a result of open borders will ruin a country’s culture. The first image on the top left seems to imply this idea. Often times when immigrants arrive in a new country, there is a learning period. However, one could understand the worry that if mass immigration is occurring, the resident culture becomes overwhelmed, and chaos, or “hysteria” ensues. With this chaos could potentially come societal and cultural break down, and this is, although admittedly extreme, the understandable worry of those that fear integration as “Europeans.”
Those that fear this integration, or more specifically the increasing powers of the European Union, are called Euroskeptics. The image on the top right indicates the number of seats within the Parliament of the European Union that are filled with Euroskeptics by country. The graph reveals that those with the largest number of Euroskeptic seats are those with seemingly the most power, which could, in time, be detrimental to the progress of the European Union. Some view the Euroskeptics as extremists who cannot handle inevitable change. The image on the bottom left where a banner is shown saying “Austerity Kills Dignity. Reclaim Europe!” This assumes that Euroskeptics are severe in their attitudes, and as a result, Euroskeptics are holding back Europe, not just the European Union. Others view the Euroskeptics as not trying to keep the European Union from doing their job, but rather keeping the European Union from becoming too powerful. The bottom of the graph (top right) indicates that the number of Euroskeptics is increasing. I would like to hope that the Parliament of the European Union elections check party seats as in the United States. Typically when one party is not being favored, it swings to the other, and as a result with each election, it seems to be a constant pendulum. This is, of course, me applying my own world view to something I have limited knowledge on.
The last two pictures (middle left and bottom right) are in response to the Greek Government Debt Crisis. This was not only a financial crisis that effected the rest of the Europe, but became a crisis in confidence as well. The Greek government was withholding their financial information from not only the European Union, but the Greek public. This led to riots that were countered by Greek Police (bottom right). Although the Greek Debt Crisis is being attended to now, they still have much to correct. The image in the middle left, is in reference to Germany helping Greece with bailouts. As with any bailouts, there are going to be those that oppose it, and think that Greece should figure it out themselves. This crisis gave Euroskeptics more fire for their hearth, and may have been partial reason for the increase of Euroskeptic seats in the parliamentary elections of 2014.
Derek Kiyoshi Randolph Fukumoto
European Studies 4003
Blog Assignment #2
In essence the underlying theme regarding this collection of pictures curtails to the notion of euroscepticism. In exploring this theme it is essential to consider the historical importance of the controversial themes in regards with membership to the European Union; fear of losing domestic sovereignty –politically and economically– xenophobia and the fears of foreigners, and finally the perceived negatives effects of being a member. In light of these photos it is easy to have worry for the future of the EU, whereas in reality these challenges are decades old and the only real anomaly is how to fix the Greek economy, whilst being bounded to the euro.
Put shortly eurosceptics are those simply sceptic of the purpose of the European Union. Sceptics hold a general belief that their own sovereign countries would benefit further functioning outside of a bounding union. This belief is widespread and easy to buy into but upon further analysis of the data, the EU has been essential to strengthening the connections between European nations. The primary reason why it is easy to buy into these claims is simple and indicative of human action; humans are generally pessimistic and fear change. Pessimism in a political arena generally cites that things always ‘could be better.’ To give this an understandable reference in American culture, there has never been a long lasting detrimental effect on the economy directly related to immigration. Today we are afraid of Mexicans and hispanics, yesterday it was Jews and Asians, and before that Germans, and way before that Chinese. What is important in this discussion, that even as centrally a political realist, I personally understand from the data that there is nothing to be feared from immigration or even potentially mass immigration, but it still can make me uncomfortable.
Much of this lack of empathy and fear that I and others fear, is largely due to our own western enculturation. In general those in the west have been born with privilege far less common to the human population at large. Coming from a middle class family I feel entitled that my own family worked diligently, and that is why I deserve to study on the university. Sure my family has worked hard, but shouldn’t others also be given a mere opportunity to also pursue a better life for themselves and their family, whether in the US or the EU?
Pessimism is also crucial to understanding the eurosceptics, and their central fear of immigration. Speaking on a personal level, I understand the actual benefits and realizations of immigration, yet I am still hesitant, and empathizing with EU member states. I probably would side with sceptics that open borders are scary. Furthermore the more individually successful one’s own state is, the more likely they are to harbour this fear, and lean towards a feeling that they specifically deserve their own perceived economic status. This question becomes more complicated in the European realm, because of the hefty economic burden of the poor on domestic institutions. Americans truly cannot perceive a healthcare system where sick people receive help, but by and large in Europe, regardless of your tax bracket you are entitled to treatment.
These types of social programs are obviously progressive, and from a moral standpoint the clear winner. Beyond this notion is the intragovernmental aspect of similar themes. The biggest problem at the moment is obviously the euro and the new leftist Syriza party in Greece. Under the new left, a promise has been made to the constituents of Greece to end austerity measures, and renegotiate terms of the nation’s outstanding debt. The euro is now been in circulation for a mere 13 years but the successes of the euro date back much further, and no doubt, the euro will bounce back.
To understand the specific Greek context is difficult, largely because the their past is muddied with fake numbers ranging from their sovereign debt, to their average economic growth. Nearly all measures and indices used to grant euro membership were exaggerated and so when the market fell in 2008, it fell particularly hard in Greece. The story becomes more complicated because within their bailouts packages, a strange sort of remedy was also prescribed: austerity. Throughout the 20th century and beyond it is easy to qualitatively observe that austerity measures may work for microeconomics but never macro. This is what is making it so difficult to work through the Greek conflict. On the one hand, if they are relinquished from the euro (and the EU), Greece would quite literally become a failed state overnight. The people are agitated because unemployment is high, and particularly dangerous it is high even for the educated population. This historically leads to two equally devastating outcomes, brain drain, and revolution. It is obviously in no one’s best interest to let Greece fail, but this only leads to one other option, another bailout. This has not been a popular discussion by the EU or worldwide media, because nobody wants to pay more money (especially Angie). Unfortunately I am firmly of the belief that to some effect, a major package will be delivered to the Greeks through creative means of restructuring and project implementation.
Although I cannot predict the future, the European Union is soon to be backed into a corner and 70 years of hard-work will soon come to trial. Starting in May with the English elections and as a solution to the Greek problem emerges. General unrest will increase as the Euro continues to fall, and eurosceptics increase their power. All we can hope for on this side of the Atlantic, is that the uneducated, young-adult, xenophobic population continues their normative trend of not turning out to the polling stations.
I think that one thing that all these images have in common is that people are losing faith in the European Union. It seems like all of the larger and major countries of the European Union are unhappy with the continued growth with the smaller countries because not only does this take away some of their impact on voting, but also money. All these images portray the European Union being threatened, because it seems that right now a lot of people have different views about if the European Union is doing positive or negative things for the individual countries.
According to the top left picture it seems as if some don’t think that this is positive at all. They are unhappy with the immigration laws. This image shows that they want tighter immigration laws. According to the billboard that is shown they think that too many people have already entered the country (mostly from Africa) and that they don’t want any more. The UKIP wants make the immigrants pay for their own private health insurance, housing and education for at least five years before being able to use the public health benefits. They also are only wanting to let certain people in to better and benefit the nation, I think that this is wrong and not how you should pick how to let people in a country, I’m going to guess that I’m not the only one who feels this way.
The photo that says “The Bank of ‘Berlin’” is showing that it is clearly a large problem that Greece owes Germany that much money. Germany practically owns Greece because of all the loans they have given them. Greece’s financial crisis really went downhill when in 2008 the banks called in their debts and Greece was unable to pay back what they owed. The Eurozone had to bail out struggling countries like Greece otherwise they faced the possibly of the Euro being depreciated. Greece’s government had to lay some people off and cut wages, this caused protests. The austerity measures are what was blamed for Greece’s economy to crash.
The graph shows the increase in euroseptic within the European Union. This surprised me that they amount was so large. Within the last five years the number in parliament has gone up quite a bit, mostly in major countries in France and the United Kingdom. This just clarifies that the faith in the European Union is declining. I think that this is a little unfair because sometimes I think that the European Union gets blamed for some things that isn’t their fault.
A protest or riot is shown in the bottom right picture, it is of the police having to use intense measures to stop the citizens. I don’t think that this will be the last of the riots either. In the picture across from it it seems like this is a peaceful protest to try to stop the immigration. But I see more of this in the future as the European Union grows.
The common factor between all of these image here is that they represent issues which are currently dividing the European Union, and present difficult challenges to overcome. In particular this set of images focus on three key issues in Europe, one being the Economic crisis currently revolving around Greece, secondly the current debates over immigration, and lastly an uptick in Eurosceptic groups within many countries. All of these current issues plague the continued growth of the European Union as well as prevent the acquiescence of Turkey into the community. While Turkey faces many issues to their entry into the Union these each represent current internal issues of the European Union itself which would prevent Turkey do to largely no fault of their own.
To begin with the European Union currently is in deep debate over the handling of immigration both between member states and from nations outside of the EU. Dealing externally many nations are concerned with the flow of illegal immigrant into their countries often coming from the south and east of Europe. This issue currently has the most direct link to Turkey itself as there have been several cases of boats carrying such immigrants departing from Turkey and attempting to make their way into Europe. Internally the EU is currently dealing with a growing mentality that the migrations of Europeans throughout different member states is somehow harming the economic and social fortunes of these separate nations. Some people throughout Europe, many tied to the Eurosceptic movement would like to see an end to such movements, and may see the entry of Turkey as opposite this goal given that many migrants to Europe already originate from Turkey.
As represented in the top right hand picture there is a growing movement of skepticism about the European Union throughout its member states. Many of these Eurosceptic parties would like to see their respective countries removed from the EU as well as weaken the European Union in order the re-establish some of the sovereignty of their state. With this mentality it is unlikely to that Turkey would be able to garner any favor with these people seeing as how adding another large state to the European Union is more likely to strengthen it. Consequentially these Eurosceptic parties continue to be fueled by economic concerns in Europe.
The European Union is still facing the economic recession which began in 2008 but continues to plague the entirety of the Union. Currently the Union faces a rift between the states who suffered relatively little and those worst hit by the economic downturn such as Greece. The worst hit state continue to require efforts to improve their economic standing, and in turn boost the economy of the entire Union. Furthermore there seems to be an argument within the policy thought on what the best way for the entire European Union to fix the collective problems it faces as a unified economic unit. In the terms of Turkey’s chance of joining the Union, it would be understandable that many who would generally support such a move would remain cautious of upsetting the economy and therefore desire to hold off on such an action.
Blog Assignment 2
Overall, these photos represent a hostility that is occurring in member states of the European Union. More specifically, the photos focus on Britain and Greece. The top left photo represents the immigration influx Britain is facing. Britain is experiencing racial intolerance toward migrants and the possibility of leaving the European Union. Based on Britain’s past, the increase in opposition of immigration is no surprise. Britain is an island state and has always appreciated its isolation from Europe. When asked to join the European Coal and Steel Community, Britain declined their invitation. When Britain saw the post-war benefits France and Germany were receiving from the organization, she then decided it was time to join the EEC. To be part of the European Union, a member state must be willing to give up a certain amount of sovereignty to the organization. Britain had always given the orders, not taken them so this requirement has created conflicts between Britain and the European Union. The immigration issue as arose as the European Union forcefully opened up Britain to the European Continent in an attempt to boost economic activity. People, goods, and services were now free to move between boarders. To try to put a stop to the movement, the UKIP Party has gained 11 seats in Parliament. The group is known for its nationalist, anti-immigration legislation and will vote against matters catering to the idea of a united Europe. The goal of the European Union has been to create prosperity, political and financial relations, and amity between all European countries and with countries like Britain, who are Euroskeptic, the decline of the European Union will be inevitable. A possible solution to prevent the fall of the European Union would allow for countries like Britain, to terminate their memberships. Britain is set to have an in/out referendum on British membership of the European Union in 2017, following renegotiations with the European Union. If the referendum occurs with “out” being the majority, Britain will be the first country to leave the European Union.
The graphitized “State of Bank of Greece” sign showcases the economic hostility that Greece is currently facing. The 2008-2009 world recession his Greece the hardest out of all the European countries and has struggled to regain their economy. Greece is marked-out and replaced with Berlin to elaborate how Germany controls their economy since they have provided most of the bailout money for Greece. Having the Germans closely monitor Greece’s activities has caused tension and rebellion. Greece is approaching the end of its bailout funds and is trying to convince Eurozone Leaders why it needs a bailout extension. As of the moment, no one is buying into their need of an extension. Greece unveiled an outline summary of reforms that involves combating tax evasion and fuel and tobacco smuggling. Eurozone leaders are hoping to reach a compromise with Greece, so that the country does not leave the euro.
Not all EU members’ state agree on every law and actions taken by the EU. These pictures depict some of examples of laws or regulations of the EU that have caused a lot of hostility with certain member states. The biggest problem member states right now are Britain and Greece, where these pictures take place. In this first picture we see a billboard that supports getting rid of immigration. Great Britain has been against immigration for years. They have always felt superior to other European states. Their empire ruled the world for hundreds of years and they were a major world power. It makes sense as to why they have such an issue with immigration. This is one of their reasons for wanting to pull out of the EU all together. While being a member state you must allow immigration. Britain has always had issues abiding by all EU laws. They have opt outs for many laws and are also not a part of the euro. They also would only join if all other their conditions were met which has never been the case with another other member state. Britain has been fighting EU laws and regulations since the very beginning.
The second picture shows the number of party seats each country gets. This is extremely important because these member seats determine what a law becomes and what doesn’t. Countries with a larger population get more seats than those with a smaller population. Because of this, countries with larger populations have a huge effect on what becomes an EU law or regulation and what doesn’t. This gives a great deal of power to larger countries but can also cause a lot of disputes about laws and such.
The middle picture shows a vandalized sign for the Bank of Greece. Right now Greece is suffering from extreme financially problems. After the 2008 recession the EU had to bailout Greece to prevent defaults. Greece’s debt as always been significantly higher than the rest of the Eurozone and that is one of the reasons they got hit so hard by the 08 recession. The bottom left picture is also about Greeks financial situation. Austerity is making a balanced budget which is almost impossible. However, it is one of the criteria for being a part of the euro (though very few countries are actually able to follow it). Austerity measure were greatly enforced by May 2010 as a way to help Greece get back up on its feet and also to help repay bailout funds. However, Greece was fed up with austerity and still it. It has led to a stagnate economy that only hurts Greece and the EU. Greece wants to pull out of the euro but this would lead to them being a failed state. They would need to revive their old currency but even once they did this, their currency would be worthless. The bottom left picture also depicts violence in Greece. The aetynomia police are the national police force of Greece.
Blog Assignment #2
Starting off the picture in the top left corner brings to light that there are still many issues with immigration, due to the graffiti it is obvious people do not like it. There are a number of reasons for these issues, but nothing appears to be changing quickly, so why does there have to be so much hate. I suppose it’s an issue that needs to be looked at from both sides, for those already living there having to deal with immigrants. As well as from the side of the immigrants, having to most likely leave there homeland to find a better life. This makes it seem as though not everyone is for a unified Europe, which is where Euroscepticism comes into play. This brings us to our next picture in the top right, showing us a number of Eurosceptic parties that have won seats in parliament. The UK, Italy, and France have the leading party numbers, with Germany coming next, the question here is to figure out what is been done wrong, at least in their minds, to figure out solutions. The next picture, the 2nd one down on the left, seems like a simple picture, but shows a harsh reality. Formerly “Bank of Greece” but obviously out of operation and weathered down, with written over “Bank of Berlin”, showing who is in control now. This also hits on Greece’s current economic standings, as they have been not doing well the past few years. There are a lot of countries that struggle throughout the EU from time to time, and it needs to be everyone coming to the rescue, if each country can do their part to help, Europe will become much more unified quicker. Up next is the bottom left picture, with the headline “Austerity kills Dignity: Reclaim Europe!” showing us that many are still unhappy with the direction the EU is heading, feeling as though the path they are on is stripping them of their image. People are not happy with the current state, but with a governing body of such magnitude as the EU, it is hard to please everyone. This is why there has to be common grounds that are met, as to not infringe to far on people’s rights and what they are owed. The “Reclaim Europe” part really gets me though, it’s as if they completely believe that Europe is in some sort of downward spiral and there is no help, reclaiming Europe would mean outing everyone in power and having a whole new upbringing. Something that doesn’t seem logical, I’m sure there are individuals that shouldn’t have such power, but to take everyone out would not seem right. As for the last picture, it seems to be representing a riot squad either under attack, or defending something of importance. Either way it doesn’t look like they started the fire. There could be many reasons for the riot, but with the pictures thus far it seems we have to link it to the current state of the EU for some countries, and their protest about it. This isn’t the way to go about it though, the police man are forced to protect the government, and the people target them even though they have no say.
Blog Post 2
The images in this series highlight the main challenges threatening the stability of the European Union today. The EU has been growing larger and larger, and has taken on more and more responsibilities in the past few decades. Two of the greatest advances it has made for Europe are the Euro, a single currency used by all members of the Eurozone, and the implementation of the Schengen Agreement, allowing for the free movement of people between the borders of EU member nations. Unfortunately, though both of these have had great benefits for the EU, they have caused some unforeseen problems that these images capture.
The first image that catches the eye is the photograph of Greek riot police standing in front of a large fire. Violence and civil unrest has been troubling Greece since the year 2008, when the sovereign debt crisis ravaged economies all over the world. Nations with previously struggling currencies such as Greece and Spain suddenly had access to the powerful and stable Euro, and the credit rating benefits that came with it. The governments of these countries now were able to borrow amounts of money they could not have imagined before, and of course took advantage of these new opportunities. When the real estate market crashed and brought down the banks, these countries were hit harder than all the others were. The EU bailed them out, but imposed austerity measures to keep the Euro stable. This is when tensions that threaten European unity began to rise. The photo of the police displays how bad the riots could get, along with widespread looting and anarchy throughout Greece. Another photo shows a defaced wall that used to say “Bank of Greece,” but was changed to “Bank of Berlin.” Greeks’ perception of the EU is tense, and movements have begun towards abandoning the Euro and going back to the old Greek drachma. The photograph of a protest with the sign proclaiming “Austerity kills dignity!” highlights these movements, pulling away from the EU.
Social issues are also testing the strength of EU bonds, particularly immigration. Especially in the United Kingdom, which has always had a tenuous status within the EU, immigration issues are being used as a cause to rally behind for nationalist, Eurosceptic political parties such as UKIP. The image in the top left shows a UKIP political advertisement attempting to play on the fear and negative stigma historically attached to immigrants, in order to gain more public support for leaving the EU. How much of a threat are these Eurosceptic parties to European unity? They occupy a substantial minority of European Members of Parliament positions in the UK, Italy, and France – and they have all gained most of their power since just 2009. This shows a recent and sudden movement away from the EU, interestingly coming from some of the largest and oldest powers in the EU.
The EU is not going to fall apart. It has come too far and made too much progress for that. However, it will have to content with substantial internal opposition in the near future, and continue to pursue projects that maintain European unity.
Looking at all of the images, they really represent the troubles of unity that Europe was facing all around. The public expressed their opinions on the issues reflecting the drastic change in party seats as such. With euroscepticism growing France, Italy and the United Kingdom held these seats in numbers of more that 30 percent. With these growing seats in the European Parliament, more money is directed toward poorer countries.
The photo at the top left shows a vandalized sign discouraging immigration. Along with the mass immigration, there has come mass hysteria—creating a very unsettling movement from people in the Eureopean Union. With this come all of the issues of the possibilities of creating independence from the European Inion, and the unraveling of issues following. It’s interesting to see the reflection in history between immigration in the United States and the immigration in the European union, and the resistance towards each. Although, pictures such as the bottom right show just how violent European protests have gotten. While the US has definitely had its violent protests, ones in the European Union are different. The picture at the bottom rights shows a violent protest in which police ended up firing tear gas at protestors during a 24-hour strike. This picture is a perfect example of the unrest that has come about at just how bad protests have come to be.
The financial crisis can be portrayed in the left middle picture. Germany for example has rejected a six-month extension on a Greece loan package, which could ultimately lead the devaluation of the Euro for many European members.
– Jessica Cadle
Blog Post #2
As a collection these images represent general economic and political unrest throughout Europe, but primarily related to the relationship between Greece and the rest of Europe. Of the multiple European sovereign debt crises Greece was hit a great deal due to decreased confidence in its government’s ability to repay debts. Because the ECB is modeled after a German banking system measures of austerity (whose side-effects included increased unemployment and homelessness in Greece) one can naturally understand why a Greek citizen may be compelled to riot. These pictures exemplify what the first labels “hysteria”: that with economic uncertainty the intuitive entity to blame is the supranational, the E.U. With €110 billion of debt and an international depression surely Greeks began to question the wisdom of E.U. membership.
The first picture is a reaction to the following; xenophobia springing up throughout Europe is reminiscent of more harrowing movements. Graffiti made with the change of only one word exemplifies the political discussion occurring following the debt crises. Immigrants may begin to be viewed as infiltrators rather than fellow citizens, and nationals could start to question their true loyalties. This constant conflict between the member-states of the E.U. is apparent in the following image. Germany’s dominance of the European Parliament could be an excellent propaganda tool in arguing that membership of the E.U. is merely submission to a more powerful state. A citizen of Slovenia, a country holding only 8 seats, may view Germany’s collection of 96 seats as a threat rather than a proper appropriation.
The combination of a fear of large, powerful states and ever-increasing economic debt leads one to question the true controller of the European market. Graffiti again appears in the third image with a vandal arguing that the Bank of Greece actually lies in the hands of Berlin. A crosshair centered on Greece exemplifies the resentment held by some Greeks towards Germany; comparative German economic dominance throughout Europe and effective German control of aid packages given to Greece during the debt crisis could very well enrage some Greeks. The juxtaposition of this image below the first arguing for a calm reaction to globalization is humorous to say the least.
Two final images represent the more extreme hostility to the aforementioned conflict. Austerity referred to in the penultimate picture is the group of measures enforced by the European Union as a caveat of the aid packages given to Greece and other European nations involved in similar debt crises. Due to some austerity measures (such as restriction of where aid can be applied) some economists such as Joseph Stiglitz have argued that unemployment has actually been worsened as a result of aid packages. Citizens of indebted states may see aid packages with austerity requirements as insulting, and then would naturally turn to protests or even violent riots such as the one seen in the last image. The Hellenic Police may in fact be conflicted themselves; I find it interesting that national police were required to stop hostilities towards the European Union. Surely as Greece and other similarly affected European nations continue to climb out of debt this kind of violence will cease. This kind of hostility cannot continue indefinitely.
EUST Blog Post #2
The images displayed represent the reality of disparity in searching for unity. The European Union is ultimately an organization whose aim is to bring the countries of Europe under economic and political solidarity. The images we see here represent the tension which remains between European member states. These photos primarily represent Greece and Britain, however they represent issues which have affected other member states as well. The image in the top left was sponsored by the UKIP who wish to keep immigrants out and maintain a strong British identity. This reflects a strong sense of national pride and identity. On the other had this image also displays the views of those who are more in support of supranational unity. These supporters feel that xenophobia and racism result in hysteria not national strength. One can conclude that rising senses of nationalism does not bode well for the EU. Eurosceptics have been a rising force in recent years. The second image shows that Eurosceptics have been gaining more seats in the European Parliament. In fact they have nearly doubled their number of seats since their 56 in 2009. The growing force of nationalism has been a trying for Eurocentric supporters. We have been discussing the increasing desire within Europe to protect what is means to be “French” or “German” instead of European. Crises such as the sovereign debt crisis of 2008 have rattled people’s belief in the abilities of the EU. The remaining three images display the increasing gap between Greece (and other countries who were hit hard by the crisis) and the larger nationals who were able to recover relatively quickly. The image which has the “bank of Greece” marked out to “bank of Berlin” represents this kind of tension. The ECB was modeled after the Bundesbank in Germany which was viewed as one of the strongest banking systems in Europe. During the economic crisis of 2008 some countries such as Greece were floundering and Germany aided them. The bottom two images reflect the turmoil which the economic crises brought about as well as the disparity between states such as Greece and larger nations. The Greek police were managing riots and mass chaos as can be seen from the bottom right image. Nevertheless Greece felt some solidarity with other nations such as Spain whom the EU also helped to bail out. We can see this from the bottom left picture as they unite against the strict austerity regulations that were likely forced upon them from other member states. “Austerity kills dignity” reflects how Greece and Spain were feeling like unimportant members of the EU who were not respected by the other nations. Ultimately these images show growing disparity within the EU which does not bode well for future progress.
These images epitomize the struggle in Europe currently to establish a true sense of European unity, and the amount of “euroscepticism” present throughout the EU today. Although the European Union’s overall purpose is to bring cohesion across Europe in terms of politics and economics, these pictures help to show a lack of true unity amongst the countries. Eurosceptics are a major reason for this in that they vehemently oppose further integration amongst European countries because they argue that unity weakens individual nations.
Greece and the UK are primarily focused on in these images to illustrate the problem; however it is clear with the graph that this problem is experienced in other areas across Europe. In the first image, we see a billboard promoted by UKIP who are located in Britain and wish to keep immigrants out to help keep a true British identity. On the billboard, we see an anti-immigration statement which has been vandalized by individuals oppose to UKIP. Ironically, the vandalism reads more powerful than the intended message and asks the reader of the sign to not become hysteric about mass immigration. In this way, the billboard helps to show the struggle in Britain on the issue of immigration. UKIP clearly wishes to keep immigrants out to “preserve” a British national identity while the vandals of the sign evidently believe that this view is racist and only leads to hysteria. For this reason, the sign symbolizes excellently the trouble to create a single “European” identity because certain groups do not want to give up their own national identity for the good of the supranational identity. The graph accompanies the first image well in that it provides data showing the rise of Eurosceptics in the EU. This rise in Eurosceptics is the greatest single piece of evidence that the sense of a single European identity is becoming less unlikely.
The bottom three images help to reinforce the problems with European identity and unity in completely different ways. The picture of the Bank of Greece vandalized to say “Bank of Berlin” instead suggests the problem with interconnection of governments experienced by Greece. Greece struggled economically in 2008 and many banks (such as the one pictured) failed. Germany attempted to help bail out Greece, but as such had a great hold on their economy. Although this is seen by the outside world as a good thing, the vandalism clearly shows hostility towards this help. It would seem that Greece believe the EU failed them, and as such they would like to get out of the problem themselves which is the opposite of unity.
The bottom left image works well with the vandalized bank in that it shows crowds of people upset at the EU regulations. These people want to get out of the economic crisis without outside help. They describe the austerity regulations as taking away their dignity. In this way, they clearly associate dignity with their own country, not with the EU as a whole. They believe they are the ones being disgraced by the economic problem and as such want to get out of the problem individually. The last image simply shows the end product of a society upset with the situation they are in. Because countries like Greece see themselves as individual and separate from other countries, they began to feel a sense of nationalism which can eventually lead to violence. The Greek police therefore had to deal with rioters because these people saw themselves as distant from the EU. These pictures help to show the lack of a true “European” identity with which unity can come from. Countries still perceive themselves as separate from the EU and as such a rise in Euroscepticism has occurred and will continue to occur unless the perception of the EU changes.
Blog Assignment 2
These photos are one of the main problem the EU is face with in today’s world. The EU started because the fact that countries were tired of having wars and not having any power to change things. When countries got together to make sure Europe did not fall to a third straight world war. This was the first time Europe came together to make sure it did not get into more trouble. Once other countries started to realize there was strength in number more countries wanted to join. The EU started growing and realizing it need rules to get into the EU. They came up with the standers the other countries had to meet. Now the trouble the EU is running into is the fact that countries are starting to become close to joining that are not mostly white Christian populations. This is made worse because the world is fight extremist groups like ISIS. There are people inside the EU that are Muslims and consider themselves to be Europeans. When the conservatives inside the EU want to keep it a purely white Christian club. Now the EU has to see if they still want to add countries that don’t look like them. It will be a really hard call and mostly likely countries and the EU will be spilt about what they think is right. It is a problem that the USA had at one point and still has today. The USA is considered a melting pot of people because we pride ourselves on letting people have a piece of the American dream. People inside the US still don’t feel part of the US because of their skin color or religion. The EU will have to decide if it wants to become a melting pot or stay the way they are. The main reason I think people have a problem with adding countries that are not Christians is because the countries are Muslim based countries. The world does not have a positive vibe on the Muslim countries because of the groups like ISIS. These group make people think they are Muslim when they are not. Muslims don’t not all want to be terrorist, and all terrorist are not Muslim. The terrorist hide behind the name Muslims because it has a better sound that terrorist. The fact they world has such a bad view on Muslim nation I will never see Turkey getting in until the world view of Muslims changes. The EU will have to decide if it wants to keep growing and proving that it is a world power, that is peace and diverse or if it just wants to stop growing and become known as a white Christian club.
The images together tells a story of some of the challenges that are facing a united and collective European Union today. In the top left picture we see a billboard from the United Kingdom Independence Party. And simply from the name of their party we already know that they don’t support the EU at all, that rather they support a UK where there is no involvement in the European community. Obviously the EU in itself promotes immigration amongst its member countries, and here UKIP is discouraging such immigration, giving the hint that there are those in the UK who are xenophobic, are maybe just trying to keep foreigners out of the country. It is funny that someone crossed out immigration on the billboard and replaced it with hysteria. Obviously, there is a large audience of people in the UK whose ideologies don’t align with UKIP, but it seems that whoever did this thinks that immigration is fine and that it is on the brink of craziness to be so uptight about an issue such as immigration. UKIP is also known as a party that represents euro skepticism, in other words, those who don’t believe in the system of the European Union. If you look at the next picture to the right, where it shows the amount of Eurosceptic party seats in the EU in the last 5 years, one can see that the amount of seats from 2009 has increased 100%. This is an alarmingly high number for representatives on the EU who are supposed to be working towards bettering the EU, when their ideology is that of the opposition. So it is very counterintuitive, these Eurosceptic parties, but what else can you expect when the EU runs into failures or continues to evade success? There will always be skeptics of any system, it is just important that this number is kept at bay over the next couple of years, or the EU will be torn apart inside out. The gains made in establishing a super national political entity would be forgotten, all for not. Britain is a major component of the EU, and if it were to leave, many others would most likely follow suit. This is reinforced also by looking at the picture on the top right, because it shows us how many of these skeptics there really are, and some happen to be present within countries that are major players within the EU. The next picture is the picture of the Bank of Greece sign replaced by the Bank of Berlin. I mean, this goes back to the root of one of the biggest arguments that arises when talking about anti-European Union lingo. And by that I mean that in a Union such as the EU, there will always be weak players, and there will always be strong players. And as the saying goes, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. And in this case, the weakest link is Greece, and they are continuously having to be bailed out by the Germans to keep their economy afloat. Greece is having to follow heavy economic regulations as a result of joining the EU, but these aren’t seeming to help much, and the Germans are having to keep giving them money to try and heal the wound that is Greece’s economy. In the next picture, we see protestors protesting the aforementioned austerity measures that were placed on Greece. The collapse of the Greek economy is directly tied to these measures, and people are not happy, obviously. The people of Greece will continue to riot and protest these measures as a result of their aching economy. In the bottom right picture, we see soldiers with riot shields and fire in the background. Obviously, the state of affairs in Greece is not improving, because they have moved on to a more violent approach to speak their mind. All of these pictures represent what the EU needs to resolve moving ahead. If many of these issues aren’t addressed and dealt with, the EU as a whole may be just a ticking time bomb, waiting to go off. I think the biggest thing was the recession of 2008, and as the EU economies recover and bounce back, a lot of these issues will be resolved, and people will start to remember why the EU is a good thing and not bad.
The first two pictures refer to the Eurosceptic within the EU. The first picture shows an advertisement from the UK independency party. In many EU countries there is a fear of immigration. This topic gets especially pushed by the Eurosceptic parties. They propagate that mass migration is possible because of the EU and probably create this fear and hysteria. It feels like the populist parties are raising in Europe. And they all have two main topics: anti-migration and anti-EU. The second picture show a rise of the eurosceptical parties in the European parliament. In total the seats of the eurosceptical parties doubled in from 2009 to 2014. In the 2014 elections France and the UK had the biggest number of eurosceptical parties.
When you look at all the countries, it is interesting that countries, which are already longer members of the EU are more likely to have more seats with eurosceptical parties than countries which joined in the last 10 years.
The other three pictures are dealing with the crisis in Greece. Mismanagement that lasted for years led to national bankruptcy. The picture that says Bank of Greece and had Greece crossed out and replaced with Berlin refers to the relationship between Germany and Greece. As Germany paid the greatest part of the rescue fund for Greece.
I think one big problem within the EU is that they have a common currency, but no common financial politic. I know that this topic is also hard to find a common ground, similar to migration, but this disagreement led to the current situation. I think there should be at least a stricter monitoring system between the countries, if everybody is doing the things they are supposed to do.
The two pictures in the bottom show the consequences auf the austerity. To get the financial aid Greece had to agree on drastic austerity measures which drastically cut down public spending, which really hit poorer people and the middle class. So many people are going on the street and demonstrate. The austerity measures prevent the state from spending, but a state has to spend in order to make the economy grow again. In January Greece elected the left wing party Syriza. At the moment there are still ongoing negotiations for another rescue fund. The main negotiations are between Greece and Germany.
I don´t think that Greece would leave the Eurozone or even the EU. I also don´t think that any other county would leave the EU, even though the number of eurosceptical parties rose.
But Greece has to come up with a plan that let the economy grow again. I think this is only possible with spending and not with austerity measures, but the money has to be better invested. Other countries like Ireland already managed to recover again, so it is possible.
But the worst thing is, that the ongoing crisis in Greece really hurts the Euro and hence, it hurts all the countries in the Eurozone. Further the crisis makes the exchange rate worse and makes my exchange semester in the US very expensive.
Honestly, all these pictures look very sad and depressing. It shows that there are some major challenges going on in the European Union today. The top left picture looks like a sign or billboard that is expressing that too many people are trying to settle in the European Union. These groups of people don’t support immigration into their country. It’s saying that there are people in the Union that are clearly xenophobic. I think it’s super interesting that they crossed out immigration and put hysteria. Hysteria means to be exaggerated or uncontrollable emotion or excitement. So the sign was not actually made this way, but that some people do not believe what the billboard is expressing and thinks that immigration is fine. On the bottom of the billboard is says Vote UKIP. UKIP is the group that made this billboard. It refers to the UK Independence Party. UKIP is led by Nigel Farage and is a patriotic party that promotes independence. They believe in free trade, lower taxes, personal freedom and responsibility. The next picture shows the Eurosceptic party seats and how much it is increasing. It doubled from the years 2009 to 2014. France and the UK had the biggest number so Eurosceptic parties.
The next 3 pictures are talking about Greece. The Bank of Greece picture, the “Austerity Kills Dignity, Reclaim Europe” picture and the picture of the Aetynomia Police picture. The picture of the Bank of Greece has Greece on it, but then someone crossed out Greece and replaced it with Berlin. Greece was dealing with a huge crisis that led to national bankruptcy, so this image shows that Germany funded Greece.
The last two pictures represent the Austerity, as Greece had to make its way back up. The Greeks are fed up with austerity. Greece is not a very safe place to go right now due to its governmental issues. They want their old currency back, but it would be worthless anyways. The last picture of the police is showing that there is violence in Greece. The Aetynomia police are the national police force for Greece. It looks like they have to deal with a lot of crises. I personally don’t think that Greece will leave the EU, but Greece has to come up with a solution to improve their economy. Greece is definitely hurting the EU, so times need to change and it can happen.
The creation of the European Union was carried out to establish a collaborative peace and progress among the nations of Europe. Overall, a large community of ethnically diverse peoples was established but the addition of countries throughout the years has made it difficult for there to be cohesive agreements over all of the issues that affect the countries and the people. The five photographs symbolize a few of the issues concerning the EU and how the people are responding to them.
The photograph on the top left-hand corner represents differing views about migration within the EU. The photograph shows a bulletin found in the UK because it is promoting the UKIP in what seems to be an effort to ultimately control and stop the mass immigration into the United Kingdom. The bulletin, however, seems to have been vandalized and the word ‘immigration’ has been marked off and replaced underneath it by the word ‘hysteria’, a message targeted towards the UKIP because many believe that they have radical thoughts. The UK Independent Party is opposed to the EU and was founded on the principle of ensuring the withdrawal of the UK from the EU. The UKIP is actually regarded as a Eurosceptic because of its strong beliefs against the EU, which, as shown by the bulletin, it tries to promote in an effort to express what they believe are the negative effects that European integration is having.
This Euroscepticism has grown within the European Parliament over the past few years. The top picture on the right better conveys this fact by displaying the changes of party seats in each country. In the 2014 elections, seven of twenty-eight countries saw an increase in the number of seats won by strongly eurosceptic parties from the previous 2009 elections. The number of seats held by Eurosceptic parties almost doubled from 2009 to 2014. Although the number of these respective seats is not a significant number from the total number, it does signal that an increased sentiment against the European Union and integration of the countries has surfaced over the past couple of years.
Sentiment against some countries within the EU has also surfaced because some countries seem to possess more power than others. The extent of the participation of each country varies within the EU. In the case of the third picture, it appears that in light of the economic situation in Europe, many believe that Greece no longer possesses full authority or great power in regards to its economic situation. Apparently some believe that the Bank of Greece no longer exists and is actually now the bank of Germany because of the strong monetary initiatives and sanctions that it is pressing against Greece. The dissolution of the sovereignty of the European Union states is something that greatly troubles these Eurosceptics and transcends into other problems perceived within the EU.
The photograph on the bottom left shows a rally in which people are expressing their discontent in regards to the austerity displayed by the EU. The banner as well as the different flags express that the people believe that the austere initiatives of the EU are ultimately dissolving the identity of each state. The picture on the bottom right seems to be a confrontation in which the state police came prepared to face a discontent crowd. Fire blazes in the background while the police have gas masks on and protective shields to protect themselves from any oncoming violence. This confrontation between the state and the police is symbolic of the opposition faced by the EU.