Monday Headlines

New Report Says Democracies Losing Ground
According to the nonpartisan Freedom House, for the eighth consecutive year more countries have experienced a decline in political rights and civil liberties with “serious setbacks” in countries from Russia and Ukraine to Venezuela and Indonesia.

Reacting to the decline, Larry Hawkins of The Atlantic says over the long haul, “economic development, globalization, and the growth of civil society will induce democratic change in a number of autocracies,” but, he adds, “democracy cannot be reformed and revived in the world’s key swing states, the “long run” will be a lot further off than it need be—and the near term won’t be hospitable to the advance of freedom.”

Are Lives Being Sacrificed On The Altar Of Climate Change?
Caleb Rossiter says it is. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Rossiter argues the forces of climate change are ignoring the opportunity to affect real progressive change in Africa by focusing on global warming instead.

“Where is the justice for Africans when universities divest from energy companies and thus weaken their ability to explore for resources in Africa? Where is the justice when the U.S. discourages World Bank funding for electricity-generation projects in Africa that involve fossil fuels, and when the European Union places a ‘global warming’ tax on cargo flights importing perishable African goods? Even if the wildest claims about the current impact of fossil fuels on the environment and the models predicting the future impact all prove true and accurate, Africa should be exempted from global restraints as it seeks to modernize,” he asks.

European Elections Will Not Bring Economic Reform To Europe Jean Pisani-Ferry contends diversity may be hindering efforts to bring about economic reform in Europe.

No longer are Europe’s citizens facing the same dangers. In fact, Pisan-Ferry writes, five years ago, “Europe faced a widely shared imperative to rescue distressed banks, fight recession, and contain a sharp increase in unemployment. There was also unity on a policy strategy: emergency stimulus, followed by fiscal consolidation,” but that is no longer the case.

He argues solidarity cannot be achieved by parliamentary election, but that does not mean the lack of consensus of goals does not have political implications.

“In each EU country, redistribution is a prerogative of the central government. National parliaments can decide to levy taxes to finance transfers. Though they may be compelled to take into account political limitations they rarely face legal limitations. However, the political limitations are very strong: the most prosperous countries’ citizens may accept contributing to solidarity with the less prosperous ones, but they would not accept being outvoted and forced to subsidise their neighbours,” he concludes.

Three weeks before the European Parliament elections, representatives offer their views on the assembly’s role in EU foreign policy making.

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