Saturday Reads

European Union: Former NATO Official Calls For Institutional Reform
Former NATO Secretary General Javier Solana believes the European Union must address the economic challenges facing it, but cannot do so at the expense of foreign policy. To Solana, that means dealing with the crises in Europe’s eastern neighborhood, which is marked by the crisis in Ukraine, and the sociopolitical transition going on in its southern neighborhood, which includes Tunisia and Syria.

Lastly, the EU must recognize that in an age of interdependence, the entire world is Europe’s neighbor.

“Economic, political, and social ties, not geography, determine this neighborhood’s ever-shifting borders, within which are Europe’s most important partners, from the United States to China to other emerging countries and non-state actors. Managing them requires a clear position in favor of global governance and effective multilateralism at all levels,” he writes.

Lastly, he asserts reforming the EU’s institutions is critical to recovering the support of Europe’s citizens.

Is The West In Need Of An Institutional Revolution?
The need for a reinvigoration of institutions and the structures of governance also tops Liam Halligan’s agenda. To dismantle the bureaucratic behemoth, he suggests, may only be achieved by launching a revolution to “to rein in the state, prevent it doing harm and restore western competitiveness.”

Is the situation so dire that it merits a revolution? Yes, Halligan contends in a piece featured in the British magazine The Spectator.

Halligan contends the main problem facing the West is not a housing shortage, nor is it a deteriorating infrastructure. While those problems warrant attention, he maintains the biggest problem facing Europe, the US, and the world is that we are living “in an age of bloated, deeply dysfunctional and often counter-productive government” hampered by massive debt and out-of-control spending.

“Across almost the entire western world, state spending has spun out of control. As it has, dissatisfaction with public services has escalated, trust in government collapsed. Far from inspiring faith and loyalty, the West’s big-state political classes are seen as distant, incompetent and corrupt,” argues Halligan.

Magazine Rates The World’s Best Thinkers
Another British magazine has just issued its results of an online survey asking, “Who is the world’s best thinker?”

The magazine offers one caveat: Given that intense media interest in India, the outcome might be skewed toward Asia, which could explain the presence in the top 10 of five thinkers—Amartya Sen, Raghuram Rajan, Arundhati Roy, Mao Yushi and Kaushik Basu— from the nation.

Illegal Migration To Europe Increases
Data gathered by the European Union’s border agency show that illegal immigration is eight times higher than last year and higher than during the Arab Spring. According to a report in London’s Daily Telegraphbetween January and April, approximately 42,000 migrants entered the European Union, a majority crossing into Europe from Libya.

The Italian government has called for more resources to handle an estimated 39,000 migrants who have sought refuge on its soil.

Nicolo Zancan of Italy’s La Stampa focuses his attention on one Milan train station and the hundreds of Syrian refugees who pass through its doors on a daily basis.

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