Dear readers, friends and colleagues,
It’s Summer time, although not a normal (another) one, still the holiday season we almost all have been waiting for… So, here we go with issue number 3 for 2021!
Main cover theme bids farewell to the EU leader that dominated the Continent time and again: Chancellor Angela Merkel.
As Dr. Jan Werts vividly describes in his article, “On Thursday June 21, 2007, the meeting of the EU leaders, the Council, started at 17:54 am with ringing of the bell by Chancellor Angela Merkel. During the following 36-hour marathon, she opened her bag of tricks. In the atrium of the same building, 2,000 journalists from around the world waited impatiently for news. On the morning of June 23, while the sun was already rising over Brussels, a proud Chancellor presented the press her ’Midsummer Night’s Treaty’, the frame for the Lisbon Treaty on which the EU is still based today. Although in 2005 the ’European Constitution’ was rejected by French and Dutch voters, Merkel fully preserved with ‘her’ treaty the core of that constitution. Like in 2007, the chancellor managed to pull the EU out of crises many times since then. But the Council meeting in June of this year was probably, after 16 years, the last one where Chancellor Angela Merkel represented Germany. She announced to step down after the German elections in September.”
Staying on the same topic, N. Peter Kramer’s column focuses on Chancellor Merkel’s last Summit where “the heated discussions were not her smooth send-off everyone expected.” Well…
“Finding a balance between sustainable economic development, COVID recovery, environment protection and climate action, as well as structural and legal reforms will be the key for long-term resilience of Western Balkans. Today, the EU accession process offers the most effective framework for achieving this balance in a structured and strategic way, foster recovery and induce economic and social growth and development over the long-term” says Lilyana Pavlova, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank and responsible for the Western Balkans to an exclusive interview with EBR - jump to page 16 to read more!
“Schengen is about more than just borders. We can reinforce police cooperation. We have a common European visa policy. We have a common European system of returns. We have a common Security Union. And down the road, we hope we will have the New Pact for Migration and Asylum that will help us with alternatives in border management, and reducing the potential risks of secondary movements and absconding within our borders.” Vice-President of the European Commission, Margaritis Schinas, explains on page 10 why Schengen has become a symbol of what Europe stands for today.
Current issue’s Special Report puts the spotlight on the “Pandemic Effect”. COVID-19 has turned the world upside down in an often tragical way. But the ‘new reality’ developed by the pandemic, generated - in several different areas - a new way of thinking and also the need for new policies. The “European Business Review” collected for its readers five examples of it. To mention just two of them: an article about re-globalisation and one by IMF officials about the change of the way we work and spend.
For millions of people, working nine-to-five for a single employer or being on the payroll is no longer a reality. Instead, they balance various income streams and work independently, job-by-job. If you’ve ever used an app to call a freelance taxi driver, book a holiday rental, order food or buy a homemade craft then you’ve probably participated in this segment of the economy. A global debate is raging about independent workers or the so-called gig economy. But what is it? And how important is what’s happening? Get your answers on page 41!
Will the circular economy fly us to the moon? Not sure for the answer, but looking back, in the last 30 years, Europe has reduced landfilling by around 30% and doubled recycling and incineration figures. At the same time, reuse/refill has been decimated and we are generating 20% more waste per capita. In other words, the bottom of the waste hierarchy has been getting fatter at the expense of the upper side. This confirms that, when the wise man pointed at the moon, all we could see was the waste accumulating on the finger. But it was just a pointer, a symptom. The good news is that we are finally collectively understanding that the solution lies elsewhere. Turn to page 46 for more.
The National Theatre of Greece has played a leading role in the cultural life of the nation for 90 years. In its long history, it has never closed, not even under the most adverse conditions, with performances continuing during the Occupation and under the Regime of the Colonels. This year, its mettle was tested yet again, now by a dual crisis. On the one hand, the live arts were hard hit by the pandemic, while on the other, revelations in the context of the Greek “Me Too” movement thrust the NTG into the eye of the storm. EBR’s “Extrait de Culture” was there to meet and discuss with the theatre’s newly appointed Artistic Director, Mrs. Eri Kyrgia.
Read these, among others, here online.
Wishes for a lovely Summer break and hope you enjoy the reading!