Despite considerable policy differences on the old continent, one issue almost entirely unites Europeans: gun control. This is currently reflected through legislators, who, despite the apparent ineffectiveness of current gun regulation, continue to infringe on the right to bear arms.
The EU Commission in Brussels agreed on stricter gun laws last December, with EU interior ministers deciding on new measures despite several members, including the Czechs, voting against it. The new directive institutes a complete ban on semi-automatic firearms, tightens regulations on online purchases, and allows for an exchange of information about gun owners across the continent.
Growing distrust between Europe and the US government has led European governments to renew their commitment to building an autonomous and common defense policy. The idea of building a European military is as old as the idea of European integration itself. But in 1954, France refused to vote in favor of the European Defense Community project it initiated.
This is why the idea of European defense had been abandoned until 1992. The Treaty of Maastricht has created a “Common Foreign and Security Policy” to help Europe to build its own military. But this project is no longer necessary to keep Europe secure.
She looks as unruffled and collected as ever: Angela Merkel’s relentless success is much in the line of German politics, which eulogises experience and calmness in the face of major challenges.
In September, Germans will head to the polls to vote for a new parliament. While European countries such as the Netherlands or France have seen massive rises in far-right movements, Germany – while being one of the most permissive countries when it comes to immigration – has been largely untouched by any kind of political shift.
Bill Wirtz returns to the podcast to talk about the latest growth of the nanny state in France. This time the EU is expanding it’s reach into the lives of French citizens with regulations on tobacco packaging.
Migration issues will dominate a meeting of Europe’s leaders this weekend in Malta. With spring around the corner, and refugee numbers in the Mediterranean bound to rise once more, they are looking for a way to prevent the drama of 2015 and 2016 — for a way to keep numbers low.
The current Maltese EU Presidency brought forward the latest proposal, which sees the solution in a deal with Libya — or rather what is left of it — oriented on the previous agreement with Turkey. This idea is not only dangerous in itself, however, it is also a symptom of the EU’s general incapability to solve its overarching migration dilemma.
Since Gaddafi’s fall in 2011, Libya has failed to recover, and is still de facto at civil war. Proposing the employment of its conflicting militias as migration controllers, hence takes a special kind of chutzpah — something apparently possessed by Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat. Whereas critics immediately pointed out the humanitarian price for such a deal, the final verdict came with a report from the German foreign ministry this week. The report stated that conditions in Libyan refugee camps were worse than concentration camps, with execution, rape and torture being common occurrences.