Weekly Digest: April 15

The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris suffers a massive fire. Image credit: Wandrille de Preville//Wikimedia Commons

The Notre Dame cathedral in Paris suffers a massive fire. Image credit: Wandrille de Preville//Wikimedia Commons

Politics

A Walk Down Baltic Avenue

Russia and the Baltics have always had a contentious relationship, and recent developments in Crimea and Georgia have always made them more wary. However, the Baltic tools have some tools to rebuff a potential Russian invasion, especially strong cybersecurity tactics and NATO protection. For now, these countries are cautiously optimistic about their prospects, although one never can tell.

Brexit: UK and EU Agree Delay to 31 October

Sigh, Brexit again. The divorce will be postponed until October 31, although it appears no more likely that a deal will be reached before then. Businesses have welcomed the move, although Britain still faces tough questions surrounding upcoming European Parliamentary elections.

Finland Election: Tough Talks After Split Poll

After Finland’s government resigned due failed healthcare negotiations, the country held snap elections… and no party emerged as a clear victor, with the Social Democrats winning with a paltry 17.7 percent of the vote. A far right party emerged as the second-largest party, however, and coalition negotiations will definitely be tough with the current parity between all the current parties.

Economics

French Billionaires Pledge to Rebuild Notre Dame

After a catastrophic fire destroyed the Notre Dame cathedral, President Macron swore the government would rebuild one of France’s most precious treasures in less than 5 years. A number of French billionaires and businessmen, including Francois-Henri Pinault and Bernard Arnault, joined his pledge and promised to donate substantial amounts of €100m and €200m respectively for the reconstruction.

Berliners Demand Expropriation of Private Apartments

The extremely high rents in Berlin where over 85% of inhabitants live in rented apartments pushed the city’s population to demand a referendum on expropriating private apartments. They want private companies that own over 3,000 apartments to sell them to the city governments, which was made legal by a recent interpretation of the constitution which allows transferring private assets to public ownership.

Culture/Society

This Group Art Show Celebrates Unity in Europe

Last week at Paris’ Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, a show entitled Metamorphosis. Art in Europe Now opened, displaying the works of 21 artists from all over Europe, picked out of over 1,000 portfolios, who grew up after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Through painting, sculpture, fashion, design, amd video, the show has pieces such as a painting mixed with computer software, and a borderless and nameless map of Europe, meant to make a statement about a unified Europe and Brexit.

The Culture War Threatening to Rip Through European Politics

Poland is engaged in a cultural and political battle, especially since October of 2017, when the government that was elected was one that foreshadowed what Trump’s American government would look like. Conservative and liberal forces clash over the future of Europe and Poland, and the government is becoming increasingly omnipresent, working to control the arts and send a message that anyone who is not in support of the ruling party, the Law & Justice party, is an enemy.