Previously in Europe Hugh. On today’s episode, Ciarán is on his lonesome talking about some interesting stories from the week.

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Headlines for the Solo Episode


Italy’s economy shrunk for the second time in a row in the last quarter of 2018, indicating that the country was sliding into a recession.

This is the 4th recession in Italy since 2008

Internal and external press are blaming the Nightmare Coalition Gov but the coalition is blaming the previous admin

Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio said the data “certified the failure of the entire political class which Italians sent packing” last year, Reuters quoted him as having said.


Oh god no.

French leader Emmanuel Macron is considering holding a referendum on social and economic reforms in order to quell the ‘yellow vest’ protests, French weekly Journal du Dimanche has said, citing government sources. If it happened, it would be the first of its kind in France and would coincide with the European Parliament elections. “The chances of a May 26 referendum happening are very high”, a government source said.

The French press is unanimous that this is a bad idea, citing Brexit, Renzi’s constitutional referendum and Tspiras’ bailout referendum.

The Elysée Palace has not confirmed the vote, but Macron said last week that a referendum was one of the possibilities “on the table” and this was a fitting way to end his grand debate.

Le Journal du Dimanche reported voters might be asked if they want to reduce the number of national legislators and potentially impose term limits as part of an effort to overhaul the French political system. (but y’know, nothing about reinstating the wealth tax)

To happen on the 26th of May this needs to be confirmed before the end of this week.


Polish politician Robert Biedron launched a new party on Sunday called Spring. He promised to phase out coal power by 2035, end state subsidies for the church and to legalise abortion and same-sex marriage. He also promised to boost welfare and healthcare spending in a programme dubbed “populist” by his opponents. “I will be prime minister,” Biedron told supporters at a rally in Warsaw ahead of elections in the autumn.

Biedron is a former Democratic Left Alliance (polling ~5%) and former mayor of Słupsk (pronounced swoopsk), LGBT activist and serves on the board of NGO Campaign Against Homophobia. He’s openly gay and an atheist. Warning sign: he’s been compared to Macron.

Early polls are showing his party at around 9%


North Macedonia will on Wednesday begin the process to join NATO, the secretary general of the military alliance announced Saturday.


German Justice Minister Katarina Barley (S&D) has slammed tech giant Facebook — again — warning the company may be attempting to create a messaging monopoly.

Referring to FB’s plan to integrate Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp and Messenger.

Nick Clegg, Facebook’s global head of public affairs, (what a fucking world) confirmed Monday that the company was looking at how to make its messaging services interoperable under one data architecture. Zuckerberg confirmed reports that the company was considering merging its messenger services

German language media as ringing alarm bells of privacy and date centralization, and the German government is shoring up EU allies to take on Facebook.


In an EU draft regulation on visas for Brits post-Brexit it is stated that “Gibraltar is a colony of the British Crown”

The UK is responsible for 10 of the 17 entries to the UN List of Non-self Governing Territories


PM of Finland, Juha Sipilä told Politico that The European Council cannot and will not be required to follow the EU’s Spitzenkandidat — or lead candidate — process in choosing the next European Commission president

“I don’t like this idea about Spitzenkandidats. I think that in democracy we have to make compromises also”

Largely he is opposed to the EPP dominance of the parliament and thus the process. He’s from ALDE which intends to put forth a short list of potential EuroCom Prezs for the council to choose from.