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Bouillon Weekly: Europe in the News

Hi Readers,

Surprisingly, the news doesn’t stop during exam season, and there’s been lots going on lately.  We’re sure you heard about the passing of Canada’s recently retired Finance Minister, Jim Flaherty.  The grim news overshadowed reports of Patrick Brazeau’s arrest in Ottawa, on charges of assault, possessing cocaine, breaching bail conditions, and uttering threats.  Considering Brazeau has been filling his time managing a strip club in Ottawa since being suspended from the Senate, this news isn’t terribly scandalous.

In Europe, the Hungarian elections saw the party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban retain its two-thirds majority in the country’s parliament, and with it, the power to change the constitution.  While the Fidesz party is not the farthest-on-the-right in the Hungarian parliament, it has used its constitutional majority to rewrite hundreds of laws, and has been accused of restraining the media and curbing other democratic freedoms.  Hungary has also clashed with the EU over policies such as high taxes on banks and energy firms to balance the budget, and the nationalization of private pension funds.  With limited investor confidence already, Hungary’s foreign relations are set to become more tumultuous.

In a statement on Saturday, Mario Draghi said the European Central Bank has announced it will ease monetary policy if the euro continues to strengthen.  This announcement comes amidst international financial pressure on Europe to stave off deflation.  Draghi also reiterated the importance of the euro’s exchange rate and that it would affect fiscal and monetary policy going summer time pokies forward.

And of course, there have been developments in Ukraine.  On Saturday, armed separatists took control of the city of Slaviansk, a town in eastern Ukraine about 150km from the Russian border.  In response, the Ukrainian government has prepared troops to address “an act of aggression by Russia,” thus escalating the situation.  This week will likely see more definitive action by Ukraine, Russia, and the international community, but until then we’ll have to wait and see what happens.  In the meantime, you can read up about Putin in Adam Templer’s article, “Putin: A Riddle Wrapped in an Enigma.”

In case you missed it, you can read up on this week’s Quebec election coverage.  McGill’s Margot Charles has “Quebec Elections: A Bad Joke or the End of Democracy as We Know It?”, et aussi nous avons “Les Nombreux Bas de la Campagne 2014,” par Ronny Al-Nosir de McGill.  If you’re still jonesing for Canadian political issues, Mike Custer, also of McGill, summarized last week’s Battle of the Profs.  Put on by the Economics Students Association, the debate was all about energy politics and the costs and benefits of pipeline development – a personal passion of mine.  You can find Mike’s write-up of the event here, and please feel free to tweet us your thoughts @ThePoliBouillon.

That’s all for now readers, best of luck with your finals!

Katherine McNamara

Co-Editor in Chief

 

Image: The Hungarian Parliament

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