The link between ghettoization and Islamist terrorist attacks in France

An article by Alexandra Reinhild Berndt

More than 200 people died due to Islamist terrorist attacks in the five past years in France (Gennies, Meier & Jansen, 2020). The beheading of the French teacher Samuel Paty and the killing of three people in a church in Nizza demonstrated the increasing danger of Islamist terror. In this article, I will evaluate the reactions of the French government and the Muslim world. Furthermore, I will investigate the causes of the increase in Islamist terrorist attacks by focusing on the formation of parallel societies.

The French school teacher Paty was murdered by an Islamist terrorist as he showed caricatures of the prophet Muhammad in class (Safi, Makoii, Baloch & Ahmed, 2020). The French government reacted by defending the right of freedom of speech and press. Furthermore, the military presence was increased from 3000 to 7000 soldiers (Gennies, Meier & Jansen, 2020). Macron also promised to introduce a new law against “Islamic separatism” (Willsher, 2020). The objective of this law is to fight against Islamist extremism by facilitating the shutdown of “mosques and other organizations accused of fomenting radicalism and violence” (Burke, 2020). Among the additional new measures introduced by the president are: homeschooling, the oversight over religious funding and the enforcement of respect of “Republic values” (Sandford, 2020). Another important consequence is the further increase in anti-Muslim sentiments, not only within the population, but also within government (Hebel, Salloum & Truckendanner, 2020). The presidents’ remark that Islam “is in crisis all over the world today” even lead to a diplomatic crisis with Muslim countries in the Middle East (Fishere, 2020). Muslim states as Turkey, Iran, Kuwait and Algeria started boycotting French products (Hebel, Salloum & Truckendanner, 2020). Iran even summoned a French diplomat and accused France of hypocrisy and arrogance vis-à-vis Islam (Hebel, Salloum & Truckendanner, 2020). An important Egyptian religious authority, Al-Azhar, even accused Macron of hurting “the feelings of two billion Muslim followers” and hindering “the path to constructive dialogue” (Fishere, 2020). The president’s remark on Islam thus even led to a diplomatic crisis. The Muslim community is now very concerned about stigmatization, an increase in anti-Muslim sentiment and discrimination against the Muslim minority in France (Hebel, Salloum & Truckendanner, 2020). The remarks of Macron, stigmatizing “the entire faith” for “actions of a small number of extremists”, also brought back memories about colonial times when people were systemically discriminated on the basis of their religious faith (Safi, Makoii, Baloch, & Ahmed, 2002).

After having examined the reactions of the French government and the Muslim society, I will subsequently investigate the role of parallel society and ghettoization. After Samuel Paty’s murder, Macron admitted that the French government made severe mistakes in the past in terms of dealing with ghettoization and parallel societies (Wachs, 2020).  France has had important problems with the integration of the Muslim minority into the French society (Onishi & Breeden, 2020). The formation of ghettos and parallel societies are a symptom of this failed integration. In the ghettoes, Muslim immigrants “turn to religion as a defense mechanism and rallying point” (Burke, 2020).  The president now promised to solve this problem by threatening to shutdown “mosques and other organizations accused of fomenting radicalism and violence” (Burke, 2020). However, these political measures only aim at calming voters short-hand, but fail to solve the underlying problem (Wesel, 2020). A solution to the problem is much more difficult and a long process. Solving the problem would mean to invest a lot of time and resources into integration, education, infrastructure and housing (Wesel, 2020). However, if the ghettoization was one of the main causes of radicalization and Islamist terrorism, it would be in the interest of the French society to invest time and resources to fight against it. An anti-Muslim rhetoric is not solving the problem but rather contributing to a severe intersocietal, interethnic conflict.

In conclusion, the Islamist terrorist attacks are a symptom of the ignorance of parallel societies. Adopting a Muslim rhetoric is not helpful, but rather contra-productive and has serious repercussions for the relations with the Muslim community in France and worldwide.

photo by Stephanie LeBlanc on Unsplash

References

Burke, J. (2020, October 29). Attacks in France put Islamist extremism back in spotlight. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/29/attacks-in-france-put-islamist-extremism-back-in-spotlight

Fishere, E. C. (2020, October 20). France, the way to Islamic reformation is to challenge institutions – not stigmatize Muslims. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/10/20/france-macron-samuel-paty-teacher-attack-islam-reform/

Gennies, S., Meier, A., & Jansen, F. (2020, October 29). Wie islamistischen Terror bekämpfen, ohne dabei das Land zu spalten? Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.tagesspiegel.de/themen/reportage/frankreich-die-versehrtenation-wie-islamistischen-terror-bekaempfen-ohne-dabei-das-land-zu-spalten/26573246.html

Hebel, C., Salloum, R., & Truckendanner, P. (2020, October 27). Macron und die Welle des Zorns. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/frankreich-vs-islamische-welt-emmanuel-macron-und-die-welle-des-zorns-a-7f706967-2793-48bf-af15-95f64a48da1b

Onishi, N., & Breeden, A. (2020, October 02). Macron vows crackdown on ‘Islamist Separatism’ in France. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/02/world/europe/macron-radical-islam-france.html

Safi, M., Makoii, A. M., Baloch, S. M., & Ahmed, R. (2020, October 28). Anger towards Emmanuel Macron grows in Muslim world. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/28/anger-towards-emmanuel-macron-grows-in-muslim-world

Sandford, A. (2020, October 28). Macron and Islam What has French president Macron said to outrage the Muslim world? Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.euronews.com/2020/10/27/macron-and-islam-what-has-the-french-president-actually-said-to-outrage-the-muslim-world

Wachs, S. (2020, October 29). Macrons Rede zu “Separatismus”: “Wir haben die Ghettoisierung zugelassen”. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/frankreich-paris-problemviertel-islamismus-macron-101.html

Wesel, B. (2020, October 21). Frankreichs schwerer Kampf gegen den Islamismus. Retrieved October 30, 2020, from https://www.dw.com/de/meinung-frankreichs-schwerer-kampf-gegen-den-islamismus/a-55350456

Willsher, K. (2020, October 02). Macron outlines new law to prevent Islamic ‘separatism’ in France. Retrieved October 31, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/02/emmanuel-macron-outlines-law-islamic-separatism-france

An update on Brexit

An article by Lea Schiller

As the transition period of Brexit comes to a close, many are asking what future relations between the two might look like. Currently, the UK still has to abide by EU regulations – but next year, it will leave the Single Market, the Customs Union. The Withdrawal Agreement, which was signed in January of 2020, makes provisions for both the transition period and the UK’s outstanding commitments to the EU. It does not, however, regulate how future trade relations will look like; it is therefore crucial whether a new deal can be reached before the transition period comes to an end. In this article I intend to provide a short overview on the key events that have halted the progress towards a new trade deal between the UK and the EU.

Negotiations started in March, with the most important issues being access to the UK’s fishing waters and state aid to companies. Hopes for a deal took a hit in early September following plans for the Internal Market Bill in the UK. It would override parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which stipulates that goods passing through the Irish border will not need to be checked. The Internal Market Bill would give the UK the power to interpret the trade arrangements made for Northern Ireland, even though the Northern Ireland Protocol gives this power to a Joint Committee of representatives from both the UK and the EU (Edgington, 2020). If implemented, the Internal Market Bill would therefore be an intentional breach of international law; as the Northern Ireland Protocol is part of the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU. The reaction from the EU was accordingly firm. EU diplomats have described this bill as “shocking” (Moens, 2020), and potentially the first step towards a no-deal. In short, the negotiations have been far from an uncomplicated process.

Around the same time, Boris Johnson threatened to walk away from negotiations should there be no deal reached by the 15th of October (Landler & Castle, 2020), adding more fuel to the fire. As of the end of October 2020, no deal has been reached, but this is not the first time Johnson has demanded a breakthrough by a certain date, only to later backtrack on this; in February, he already threatened to walk away if no deal was reached in four months (Landler & Castle, 2020). The EU is pushing to continue negotiations but would only sign a new trade deal if the UK amends the Internal Market Bill to be in accordance with previously signed deals, such as the Withdrawal Agreement and the Northern Ireland Protocol.

In the midst of frustration and wide disagreements on cure issues, the scenario of a no-deal is a possibility that is steadily coming closer. In this case, the UK and the EU would fall back on standard WTO terms (Sandford, 2020) – a disaster for everyone involved. Compared to the Single Market of the EU, trade under WTO rules would mean tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade that have not existed between the UK and the EU for years. A drop in exports and imports would then make a recovery from the current recession even more challenging, which is why these last few weeks of the transition period are so crucial.

photo by Rocco Dipoppa on Unsplash

References

European Council. (2020, October 21). EU-UK negotiations on future relationship. Retrieved from: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/eu-uk-negotiations-on-the-future-relationship/

Edgington, T. (2020, September 8). Brexit: What is the Northern Ireland Protocol and why is it needed? BBC. Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-53724381

Moens, B. (2020, September 9). Brexit negotiations hit low after UK’s ‘carpet-bombing’ tactics. Politico. Retrieved from: https://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-negotiations-eu-uk-no-deal-withdrawal-agreement-irish-border-breach-international-law/

Landler, M. & Castle, S. (2020, October 16). With Brexit clock ticking, Boris Johnson vows, again, to walk away. The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/16/world/europe/brexit-boris-johnson-europe.html

Moens, B. & Herszenhorn, D. (2020, October 14). EU to Boris Johnson: Get Brexit done already. Politico. Retrieved from: https://www.politico.eu/article/brexit-saga-drags-on-as-uk-boris-johnson-wont-end-talks-after-eu-summit/

Morris, C. (2020, January 23). What is the Withdrawal Agreement bill? BBC News. Retrieved from: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-50125338

Riley, C. (2020, September 30). Brexit is back and the stakes are higher than ever. CNN Business. Retrieved from: https://edition.cnn.com/2020/09/29/business/brexit-negotiations/index.html

Sandford, A. (2020, October 26). Post-Brexit guide: Where are we now – and how did we get here? Euronews. Retrieved from: https://www.euronews.com/2020/06/11/brexit-draft-deal-first-of-many-hurdles-to-a-smooth-exit

The debate about Nord Stream 2 from different perspectives

by Alexandra Reinhild Berndt

The poisoning of the Russian opposition leader Alexei Nawalny reopened the debate about the European stance towards Russia. In March 2018, the Russian double agent Sergei Skripal was poisoned with the same toxin as Nawalny was in the English city Salisbury (Ehl, 2019). The European Parliament condemned Russia’s behavior and called for immediate sanctions against the Russian government (Zeit Online, 2020). In a resolution of the European parliament, 532 MEPs voted in favor of stricter sanctions against Russia (Zeit Online, 2020). In Germany, the debate shifted the focus to “Nord Stream 2”, a gas pipeline between Russia and Germany that is 94% complete (only 160 kilometers out of 2460 kilometers are left to lay) (Prantner, 2020). A possible stop of the gas pipeline construction is not only discussed by German politicians, but also by European and US-American actors (Ballin, 2020). In the following, I will investigate the arguments of the opponents and proponents of the project and the implications of a possible stop of construction.

First of all, I will examine which actors are involved in the discussion and shed a light on their motivation and interest. I will start with the opponents of Nord-Stream 2 and then continue with its proponents.  In the case of the US, economic interests are the motivation for the imposition of sanctions on Nord Stream 2 (Ballin, 2020). As the United States aim at selling their own gas to Europe, they exhaust all possibilities to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2 (Ballin, 2020). In contrast to the United States, Eastern European countries as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland fight for a construction stop not because of economic reasons, but because of political concerns (Ballin, 2020). The Prime Minister of Latvia, Krisjanis Karins, urged Germany to be aware of the fact that Russia uses the “gas-dependency of Europe as political weapon” – according to Karins, the pipeline contradicts European values (Matthaei, 2020). The Prime Minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, reacted similarly. He also warned against a German dependence on Russian gas and against a higher degree of Russian influence on German policy (Handelsblatt, 2020).

In Germany, the opinion on Nord Stream 2 varies among parties and politicians. The Green party pleads for sanctions against Nord Stream 2 and aims at classifying it as “security risk for Europe” (Ballin, 2020). Similarly, the liberal party FDP precludes economic cooperation with Russia in the light of Nawalny’s poisoning (Ballin, 2020). The German government, however, is divided on the issue. German chancellor Angela Merkel pleads for a “European solution” (Von Marschall, 2020). The vice chancellor Olaf Scholz, however, is against a stop of Nord Stream 2 (Schmitz, 2020). He argues that Nord Stream 2 is not a governmental project, but a “private sector energy project” that would, in case of a stop, harm a lot of companies (Schmitz, 2020). Not only German companies are involved in the project; European and international companies participated in the construction of the pipeline as well (Lenz, 2020). There are five European companies that invested in the project: Uniper, Wintershall DEA, Royal Dutch Shell, OMV and Engie (Becker, 2020). Each of them pays ten percent of the costs for the pipeline. In case of a politically initiated construction stop, it is probable that they would demand back their invested money (Becker, 2020). The German government is thus, in contrast to the other European countries, very divided on this issue. 

After having examined the point of views of all the actors involved in the discussion about which sanctions against Russia are most appropriate, I would like to carry out a final review on positive as well as negative aspects. An important aspect speaking against the stop of the pipeline construction is that the pipeline would guarantee a “low-cost supply of gas” and help Germany to “move away from nuclear and coal” (Shiryaevskaya & Khrennikova, 2020). However, the German “security of supply” is not dependent on the gas of Nord Stream 2 (Becker, 2020). Furthermore, Gasprom’s profits are Russia’s profits as Gasprom is a state-owned company (Schuller, 2020). There is thus the possibility that the financial profits of Nord Stream 2 also flow into Russia’s military actions in Libya, Syria and Ukraine (Schuller, 2020). It thus also raises the question whether the German government would like to accept a huge economic cooperation with a government responsible for attempted murder by poisoning and questionable military actions in Libya, Syria and Ukraine.

Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash

References

Ballin, A. (2020, September 17). Pipelineprojekt: Russland treibt den Bau von Nord Stream 2 wegen drohender Sanktionen voran. Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/international/pipelineprojekt-russland-treibt-den-bau-von-nord-stream-2-wegen-drohender-sanktionen-voran/26195034.html

Becker, A. (2020, September 8). Wer braucht eigentlich Nord Stream 2?: DW: 08.09.2020. Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://www.dw.com/de/wer-braucht-eigentlich-nord-stream-2/a-54854677

Ehl, D. (2019, March 04). Salisbury: What we know a year after the Skripal poison attack: DW: 04.03.2019. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://www.dw.com/en/salisbury-what-we-know-a-year-after-the-skripal-poison-attack/a-47757214

Handelsblatt. (2020, September 13). Gas-Streit : Polens Regierungschef fordert von EU und Deutschland Stopp von Nord Stream 2. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://www.handelsblatt.com/politik/international/gas-streit-polens-regierungschef-fordert-von-eu-und-deutschland-stopp-von-nord-stream-2/26184222.html

Lenz, L. (2020, September 10). Nord Stream 2 beenden – geht das? Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://www.tagesschau.de/wirtschaft/nordstream-debatte-ende-101.html

Matthaei, K. (2020, September 14). Nawalny-Vergiftung: Lettischer Premier fordert Pipeline-Stopp. Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/nawalny-nord-stream-101.html

Prantner, C. (2020, August 07). Nord Stream 2: US-Senatoren drohen dem Sassnitzer Hafen. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://www.nzz.ch/international/wirtschaftliche-kriegserklaerung-gegen-sassnitz-und-nord-stream-2-ld.1570257?reduced=true

Schuller, K. (2020, September 15). Grüne planen Sanktionen gegen Nord Stream 2. Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/ausland/gruene-planen-eu-sanktionen-gegen-nord-stream-2-16953071.html

Shiryaevskaya, A., & Khrennikova, D. (2020, September 04). Why the World Worries About Russia’s Natural Gas Pipeline. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/energy/why-the-world-worries-about-russias-natural-gas-pipeline/2020/09/04/05537504-eeb7-11ea-bd08-1b10132b458f_story.html

Schmitz, G. P. (2020, September 22). Scholz lehnt Stopp für Nord Stream 2 wegen Kampfgiftanschlag auf Nawalny ab. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://www.augsburger-allgemeine.de/politik/Scholz-lehnt-Stopp-fuer-Nord-Stream-2-wegen-Kampfgiftanschlag-auf-Nawalny-ab-id58181691.html

Von Marschall, C. (2020, September 07). Drei Wege zum Aus für Nord Stream 2. Retrieved September 24, 2020, from https://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/scheitert-die-deutsch-russische-gaspipeline-drei-wege-zum-aus-fuer-nord-stream-2/26164612.html

Zeit Online. (2020, September 18). Ostdeutsche Regierungschefs gegen Baustopp von Nord Stream. Retrieved September 23, 2020, from https://www.zeit.de/politik/ausland/2020-09/nord-stream-2-ostsee-pipeline-ostdeutsche-bundeslaender-alexej-nawalny

The EU and Europe’s last dictator

by Lea Schiller

When elections were held in Belarus on August 9, Aljaksandr Lukaschenko had already been in power for 26 years. He has been dubbed “Europe’s last dictator“, and his reign has seen many rigged elections. This presidential election however, was different. For one, even though the country’s stagnating economy has caused dissatisfaction with Lukaschenko, COVID-19 was what fuelled most of the recent outrage against the president. The case numbers in Belarus are a lot higher than in neighbouring Poland, which has about four times as many citizens, and Lukaschenko has refused to introduce rules for social distancing. For him, the virus is merely a “psychosis“ – but his citizens fear for their lives. Additionally, the opposition found an unexpectedly popular candidate in Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya after her husband, who was originally meant to be in the race, was arrested by Belarusian authorities. 

Lukaschenko is said to have won with 80% of the vote with an 84% participation rate, but soon after the results were made public, people took to the streets all over the country, contending the election was rigged. It’s the biggest protests the country has ever seen – and they have one goal: to push Lukaschenko out of office. Riot police responded with tear gas and stun grenades to break up the protests. Thousands of people were detained and hundreds hospitalised for their injuries. 

Two days later, the EU’s High Representative released a declaration, criticising that the election was neither free nor fair, and that state authorities used “disproportionate and unacceptable violence” . Without any progress on human rights in Belarus, its relationship with the EU could only get worse and the EU would assess the actions of Belarusian authorities to review its relations with Belarus. A week later, EU leaders released a statement declaring that the EU would not recognise the results, as the elections were neither “free nor fair”. 

Among EU member states, there has been much debate about how to respond to the situation. Neighbouring states Lithuania, Poland and Latvia have all offered to be intermediaries. Lithuania, for instance, proposed a “National Council” for Belarus including both members of civil society and the government as well as an immediate end to police brutality in the country. Hungary meanwhile warned not to burn diplomatic bridges to Minsk – hardly surprising, considering that President Viktor Orbán has good relations with Lukaschenko and already called to end the existing EU sanctions against Belarus. 

On Friday the 14th of August, the EU’s foreign ministers took the first step towards imposing new sanctions on Belarus. After agreeing on imposing sanctions, the EU’s diplomatic body, the European External Action Service, will start preparations to compile a list of individuals and organisations responsible for the fraud violence around the election. All member states will then have to approve every name on the list before sanctions can be put in action, and how long this process will take is unclear.

Photo by Jana Shnipelson on Unsplash

References

Barigazzi, J. (2020, August 14). EU takes first step toward Belarus sanctions. Politico. Retrieved from: https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-belarus-sanctions-first-steps/

EU sucht nach Antworten auf Lukaschenko. (2020, August 13). Tagesschau. Retrieved from: https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/belarus-proteste-polizei-109.html

Council of the European Union. (2020, August 11). Belarus: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union on the presidential elections. Retrieved from: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/08/11/belarus-declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-european-union-on-the-presidential-elections/
Shotter, J & Seddon, M. (2020, August 10). Protests break out in wake of Belarus presidential vote. The Financial Times. https://www.ft.com/content/14b85fa8-c668-438e-9306-be4828b6666d

Restitution of African cultural heritage as chance

by Alexandra Reinhild Berndt

At this moment, 90 percent of the African cultural objects are in Europe (Kassel & Zimmerer, 2018). Most Africans do not have access to their cultural heritage as not everyone has the financial capacity to buy a plane ticket to Europe and visit a European museum. The Senegalese economist Felwine Sarr and the French art historian Bénédicte Savoy recommended to restitute the cultural objects according to the right to cultural heritage (Arend, 2019). On their recommendation, the French President Emmanuel Macron promised to pave the way for the restitution of culture objects within five years (Arend, 2019). This initiated a Europe-wide debate. In Germany, for instance, the government stipulated in the coalition agreement that it aims at promoting provenance research (Förster, 2019, p. 78). However, it did not consider the restitution of African cultural heritage.  Provenance research includes the examination of the acquisition practices and power asymmetries during the acquisition (Förster, 2019, p. 85). This means that it checks if the acquisition has happened without consent or under coercion (Förster, 2019, p. 85). At colonial times, the trade relationship was oftentimes not fair or voluntary (Förster, 2019, p. 85). The price reflected the economic and political power asymmetries (Förster, 2019, p. 85). Sometimes cultural objects have been acquired in the context of colonial wars, pillages or punitive expeditions (Förster, 2019, p. 86). Provenance research uncovers these circumstances. However, the German historian and specialist in African studies Jürgen Zimmerer fears that provenance research postpones a decision on the restitution of culture objects (Zimmerer, 2019). In this article, I would like to examine the legal point of view, the opinion of the museums and the view of the critics of the museums on the restitution of African cultural heritage.

From a legal perspective, following principle applies: Colonial goods are assumed to be unlawfully acquired until it can be demonstrated that this is not the case (Zimmerer, 2015, p. 24). Furthermore, the UN declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 2007 states that indigenous societies have the right to self-determination which also includes the access to ceremonial objects (Förster, 2019, p. 90). 

From the point of view of the museums, restitution is seen rather negatively. The Belgian director of the Africa Museum in Tervuren, Guido Gryseels, warns against insufficient infrastructures in Africa and empty museums in case of restitution (Kirchner, 2018). He claims that depositories and possibilities of restauration are unsatisfactory in African countries as Congo (Kirchner, 2018). Museums are defending their collections of colonial goods by insisting on extensive provenance research. Provenance research takes a lot of time as there are oftentimes only poor records about the object’s origin. It is thus difficult to find the owner of the cultural object as there may be a “chain of ownership” (Förster, 2019, p. 82). Sometimes it is not clear to whom these objects should be restituted: To the state of origin, the families, societies or the ancestors (Förster, 2019, p. 82)? 

The critics of the museums accuse the museums to not adequately deal with their past. With their exhibitions and representation practices, cultural differences and asymmetries of knowledge have been underlined and naturalized (Bobineau, 2019, p. 95). During the colonial era, European museums popularized racist stereotypes (Förster, 2019, p. 78). If the museums are not willing to look critically at their past, it is a wasted opportunity to come to terms with the past and to learn from it.

Some museums proposed to lend the objects to African museums or to create digital versions objects (Mangold, 2018). Both ideas would, however, contribute to a maintenance of power asymmetries between global north and global south. The restitution of colonial objects is therefore a good way to promote the Eurafrican dialogue and to eradicate postcolonial power asymmetries. Furthermore, restitution may be a chance to reconciliation and to dialogue. European politicians and museums should thus start getting proactive and not loose time with extensive provenance research. By engaging in an extensive provenance research in Europe, we reserve the right to determine the future of the objects that our ancestors acquired unlawfully.

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

References

Arend, I. (2019, July 15). Für eine neue Beziehungsethik zwischen Nord und Süd. Retrieved August 26, 2020, from https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/felwine-sarr-benedicte-savoy-zurueckgeben-fuer-eine-neue.950.de.html?dracm:article_id=453856

Bobineau, J. (2019). Koloniale Diskurse, afrikanische Epistemologien und das AfricaMuseum in Belgien. Zum Potential einer postkolonialen Interkulturalität bei Felwine Sarr und Bénédicte Savoy. interculture journal: Online Zeitschrift für interkulturelle Studien, 18(32), 87-102.

Förster, L. (2019). Der Umgang mit der Kolonialzeit: Provenienz und Rückgabe, 78-103.

Kassel, D., & Zimmerer, J. (2018, November 22). Koloniale Raubkunst – Ein Vorschlag von “globaler Tragweite”. Retrieved August 26, 2020, from https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/koloniale-raubkunst-ein-vorschlag-von-globaler-tragweite.1008.de.html?dram:article_id=433866

Kirchner, T. (2018, November 27). Koloniale Raubkunst: Alles zurück nach Afrika? Retrieved August 26, 2020, from https://www.sueddeutsche.de/kultur/raubkunst-kolonialgeschichte-afrika-1.4227660

Mangold, I. (2018, November 28). Das machen, was geht. Retrieved August 26, 2020, from https://www.zeit.de/2018/49/restitution-kunst-koloniale-raubkunst-provenienzforschung-transparenz

Zimmerer, J. (2015). Kulturgut aus der Kolonialzeit–ein schwieriges Erbe. Museumskunde, 80(2), 22-25.

Zimmerer, J. (2019, February 20). Die größte Identitätsdebatte unserer Zeit. Retrieved August 26, 2020, from https://www.sueddeutsche.de/kultur/kolonialismus-postkolonialismus-humboldt-forum-raubkunst-1.4334846

What Apple’s victory could mean for the future of tech giants in the EU

by Lea Schiller

In 2016, the European Union’s (EU) Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager’s efforts to control low taxes for big, multinational companies led to the Commission ordering Apple to pay back 13 billion euros in unpaid taxes to Ireland. Including interest, that number has now surpassed 14 billion – a sum that both Apple and the Irish government have submitted an appeal against. To understand why, and what this could mean for other tech companies in similar positions, one has to look into both the history of the case and Ireland’s economy.

Apple had already been under fire in the US for corporate tax avoidance in 2013, a case during which US senators called Ireland a tax haven for global companies. Three years later, the European Commission ordered Apple to compensate the Irish government for the taxes it had not paid between 2003 and 2014 due to a preferential tax deal. Such a deal that was not available to other companies, which made it a case of illegal state aid under the EU law. Now, Apple’s appeal was approved by the EU’s General Court, which argued that the Commission had failed to provide enough evidence to prove that Apple was receiving preferential treatment.

The Irish government stressed that it had been clear Apple had not received any special arrangement. That Ireland welcomed the decision is hardly surprising, considering that Dublin is the host of many other multinational companies – with its low corporate tax rate, the country is an attractive location for large corporations, and they provide a considerable number of jobs and income for the country. Receiving several billion euros in taxes is, at least for the Irish government, a penalty in this scenario. Apple CEO Tim Cook had been even more decisive in his judgement of the EU’s move to order Apple to pay back its taxes, saying it was “political crap”.

The EU now has two months to appeal the decision and is expected to do so. The EU’s appeal will then be presented to the EU’s highest court, the European Court of Justice, which will issue a final decision. Vestager stated she would study the judgement carefully and then decide on her next steps but added the Commission will continue to investigate aggressive tax deals to multinational companies.

Apple’s successful appeal has been called a landmark ruling – not least because Amazon and Google have submitted similar appeals that are still pending. Apple’s case could create a precedent and deliver a setback to the efforts that have been made towards curbing the monopolistic position of big tech companies in Europe.

Photo by Medhat Dawoud on Unsplash

References

Bodoni, S. & White, A. (2020, July 15). Apple Wins Fight Over $14.9 Billion Tax Bill in Blow to EU. Bloomberg. Retrieved from: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-15/apple-wins-eu-court-fight-over-14-9-billion-tax-bill

Espinoza, J., Beesley, A., Bradshaw, T. & Williams, A. (2020, July 16). Apple wins landmark court battle with EU over €14.3bn of tax payments. The Financial Times. Retrieved from: https://www.ft.com/content/1c38fdc1-c4b3-4835-919d-df51698f18c4

Ray, S. (2020, July 16). Apple Wins €13 Billion Tax Avoidance Case Against EU Antitrust Regulator. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/siladityaray/2020/07/15/apple-wins-13-billion-tax-avoidance-case-against-eu-antitrust-regulator/

Satariano, A. (2020, July 15). Apple Scores Legal Victory Against $14.9 Billion E.U. Tax Demand. The New York Times. Retrieved from: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/15/business/apple-eu-ireland-tax.html

What does the re-election of President Duda mean for Poland and the EU?

by Alexandra Reinhild Berndt

Poland’s President, Andrzej Duda has been re-elected for a second term (Walker, 2020). In this article, I will investigate the effects of Duda’s electoral campaign on Polish society and the implications of his re-election for Poland and the EU.

In his electoral campaign, Duda made use of an anti-European and anti-LGBT+ rhetoric which had a polarizing effect and consolidated anti-European attitudes (Zerka & Buras, 2020). Among his voters, he reinforced the notion that “Polish values are under threat in Europe” (Zerka & Buras, 2020). The President thus instrumentalized European problems for his purposes. Voters that support his party share traditional and nationalist values. Therefore, his anti-European strategy resonated well with his electorate. However, Duda not only stirred up hatred against the EU but also against the LGBT+ community. In his electoral campaign, Duda propagated traditional family values and made use of a homophobic rhetoric (Walker, 2020). His party condemned LGBT+ rights as a “foreign import that threatened Polish identity” (Henley, 2020). The President’s rhetoric received a great deal of attention in the older and Catholic electorate (Pronczuk & Santora, 2020).  Krawkow’s Archbishop Marek Jedraszewski even warned of a “rainbow plague” (Chadwick, 2019). This shows that Duda’s anti- LGBT+ rhetoric was particularly welcomed in conservative Catholic circles. Duda’s anti-European and anti-LGBT+ rhetoric thus further polarized the country. The societal division was especially clear due to the closeness of the election results. Duda’s opponent Rafal Trzaskowski secured 48,8% of the votes (Walker, 2020). The voter turnout was even above average with 68,18% showing the importance of the election (Pronczuk & Santora, 2020).

The Polish sociologist Maciej Gdula Duda is convinced that Duda’s welfare policy was a decisive factor for his electoral success (Broder, 2020). During his first term of office, Duda promoted direct benefit payments for families, which was highly appreciated (Broder, 2020). Furthermore, the PiS party was able to win voters from the working and middle class in rural areas by “promising to focus on their problems and to bring down the arrogant elites” (Ciobanu, 2020). Duda’s success was thus also based on his social policy and his positive attitude towards families.

Apart from its social policy, the President’s party, Law and Justice (PiS), characterized itself as fighting for Christianity “against foreign forces” (Pronczuk & Santora, 2020). The national conservative party argued that “Germany and other outside powers were trying to meddle into Poland’s affairs” (Pronczuk & Santora, 2020). This fight against foreign involvement was part of Duda’s strategy to distract from real problems.

In his campaign Duda was supported by public television (Walker, 2020). His liberal opponent, Trzaskowski, was frequently criticized or attacked, also for its positive attitude towards the LGBT+ community (Walker, 2020). The elections were thus held under an „unfair media environment“ (Tharoor, 2020). Despite these conditions, the opposition was able to secure a large amount of votes (around 48%). 

Duda’s re-election has several implications not only for Poland, but also for the European Union. Duda’s political agenda of the past years already suggests what he might plan for the future (Tharoor, 2020). He might adopt measures to further politicize and hollow out the judiciary and the media. The state’s system of checks and balances is expected to be further deteriorated and it is feared that democratic institutions are further dismantled as in Hungary (Henley, 2020). The re-election might thus put the Polish rule of law, judicial independence and media independence to the test. However, it also puts the European Union to the test (Zerka & Buras, 2020). The re-election makes it harder for the EU to guarantee that Polish citizens feel supported by the EU and to ensure the rule of law in the country (Zerka & Buras, 2020). Furthermore, it remains questionable whether President Duda will be able to persuade the European Union that minority rights are respected in Poland (Zerka & Buras, 2020). For the EU, Duda’s re-election raises important questions on how to respond to the politicisation of the judiciary and to the discrimination of minorities.

In conclusion, Duda’s anti-European and anti-LGBT+ rhetoric further polarized and divided the country. The fact that Duda’s opponent was supported by 48,8% shows how deeply divided the country is. Furthermore, Duda’s re-election is expected to put the Polish rule of law and independence of Poland’s judiciary to the test. The European Union is also put to the test as it is asked to find a response to these developments.

Photo by kyryll ushakov on Unsplash

References

Broder, D. (2020, July 16). Poland’s Far Right Is Distorting the Debate on Welfare – and Winning. Retrieved July 31, 2020, from https://jacobinmag.com/2020/07/poland-law-justice-party-andrzej-duda-lgbt

Chadwick, L. (2019, August 03). Archbishop warns of ‘rainbow plague’ amid LGBT tensions in Poland. Retrieved July 26, 2020, from https://www.euronews.com/2019/08/02/archbishop-warns-of-rainbow-plague-amid-lgbt-tensions-in-poland

Ciobanu, C. (2020, July 22). Election Blues: Why Poland’s Opposition Keeps Losing. Retrieved July 31, 2020, from https://balkaninsight.com/2020/07/22/election-blues-why-polands-opposition-keeps-losing/

Henley, J. (2020, July 13). Andrzej Duda’s re-election set to intensify Poland-EU tensions. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/13/andrzej-dudas-re-election-set-to-intensify-poland-eu-tensions

Pronczuk, M., & Santora, M. (2020, July 13). After tight race for Polish president, Andrzej Duda wins 2nd term. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/13/world/europe/poland-president-elections-Andrzej-Duda.html

Tharoor, I. (2020, July 15). Poland’s narrow election has big consequences for its democratic future. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2020/07/15/poland-election-duda-trump/

Walker, S. (2020, July 13). Duda narrowly re-elected in Poland in boost for ruling nationalists. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jul/13/incumbent-andrzej-duda-wins-polish-presidential-election-commission

Zerka, P., & Buras, P. (2020, July 14). Poland under Duda: A divided country, dividing Europe. Retrieved July 25, 2020, from https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_poland_under_duda_a_divided_country_dividing_europe

The Global Island: important victories of the Irish diplomacy

by André Francischetti Moreno

              Seán Lemass, an Irish politician who advocated for an active role of Ireland in the international community, said, “Irish people are citizens of the world as well as Ireland.” Often called “the global island” due to the worldwide presence of its diaspora, Ireland is now taking further steps to leave its footprints in the international political scenario. In the past years, the European country struck substantial diplomatic victories which go from assuming a protagonist role in the Brexit negotiations, to securing a seat on the United Nations Security Council and reaching the presidency of the Eurogroup. The latter two can be traced back to a public policy launched in 2018 by the Irish government whose main goal is to turn Ireland into a main political actor by 2025. 

              The United Kingdom`s decision to leave the EU raised several questions concerning the Irish border with Northern Ireland (UK), trade, cooperation between the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the UK, and the Good Friday Agreement. On the one hand, a no-deal Brexit which implied hard borders could undermine the regional political stability and revive old rivalries. Having this in mind, Dublin lobbied for the Northern Ireland Protocol, which was finalized by the European Commission and May’s government to guarantee a free-border island. On the other hand, Brexit’s economic damage severely affects both countries as their supply chains are highly integrated, and they are close trading partners. Only in 2018, goods exported to the UK amounted to roughly 11.5% of total Irish goods exports (nb the growth of the pound sterling is estimated to be 1% or 2% lower per annum after Brexit, which is bad for the Irish export business). Based on this interdependency, Ireland gained an important leverage power to bring the UK to a softer Brexit. Additionally, Ireland, Cyprus, and Spain were granted by the European Union with an enhanced role in the implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. The European Commission itself stated that it would respond positively to any requests of these countries.

              Global Ireland 2025 is an initiative that aims to increase Ireland’s role in Europe, the United Nations, and the world. In practice, this global vision involves, among others, opening up new embassies and consulates, building new air and sea connections, welcoming more international students, and expanding existing missions. A further aspect of the plan is to promote Ireland’s values of peace, humanitarianism, equality, and justice. The benefits of such a complex plan are various: presenting a unified and positive image of Ireland, increasing the infrastructure to support the Irish diaspora, developing tourism, doubling Eurozone exports and diversifying trade (beyond the UK), influencing multilateral institutions and attracting investment.

              In June, Ireland won a two-year-long seat for 2021/2022 in the United Nations’ Security Council, debunking the more influential and powerful candidate, Canada. Some reasons for that were the good relationship which Ireland sustains with the islands and African countries, its position in favor of a two-state solution in the Middle East and being the only EU country in the race. President Higgins highlighted that the campaign “engaged with social global issues such as peace-building and peacekeeping, the elimination of global poverty, the strengthening of multilateralism, and reform of the United Nations.” Irish PM Leo Varadkar declared that Ireland will use this position to advance causes such as “peace and security, conflict resolution, reconciliation, climate action, sustainable development, and gender equality.”

              One month later, Paschal Donoghoe, the Irish finance minister, won the presidency of the Eurogroup against the Spanish candidate, Nadia Calvino, who was preferred by countries such as France, Germany, Italy, Greece, and Spain. Facing a predicted recession for 2020 of 8.7% in the Eurozone, Donoghoe described himself as a “bridge-builder” who will seek to bring together conservative nations with the ones who have a looser approach to public finances. Donoghoe reinforced the importance of reinstating financial targets along with the recovery plan for the European economy. 

              In brief, the increasing presence of Ireland in key positions worldwide represents a significant shift in the more restrained international approach of the country in the post-2008 period. This phenomenon was influenced by the Brexit process, which pushed Ireland for an active role in the negotiations, and by the Global Ireland 2025 plan. Irish PM Leo Varadkar said that Ireland must assume a leadership role so as to be in the heart of the European community and, more ambitiously, at the “center” of the world. Lastly, one can see that it is noteworthy to keep an eye on the Celtic island because Ireland is on the rise.

Photo by Yan Ming on Unsplash

References

Amaro, S. (2020, July 10). Ireland wins euro zone’s top job in blow to high-indebted nations. Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/10/ireland-paschal-donoghoe-new-eurogroup-president-amid-covid-crisis.html

Brexit: The Facts. (n.d.). Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/brexit/brexit-the-facts

Brexit: The impact on Ireland: News: European Parliament. (2019, September 23). Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/eu-affairs/20170925STO84610/brexit-the-impact-on-ireland

Chadwick, L. (2020, July 09). Ireland’s Paschal Donohoe wins Eurogroup presidency. Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.euronews.com/2020/07/09/ireland-s-paschal-donohoe-wins-eurogroup-presidency-beating-spain-s-nadia-calvino

Connelly, T. (2019, December 13). Ireland granted enhanced role in EU’s Brexit process. Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.rte.ie/news/brexit/2019/1213/1098998-brexit-ireland/

Global Ireland: Ireland’s global footprint to 2025. (2018, June). Retrieved from https://www.ireland.ie/media/ireland/stories/globaldiaspora/Global-Ireland-in-English.pdf

Ireland. Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/ireland-brexit

Ireland wins seat on UN Security Council. (2020, June 17). Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53085335

Lynch, S., & McGee, H. (2020, June 18). Ireland wins seat on UN Security Council following ‘tough’ contest. Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/ireland-wins-seat-on-un-security-council-following-tough-contest-1.4281289

What is happening in Yemen and where does the EU stand?

by Lea Schiller

The civil war in Yemen began five years ago in 2015, when Shiite rebels named Houthi took control of its capital city Sana’a after negotiations with the government failed. In March, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia and support by the United States launched air strikes against the insurgents. Since then, numerous attempts at installing peace – including peace talks facilitated by the UN – failed, and regional powers such as the Gulf states and Iran continuously intervene in the conflict.

Meanwhile, the toll on Yemen’s population has been enormous. According to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, “four out of every five people” need lifesaving aid, which makes the number of Yemeni people dependent on relief efforts 24 million in total. More than eight million directly rely on UNICEF for water, and their operations in Yemen are so short of money that some are at risk of being shut down, which would leave millions without soap and water. Additionally, the war has displaced millions from their homes, many of them fleeing to neighbouring countries such as Djibouti.

And not only do precarious sanitary conditions and floods increase the risk of older diseases like malaria, dengue fever and cholera, but COVID-19 now poses an even bigger threat to the population of Yemen. Since the country recorded its first case on April 10th, the number has risen into the thousands. But considering the low testing rates and the disorganised situation in the country, the real numbers are likely to be much higher – and according to Guterres, it is likely that community transmission has already begun in Yemen. Mortality rates are among the highest in the world, which is not surprising given that trying to improve the country’s health services (such as hospital’s supplies of electricity and oxygen) is difficult when half the population does not have access to clean water.

What Yemen lacks is about 2 and a half billion US dollars in aid. The EU has given almost 500 million in humanitarian aid to Yemen, mostly focused on food, healthcare and hygiene measures. Nevertheless, Yemen is still in dire need of lifesaving aid, and according to UN Humanitarian Coordinator Mark Lowcock, gathering the money necessary to deliver aid is the biggest problem. But what Yemen needs most is peace. In October 2018, after the death of Saudi-Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the European Parliament called on its member states to stop weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. Germany responded with suspending all its arms exports to Saudi Arabia, but after pressure coming from the United Kingdom and France, where companies depend on German-made components to build their arms, the decision was revoked.

In the EU, the Common Position on arms export controls defines the criteria by which potential export licenses must be judged – including respect for human rights. But although it is legally binding, there is no mechanism to enforce it, and since defence policy lies with the member states’ sovereignty, it is often ignored in favour of commercial interests. And since EU-made arms have allegedly already been used in multiple strikes that involved civilian casualties and at the very least enabled Saudi Arabia to launch military intervention in Yemen in the first place, this begs the question how the EU can justify this next to its commitment to human rights and the rule of law. In France, minister Florence Parly first claimed that French weapons were not directly used in the war. When evidence of the contrary surfaced, she claimed there was no evidence that these weapons had been intentionally used against civilians. To hold onto its values and promote peace in the region, the EU needs to start enforcing its Common Position on export controls.

Bild von David Peterson auf Pixabay

References

European Commission. (2020, June 03). Yemen. Retrieved from: https://ec.europa.eu/echo/where/ middle-east/yemen_en

Funding shortfall affecting critical water, sanitation services in Yemen. (2020, June 12th). UN News.

Retrieved from: https://news.un.org/en/story/2020/06/1066192

Global Conflict Tracker. (n.d.). War in Yemen. Retrieved from: https://www.cfr.org/global-conflict- tracker/conflict/war-yemen

Kuzmanić, A., Perić, I. (2019, June 25). Yemen, a European humanitary disaster. Voxeurop. Retrieved from: https://voxeurop.eu/en/yemen-a-european-humanitary-disaster/

Mielcarek, R. (2019, October 4). Why is Europe still feeling the war in Yemen? The Nation. Retrieved from: https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/yemen-europe-weapons/

Oppenheim, B. (2019, September 18). Europe is at war over arms exports. Foreign Policy. Retrieved from: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/09/18/europe-is-at-war-over-arms-exports/

Yemen: ‘Hanging on by a thread’. (2020, June 2). UN News. Retrieved from: https://news.un.org/ en/story/2020/06/1065292

Yemen: Events of 2018. (2018, December). Yemen: Events of 2018. Retrieved from: https:// www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/yemen

Orbán instrumentalizes the Hungarian trauma of Trianon

by Alexandra Reinhild Berndt

     After World War I, in 1920, the Austro-Hungarian empire collapsed and Hungary was obliged to sign an agreement with the Allied Powers at the Trianon Palace in Versailles, France (Sandford & Magyar, 2020). Hungary lost two thirds of its territory and millions of people found themselves in another country from one day to another (2020, Ozsváth). Due to the immense loss of territory, almost every family experienced the consequence of Trianon, meaning that “every family has a family member who either had to leave their home and move to (the new) Hungary, or was separated for decades” (Sandford & Magyar, 2020). After World War II, Hungary was under the influence of the USSR. In the wake of the socialist doctrine, the Soviet Union aimed at pacifying the region and the trauma of Trianon was increasingly tabooed (Mdr.de, 2020). However, the conflict did not disappear. Now, 100 years after Trianon, the treaty still has an impact on national politics and the comprehension of history.

      The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, uses Trianon for his political purposes. Calling Trianon, a “dictate” (which calls to mind the right-extremist choice of words of the Nazi-Propaganda in the times of the Weimar Republic), Orbán creates a myth around Hungary’s past in order to consolidate and promote nationalist ideas (Mdr.dw, 2020). Orbán invested 14,5 Million Euro into a monument commemorating Trianon (Schlagwein, 2020).  The monument shows the names of all the 12.536 places that have been part of Hungary before World War I (Mdr.de, 2020). However, some of these places have never been populated by a Hungarian majority (Mdr.de, 2020). On the day of the centenary of Trianon, flags were at half-mast (Sandford & Magyar, 2020). By drawing attention to Trianon, Orbán not only promotes nationalist ideas, but also manipulates the national understanding of history.

      Orbán aims at creating a national feeling across borders in order to secure the electoral support of the Hungarian diaspora. Hungarian people living abroad are also granted the right to vote and a dual citizenship (Sandford & Magyar, 2020). Furthermore, Orbán supports the Hungarian diaspora financially by investing in Hungarian speaking schools, universities and churches (Fillinger & Nowotny, 2020).  The integration of the Hungarian diaspora has the purpose to generate a devoted and faithful electorate. 90% of the Hungarian diaspora living in Romania votes for Orban  (Fillinger & Nowotny, 2020). In Romania, the Hungarian minority is not well integrated in the society. Orbán actively supports the isolation of the Hungarian minority in Romania by financing Hungarian cultural and educational projects (Fillinger & Nowotny, 2020). By further contributing to the isolation of the Hungarian diaspora he not only secures important votes, but also creates a relationship of dependence which has a positive effect on his expansion of power.

      The isolation of the Hungarian minority, however, also leads to conflicts as in 2019, when Romanian nationalists and Hungarian nationalists disputed “the right to place crosses for Romanian soldiers in an international war cemetery which contains the remains of soldiers of multiple nationalities from both world wars” (Palfi, Asbóth, & Musaddique, 2019). In Slovakia, Hungarians are better integrated into the society. The party of the Hungarian minority has even been part of government from time to time (Fillinger & Nowotny, 2020). In Slovakia, only 50% of the Hungarian minority support Orbán. This shows that the more Orbán influences the Hungarian diaspora politically and financially, the more likely the electorate is to support him.

      In May 2020, Orbán published a post on Facebook showing a map of Hungary before World War I, before Trianon, on the occasion of the final history high school exams in the subject history (Schlagwein, 2020). This was an international scandal. The president of Slovenia, Borut Pahor expressed “rejection and concern” over the map (Walker, 2020). This shows that until today Trianon is a sensitive issue. However, approximately 85% of Hungarians see Trianon as Hungary’s “greatest tragedy” (Than & Fenyo, 2020). This shows that Orbán’s attempts to manipulate the country’s understanding of history was successful.

      In conclusion, Orbán successfully instrumentalized Trianon for its purposes. By drawing attention to Trianon, Orbán promoted nationalist ideas and manipulated the national understanding of history.  In the wake of the idea of the “dictate of Trianon”, Orbán can more easily mobilize his electorate and justify his extension of power. 

References

Fillinger, R., & Nowotny, S. (2020, June 02). 100 Jahre Vertrag von Trianon – Das ungarische Trauma und Orbans grossungarische Ambitionen. Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://www.srf.ch/news/international/100-jahre-vertrag-von-trianon-das-ungarische-trauma-und-orbans-grossungarische-ambitionen

Mdr.de. (2020, June 04). Trianon: Ein Friedensvertrag stiftet Unfrieden. Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://www.mdr.de/zeitreise/trianon-ungarn-friedensvertrag-geschichte-100.html

Ozsváth, S. (2020, June 03). 100 Jahre Vertrag von Trianon – Geschichtspolitik mit einem ungarischen Trauma. Retrieved June 26, 2020, from https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/100-jahre-vertrag-von-trianon-geschichtspolitik-mit-einem.976.de.html?dram:article_id=477909

Palfi, R., Asbóth, B., & Musaddique, S. (2019, June 10). Tensions flare between Romania and Hungary after cemetery incident. Retrieved June 26, 2020, from https://www.euronews.com/2019/06/07/romanian-crowd-break-into-austro-hungarian-world-war-i-graveyard

Sandford, A., & Magyar, Á. (2020, June 04). Trianon trauma: Why is the 1920 treaty a national tragedy for Hungary? Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://www.euronews.com/2020/06/04/trianon-trauma-why-is-the-peace-treaty-signed-100-years-ago-seen-as-a-national-tragedy

Schlagwein, F. (2020, June 03). 100 Jahre Trianon: Ungarns nationales Trauma. Retrieved June 26, 2020, from https://www.msn.com/de-de/nachrichten/other/100-jahre-trianon-ungarns-nationales-trauma/ar-BB14YEKr

Than, K., & Fenyo, K. (2020, June 05). One century on, Hungarians still feel World War One ‘injustice’. Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ww1-century-hungary-trianon/one-century-on-hungarians-still-feel-world-war-one-injustice-idUSKBN23B1SD

Veyder-Malberg, T. (2019, October 23). Geschichtspolitik in Ungarn: Opfermythos und Revolution. Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://www.mdr.de/nachrichten/osteuropa/politik/ungarn-geschichte-orban-opfermythos-100.html

Walker, S. (2020, June 04). Hungary marks treaty centenary as Orbán harnesses ‘Trianon trauma’. Retrieved June 25, 2020, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/04/viktor-orban-fuels-hungarian-nationalism-with-treaty-of-trianon-centenary