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The EU is making life hard for refugees

Four months ago, a 20-metre long fishing boat carrying more than 500 migrants from Libya sank near Lampedusa, an island of  the coast of Italy. More than 360 people died before the rescue services could reach them. Although many were shocked that such a tragedy could occur at the frontiers of Europe, at least the incident sparked a hope that ... Read More »

Die Energiewende: Germany’s Green Transformation

In the latest edition of our magazine, Japan’s path towards sustainable development was assessed with concluding lessons other states could learn from the country in the Far East. In this article another contender for rigorous green transformation appears: Germany. Can the Energy Transformation campaign prove that prowess and willpower can overcome the current political impotence? Indeed, Germany is taking a ... Read More »

Interview: The Life of a Diplomat: a Football Match

The word diplomat always invokes a promise of success and adventure, at least among many IR/IO students. Checks&Balances interviewed Jan Willem Bertens, who was not only a diplomat in Uruguay, Costa Rica and Sudan, but also the party leader of D66 in the European Parliament. Above all, Bertens is a passionate story-teller, with plenty to talk about: he built a ... Read More »

Has Global Warming Reached its Expiry Date?

The 2013 UN Climate Change Conference in Poland is being considered an utter failure. With 132 walkouts and an all but promising final agreement, one might conclude that creating follow-up for Kyoto has fallen out of most countries national interest. So what are we doing wrong? As early as 1917, Alexander Graham Bell wrote about fossil fuels causing the greenhouse ... Read More »

Hollande’s fall off the governmental pedestal

Recently, it became public that French President François Hollande has been having an affair with actress Julie Gayet for two years. The news reached the headlines of reputable international and European papers and websites such as the BBC and LA Times. Public opinion in France’s neighbouring countries was judgemental to say the least. Surprisingly, the French themselves were rather laconic ... Read More »

Milk, Politics and other Perceptions

Since the early days of this year’s October, Russia has been imposing restrictions on imports of dairy products from Lithuania. Gennady Onishchenko, the chief of the Russian consumer protection service Rospotrebnadzor, has officially declared that some of the Lithuanian products failed to meet the requirements of quality and adequate safety. However, the officials of Lithuania and the European Union consider ... Read More »

Minority Scape Goats

They met each other in a small village not far away from Zagreb. On a dusty road under a linden tree they had their first kiss, it was love at first sight. He was young, divorced, with two kids, while she was simply a beauty, way more than an ordinary village girl. Meet Jelena and Goran, a Roma couple from ... Read More »

Study Abroad: Scotland

Checks&Balances is writing a series of blogs from IRIO students studying abroad. Sander des Tombe is currently studying in Aberdeen, Scotland. In a stroll through the city, I noticed the absence of sale signs and I came to understand that Aberdeen’s house prices have actually doubled over the last ten years. Along with London, Aberdeen is unique in the U.K. ... Read More »

Russian Film, Art and Music… In Groningen!

Russia has received quite a lot of attention in the last few weeks. The media have emphasized the new laws on gay propaganda, the upcoming G20 meeting in Saint-Petersburg and of course, Russia’s stance on the possibility of a military intervention in Syria. These are all very important political questions that have rightly received a lot of media attention. But ... Read More »

How fair is free internet?

Every person in the music industry works hard to be innovative, progressive and creative. This is how they make a living. However, through the illegal spreading of intellectual property, many musicians see their hard work unrewarded. How can the European Union be of assistence to the musician who works hard to make a record, only to see it being downloaded ... Read More »