Symβiosis aims to provide resources, commentaries and analysis, on political, social and cultural ideas and developments affecting change and policy, original and creative, based on arguments, able to propose and debate solutions to critical issues, maintaining a broad intellectual scope and global reach that readers need to understand the choices shaping lives, and reflecting on Greece, the Balkans, Europe and the world.




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Safeguarding human rights in times of economic crisis

Date added: 12/18/2013
Date modified: 12/18/2013
Filesize: 1.19 MB
Downloads: 803

Issue Paper published
by the
Council of Europe
Commissioner for Human Rights

Europeans are living through the deepest economic recession since the Second World War. What began as a meltdown of the global financial system in 2008 has been transformed into a new political reality of austerity which threatens over six decades of social solidarity and expanding human rights protection across Council of Europe member states. The initial government responses to the economic crisis were characterised by unprecedented fiscal and monetary policies aimed at guaranteeing social protection while stimulating economic demand to prevent a full-blown global depression.
However, since 2010, many governments have focused on austerity policies as emergency measures, often side-stepping regular channels of participation and accepted democratic checks and balances. European and international institutions of economic governance have also assumed a central role in enforcing austerity.

Exceptional in Europe? Spain’s experience with immigration and integration

Date added: 03/27/2013
Date modified: 03/27/2013
Filesize: 1.97 MB
Downloads: 1160

By Joaquín Arango
Complutense University of Madrid
© 2013 Migration Policy Institute

In just a decade, Spain’s foreign-born population increased from less than 4 percent of the total population to almost 14 percent. Fewer than 1.5 million immigrants resided in Spain in 2000, compared to 6.5 million in 2009. But unlike other European countries, Spain has not seen a significant backlash against immigration, even amid an economic crisis that has hit the country hard and led to extremely high levels of unemployment — especially among immigrants.
This enduring openness can be explained by a few key political and structural factors. Most Spaniards still view immigration through the lens of the labor market: since the mid-1980s, immigrants have provided needed labor to sustain economic growth and offered valuable services to families, and they still do so in the present day, with immigrants comprising close to one-fifth of the employed population. Spain’s history with immigration remains relatively new, therefore the demographic profile of immigrants is predominantly one of young adults active in the labor force. Here, the second generation of immigrants has yet to fully come of age, as it has in other European countries. Furthermore, Spain’s distinct political culture, which emerged following the end of the Franco dictatorship, discourages public statements that could be perceived as undermining the democratic values of equality and liberty. Groups in favor of immigration are large, active, and vocal in their opposition to any sentiments that could be seen as racist, xenophobic, or simply hostile to immigrants. There is a widespread belief that immigrants are entitled to the same rights as other members of society.

Current Research on Citizenship Education in Europe

Date added: 02/16/2013
Date modified: 02/16/2013
Filesize: 587.61 kB
Downloads: 1332

A Trinity of Transformation, Europeanisation, and Democratisation?
Reinhold Hedtke, Tatjana Zimenkova, Thorsten Hippe

Although a lot of stock-taking research on citizenship education in European countries has already be done, some key features of citizenship education especially in transformation countries are not understood as yet. The authors briefly outline the state of the art and criticize its main shortcomings. As a result, they suggest a research agenda to enhance the knowledge about citizenship education with respect to its interconnectedness with processes of transformation and to its embeddedness into different political cultures, institutions and democracies. They propose to realise multi-level and multi-actor case studies which perceive citizenship education as an organisational issue, too.

Europe: is democracy at stake?

Date added: 10/11/2012
Date modified: 10/11/2012
Filesize: 190.84 kB
Downloads: 1069

Qüestions CIDOB, núm. 16

Roberto Toscano, Senior Research Fellow Associate, CIDOB, interviewed by Oleguer Sarsanedas

While a number of countries are de facto intervened by the so-called Troika (the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund: all unelected) and the Men in Black have set up a permanent camp in Athens, Lisbon, Dublin, Rome and Madrid, decisions are increasingly taken by officials perceived by citizens as aloof and far removed from day-to-day street-level concerns. Pro-Europeanism is at an all-time low throughout the Union and voter disaffection with European institutions is growing fast, as reflected by the fact that fringe parties (to the right and to the left) are moving to center stage in several countries (bailed-out and not bailed-out alike).
Roberto Toscano is not outright pessimistic about the prospects of democracy in Europe (...)

Multiple discrimination against Muslim women in Europe: for equal opportunities

Date added: 08/02/2012
Date modified: 08/02/2012
Filesize: 169.38 kB
Downloads: 1109

CoECouncil of Europe - Parliamentary Assembly

Committee on Equality and Non-Discrimination
Rapporteur: Ms Athina KYRIAKIDOU, Cyprus, Socialist Group

In Council of Europe member States where Islam is not the religion of the majority of the population, Muslim women face multiple discrimination as women, as part of a religious minority and sometimes for being of immigrant origin. They are often victims of stereotyping, since their religious beliefs are seen as the only defining element of their identity.
It is time to take a new approach since many Muslim women want to be actors of change and empowerment. Rather than being isolated, stigmatised or forced into a stereotype, Muslim women should be encouraged in their quest for equal opportunities in society. Positive measures should be introduced to make it possible for Muslim women to be protagonists of their own empowerment. Investing in education, encouraging networking and the participation in civil and public life, as well as accompanying them in their professional development are key actions in order to raise Muslim's women awareness of their rights and help them realise their full potential.