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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Fundamental rights: challenges and achievements in 2010

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Date added: 11/13/2011
Date modified: 11/13/2011
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Annual Report

2010 marked the first year the European Union (EU) operated on the basis of a legally binding bill of rights - the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. This year's annual report of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights puts the spotlight on the achievements and challenges of the EU and its Member States as they strive to inject robust life into their fundamental rights commitments.

Steps forward in 2010 included, among many, the reinforcement of a fundamental rights check of EU legislative proposals and the adoption of the regulation on the Citizen's initiative - an important new EU participatory democracy tool. Moves by several Member States to strengthen or create National Human Rights Institutions or the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights or Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) by the EU complemented this picture.

Still, there is no room for complacency. The EU continues to face various issues of concern in the fundamental rights field, such as persisiting and extreme poverty as well as social exclusion among Roma communities and deteriorating conditions of asylum seekers in certain Member States. In 2010, the European Court of Human Rights delivered over 600 judgments for violations of human rights against almost all 27 EU Member States.

This report examines progress on EU and Member States rights obligations under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU, covering the following topics: situation of Roma in the EU; asylum immigration and integration; border control and visa policy; information society and data protection; the rights of the child and protection of children; equality and non-discrimination; racism and ethnic discrimination; participation of EU citizens in the Unions democratic functioning; access to efficient and independent justice; and victims' protection.

Understanding and preventing discriminatory ethnic profiling: A guide

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Date added: 11/13/2011
Date modified: 11/13/2011
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11/10/2010 - October 2010Understanding and preventing discriminatory ethnic profiling: A guide

When a decision to stop an individual is motivated solely or mainly by virtue of a person's race, ethnicity or religion, this constitutes discriminatory ethnic profiling. Such practices can serve to alienate certain communities in the EU, and in turn can contribute to inefficient policing. The FRA guide aims to help the police address and avoid discriminatory ethnic profiling, and is designed to be used as a tool for more effective policing.

 

‘Ethnic profiling' is not a new practice in the Member States of the European Union, but it appears to have become more prominent in reaction to the terrorist bombings in the United States of America (USA, 2001), Madrid (2004) and London (2005), as well as increased concerns over illegal immigration. The guide gives insight on how to understand and prevent the discriminatory practice of ethnic profiling.

The FRA interviewed 23,500 people with an ethnic minority and immigrant background about their experiences of police stops, and in ten Member States the majority population was also interviewed to be able to compare findings. Read more on the EU-MIDIS mini-site.

FRA Director Morten Kjaerum: "Evidence shows that in a number of EU Member States a person belonging to a minority is more likely to be stopped by the police than a person belonging to the majority population. This finding highlights the problem of potentially discriminatory ethnic profiling practices, which can be in conflict with laws relating to discrimination." Read more in the press release.

The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) is publishing on 11 October, at a Symposium of the European Police College (CEPOL), results from the first EU-wide survey on police stops and minorities.

The New Face of Digital Populism

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Date added: 11/13/2011
Date modified: 11/13/2011
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Populist parties and movements are now a force to be reckoned with in many Western European countries. These groups are known for their opposition to immigration, their 'anti-establishment' views and their concern for protecting national culture. Their rise in popularity has gone hand-in-hand with the advent of social media, and they are adept at using new technology to amplify their message, recruit and organise.

The online social media following for many of these parties dwarfs the formal membership, consisting of tens of thousands of sympathisers and supporters. This mélange of virtual and real political activity is the way millions of people — especially young people — relate to politics in the 21st century.

This is the first quantitative investigation into these digital populists, based on over 10,000 survey responses from 12 countries. It includes data on who they are, what they think and what motivates them to shift from virtual to real-world activism. It also provides new insight into how populism — and politics and political engagement more generally — is changing as a result of social media.

The New Face of Digital Populism calls on mainstream politicians to respond and address concerns over immigration and cultural identity without succumbing to xenophobic solutions. People must be encouraged to become actively involved in political and civic life, whatever their political persuasion — it is important to engage and debate forcefully with these parties and their supporters, not shut them out as beyond the

The Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on Education and Healthcare in the Economies of the Form

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Date added: 10/14/2011
Date modified: 10/14/2011
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By Nina Cainarean, Eugenia Veverita and Petru Veverita.

The paper reviews the impact of the global financial crisis on public service delivery in the Republic of Moldova.

This study reviews the impact of the global financial crisis on public service delivery in the Republic of Moldova. It provides a background of the country's development in the period prior to the crisis (2000 to 2007/2008) and presents the factors which determined the country's fiscal performance during the crisis (2008-2010).

The main aim of the study is to describe the changes in education and health financing and the associated changes in service delivery during the crisis. The presentation of the reforms in the social sector is necessary to set the stage for discussion and is not a primary goal of this study.

In particular, the study analyzes the size and dynamics of public financing of education and healthcare and their intra-sector structure, as well as crisis management. It measures the impact the financial crisis had on the quality and reliability of public services and analyzes policy measures undertaken by the government to mitigate crisis' impact.

Conclusions and recommendations derived from the study should enable national policy-makers and international institutions supporting public finance reforms to improve the targeting of limited public resources both between and within individual sectors.

Development, security and energy: improving coherence

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Date added: 10/14/2011
Date modified: 10/14/2011
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By Amelia Hadfield, Richard Youngs

The ethos of EU development policy is changing. Incorporating both political and security goals, EU development co-operation has taken on a more holistic identity. It is increasingly linked to more ambitious outcomes in which good governance, human rights, conflict resolution and the challenges of sustainability all play a part.

This widened scope provides a platform to engage with EU policy on energy security. This document, funded under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities theme of EDC2020 and co-ordinated by EADI, provides a snapshot of the policy connections linking development, broad security goals and specific energy objectives.

Can the EU effectively manage a policy nexus between securitised development and energy security? It certainly has the potential to do so. But fundamental policy changes are required before it can claim to be on the road towards this goal.