Here’s Kyle’s weekly roundup of news and readings from around Europe. This week:
- Political typography, or “Brexit and boldface”;
- One reason that Bosnia will have a hard time getting into the EU; and
- The past catches up with you (again).
- Also penguins.
Brussels sprouts a Brexit deal
What a week: We had European Council President Donald Tusk channeling Winston Churchill and British Prime Minister David Cameron (some say) channeling Neville Chamberlain over the EU reform package that will (maybe, possibly) keep the UK in Europe. Despite Cameron’s noises, there’s a lot of skepticism floating around about whether the deal that he worked out with the heads of government “meeting within the European Council” (so not with the European Council itself?), is actually “legally binding and irreversible” as Cameron has been saying.
The Council’s insistence on putting that phrase in bold wherever it appears on its website does little to convince on this point. I think they doth protest too much?
Some say good riddance, anyways.
Knocking on the big blue and yellow door
Bosnia officially applied for EU membership this week. Meanwhile it still needs to rewrite it’s constitution so that Jews, Roma, and non-Serbs/Croats/Bosniaks generally can stand for elected office. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2009 that Bosnia’s constitution, which reserves seats in the upper house of the legislature to a pre-defined distribution of Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks, violates the European Convention on Human Rights, since it bars other ethnic groups from office.
To be fair, that constitution was imposed by the Dayton Accords, and Richard Holbrooke didn’t exactly fall over himself to make the nascent Bosnian political system fully free and open when the Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks agreed to share power amongst themselves instead of shooting at each other.
Finally, there’s the concern that Bosnia’s elite will use the EU-membership application to further their domestic political careers.
How many times must a man …
… be accused of collaborating with the secret police? Legendary Solidarity leader and first president of post-Communist Poland Lech Wałęsa again faces the charge that he was a stooge for the Communist secret police.
From the Associated Press:
The newly discovered evidence implicating Walesa was found among documents seized this week from the home of the last communist interior minister, the late Gen. Czeslaw Kiszczak, said Lukasz Kaminski, the head of the National Remembrance Institute, a state body that investigates Nazi and communist-era crimes.
Kaminski said they include a commitment to provide information that is signed with Walesa’s name and codename “Bolek.” There are also pages of reports and receipts for money, signed “Bolek,” and dated from 1970-76.
Kaminski said the 279 pages of documents on Walesa seem to be authentic and will be made public in due course.
And now, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church interacts with penguins
Patriarch Kirill visited Antarctica last Wednesday, apparently to much acclaim from the locals.