Daniele Fulvi

The Austrian legislative elections, held on October 15, finished with one clear winner: 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, who leads the conservative Austrian People’s Party (OVP). His party emerged as the biggest political force in the country, winning 31.7% of the votes and 61 of the 183 seats in Austrian parliament’s lower house, the National Council.

Kurz is now set to become Austria’s new chancellor – the youngest in the country’s history – and thereby completing his meteoric rise to the top.

The picture that emerges from the German elections, held on September 24, is cause for concern on multiple fronts — especially in the surge to the neo-Nazi Alternative for Germany (AfD).

Alongside Chancellor Angela Merkel winning a fourth term and the clear defeat of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the shadow of a resurgent neo-Nazism casts a serious threat not only for Germany itself, but all of Europe.

Western Sydney University (WSU) staff went on strike on September 20 over stalled negotiations on their pay and working conditions. The half-day strike and rally, called by the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), took place at WSU’s Parramatta City Campus.

University management has delayed the bargaining process by unilaterally removing core entitlements from the NTEU’s enterprise agreements, while resisting members’ key demands. Staff at WSU say they are concerned about looming job cuts, the downgrading of classifications, increased workloads and job insecurity.

More than 800 Somali and Eritrean refugees were violently evicted on August 24 from a building they were occupying in the centre of Rome. The occupation, which began in 2013, had come to symbolised the inefficient and broken nature of refugee reception policies in Italy.

A new wave of neo-fascist sentiment has been emerging in recent years in Europe, endangering the basis of Western democracy.

Just think of the Ukraine, where the Communist Party has been banned, or Hungary, where the President Viktor Orban built an anti-migrant wall along the Serbian border (and is about to build a new one). Or Poland, where the parliament recently approved an illiberal law designed to limit the autonomy of the judiciary, subordinating it to the diktats of the justice minister.

An informal summit of interior ministers from all European Union member states was held on July 7 in Tallinn, Estonia. The first issue on the agenda was migrants.

At the recent G7 summit, held May 26-27 in Taormina, Italy, US President Donald Trump said the US was going to leave the Paris Agreement on climate change, a move that may have a devastating effect for the whole planet.

In response to Trump’s declarations, German Chancellor Angela Merkel labelled Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May as unreliable partners, saying “we must fight for our own future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans”.

In recent weeks, there have been some worrying developments in the Italian political scene. Extremist, anti-refugee and xenophobic ideas are increasingly gaining ground.

In a growing climate of uncertainty and social instability, all major political forces seem to be riding the wave of discontent to raise their electoral profiles, rather than trying to calm things down.

It is official: solidarity and activism are, according to the Ukrainian government, criminal acts. It seems paradoxical, but it is true.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Petro Poroshenko has demanded the Italian government extradite members of the so-called Anti-Fascist Caravan (AFC), a group of activists who recently visited the separatist region of Donbass in eastern Ukraine.

Italian Democratic Party (PD) members re-elected former prime minister Matteo Renzi as party secretary with 70% of the votes in primaries on April 30. Renzi’s re-election carries important significance for both Italy and Europe.

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