Brussels

Peter Boyle reports from Brussels that European left and green parliamentarians condemned Turkey's invasion of Rojava, the democratic autonomous liberated zone in North and East Syria, at an international conference on February 5–6.

The first-ever major report looking into the secretive workings of the Big Four accountancy firms that assist individuals and companies to evade taxes has been released by members of European Parliament from the European United Left-Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) who sit on the European Parliament’s Panama Papers inquiry committee.

The study analyses the size, scope and location of the activities of the Big Four accounting firms. Its findings include that these firms are heavily over-represented in tax havens when compared with the population size and GDP, where they make exceptional profits.

As the initial horror and outrage of the attacks in Paris on November 13 subside, the impacts they are already having on French and European society are becoming clearer. A state of emergency has been declared by the French government and will persist for up to three months. French officials announced on November 17 that France would see an extra 115,000 police officers, gendarmes and soldiers deployed across the country. In this context, rational debate is being restricted and progressive movements are on the defensive. Refugees
More than 85 people, including children, drowned or went missing near the Greek Islands Lesbos, Samos, Kalymnos and Rhodes between October 28 and 30. As numbers, these deaths are added to the more than 3400 who have already died trying to flee to Europe so far this year. As human lives, these represent an incalculable loss and moral failure by European leaders.
Activists from France's Left Front. The Left Front is divided by strategic debates over how to confront Europe-wide austerity. Five key figures of the European left have launched a new initiative “for a Plan B in Europe”.
30,000 people marched in Vienna on August 31 to demonstrate against inhumane treatment of refugees. In less than a fortnight a series of tragedies took place on the borders of Europe, spurring a continent-wide debate over refugee policy. On August 26, about 200 refugees perished at sea as their ship capsized off the coast of Libya on its way to Italy.
The message from the mainstream media and parties across Europe is Greece is to blame for its own predicament. But a growing grass-roots movement across the continent is pushing for an alternative approach that demands democracy, not austerity. In a speech to the Belgian parliament on June 10, conservative Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel declared that “the end of the Greek holiday has sounded.”
More than 5000 people rallied in Brussels on June 21.
An international campaign for the release of jailed Basque pro-independence leader Arnaldo Otegi was launched at a conference in the European Parliament in Brussels on March 24. A calling for Otegi’s release was announced at the conference, which has been endorsed by international figures including former Latin American presidents, Nobel Prize winners, political representatives and former political prisoners.
Images of rioting protesters and burning cars in Brussels were published in mainstream media across the globe on November 7. The previous day’s protest in Brussels did end in violent clashes, with 50 injured and 30 arrested, but it was the spirited but peaceful demonstration of 120,000 Belgians that was the key aspect of the day.
Subscribe to Brussels