The Economist : Europe
15h51 25  février
Skiing without lifts in France
THE MECHANICAL clatter of chairlifts and the bass beat of high-altitude bars are familiar soundtracks in an Alpine ski resort every winter. So the quiet of the mountains this season is startlingly strange. French ski resorts are instead alive to different sounds: children tobogganing, huskies...
15h51
How brave German hairdressers won a battle for human dignity
ldquo;HUMAN DIGNITY shall be inviolable.“ The first article of Germany’s constitution turns out to have surprisingly broad application. For while much of Germany’s service sector remains in the deep freeze, on March 1st Germany’s 80,000 hair salons will be allowed to reopen....
15h51
Europe’s underground abortion network
WANDER AROUND any Polish city and the same phone number pops up on an array of unlikely surfaces. It is scrawled on bus stops and billboards. It can be daubed on the side of a church. Head online and the same number ( 48 222 922 597) appears in people’s usernames. Those who dial it are put...
16h01 18  février
The rise of dirty politics in Europe
THE BOIS DE LA CAMBRE is the most handsome park in Brussels. Its 123 hectares offer mature forest and potential peace for the residents of the Belgian capital’s well-to-do southern suburbs. Naturally, the Belgians"among Europe’s biggest petrolheads"built a motorway through it....
16h01
Mario Draghi begins the toughest job in European politics
MARKETS HAVE a way of bowing before Mario Draghi, who on February 13th took charge of Italy’s 68th government in 75 years. Stocks soared the moment it was reported he had been asked to become prime minister. Three days after he took office, investors flocked to a bond auction, slashing...
16h01
Why Corsican number plates are popular
JUST OVER a decade ago, France dropped a rule that had obliged motorists to change their car’s number plate each time they moved house to a new administrative département. The point was to ensure, in true bureaucratic style, that the vehicle’s plate matched the place of residence. Since...
16h01
The Kremlin’s criticism of Alexi Navalny is making him more popular
FIRST THEY ignored him. Then they smeared his underpants with Novichok, a nerve agent. When he survived that, they jailed him. And now they are trying to demonise him. After years of refusing to utter his name in public for fear of making him seem important, the Kremlin is levelling its most...
19h06 15  février
Catalonia’s separatists score another victory, but a hollow one
CATALANS PRIDE themselves on their seny, their hard-headed common sense. Yet when it comes to politics, as Jaume Vicens Vives, a great Catalan historian of the mid-20th century, pointed out, they have more often acted with its opposite: rauxa, or emotional impulsiveness. In the run...
15h49 11  février
Covid-19 school closures are widening Europe’s class divisions
NO ONE IS ever truly ready for lockdown. But when the Netherlands closed its schools in December, the Herman Wesselink College, a high school in a well-off suburb of Amsterdam, was readier than most. About half its students have parents who completed higher education. Nearly all have their own...
15h49
Mario Draghi is set to become Italy’s next prime minister
WAS THERE ever a luckier prime minister than Mario Draghi? Or an unluckier one? He is set to come into office with around 200bn ( 240bn) from the EU’s recovery funds to spend. But he will also take over Europe’s worst-performing economy in a pandemic and with a parliamentary...
15h49
Shelters fear an influx of no-longer-wanted lockdown pets
ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER owned a succession of pet poodles. Franz Kafka maintained that “all knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers is contained in the dog.” Frederick the Great exclaimed: “The more I see of men, the better I like my dog.” Pets have been...
15h49
Turkey’s president scapegoats gay-friendly students
SQUADRONS OF armed policemen block the entrance. Metal barriers line the avenue leading up to the campus. Snipers occasionally emerge on nearby rooftops. Bogazici University has long been considered one of Turkey’s most prestigious. Today it resembles a besieged terrorist hideout. That,...
15h49
The European Union must face up to the real Russia
WHEN ROBERT CONQUEST, a historian, was working on a new edition of “The Great Terror” , his seminal text on Stalin’s crimes, he was told to come up with a new title. The book had described the horrors of the Soviet Union at a time when apologism for it was still rife. By the time...
15h55 04  février
A Swedish film festival has just one attendee
WHEN THE Goteborg Film Festival offered the chance for a film fan to spend seven days alone on an island, with only 60 films for company, the organisers weren’t sure if anyone would want to apply. The pandemic has been isolating enough, even for Swedes, who have yet to lock down like other...
10h03
Russia’s regime is weakened by putting Alexei Navalny in jail
JUDGING BY THE security measures, you would have thought Moscow was experiencing a terrorist attack. Police in riot gear surrounded the capital’s main court and blocked the approaches. Muscovites suspected of being protesters were whisked away and bundled into police vans. By lunchtime 350...
22h22 03  février
How Europe dodges responsibility for its vaccine fiasco
AT THE END of December, a smiling Ursula von der Leyen appeared in front of a camera to hail the beginning of the EU’s vaccination programme. The president of the European Commission boasted that from Sofia to Helsinki Europeans were being jabbed with drugs bought collectively and...
22h05
Mario Draghi is summoned to form Italy’s government
IN CERTAIN COUNTRIES, when the politicians are considered to have failed, it is time for an unsmiling general to appear on television to announce he has seized power. In Italy, the procedure is more benign: a man in a well-cut suit, usually one with a successful career as a central banker behind...
23h12 01  février
Why Germany won’t kill Nord Stream 2
IN THE CHILL waters off Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic sea, a complex game of cat-and-mouse is playing out. A flotilla of Russian boats is rushing to complete the construction of Nord Stream 2, a 1,230km (765-mile) gas pipeline that would double capacity from Russia to Germany. Less...
15h48 28  janvier
How the pandemic reversed old migration patterns in Europe
AFTER A DECADE in Britain, it took Alexej Kirillov barely 24 hours to decide to leave. In March 2020, as Europe’s borders slammed shut, Mr Kirillov, a 31-year-old strategy consultant, had a choice: lockdown in a costly, lonely London flat or go home to the Czech Republic and be close to...
15h48
Germany’s economic prospects for this year have darkened
IF EUROPE’S ECONOMIES were a brass band, Germany’s would be the tuba: the biggest, most reliable generator of oom-pah-pah on a continent of cornets and bugles. Last spring it coped with the sharpest recession since the second world war better than its neighbours, thanks to a shorter and...