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As much as we’d want to believe POLITICO’s claim that “sexual harassment runs rampant” at the EU Institute for Gender Equality, it’s a bit hyperbolic

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The impression that is strongest, after reading the article, is that of one or two anonymous interns have been hit hard by things that happened to them. What happened to them, doesn’t become completely clear. What does become clear, is that Politico can’t really prove its – repeated – accusations of a ‘culture of sexual harassment’. It proves inappropriate behaviour took place, just as well as it proves that this behaviour wasn’t accepted.
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    EU claims it’s the biggest donor to Developmental Aid, but conflates Member States’ own contributions and internal spending on refugees

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • So we have a supra-national organisation broadly claiming the accomplishments of its member states as its own. Using, it might be added, not its effectiveness, but spending as ‘claim to fame’, which is the worst possible measurement. Then we are confronted by a Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development who seems unsure about the meaning of a decrease in ODA. Who, in reaction to this, blindly insists “we need to do more”.
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    European Parliament planning stuff again, including “inter-religious dialogue focussing on persecution of non-believers”

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • Last, but not least, there is an interesting case of “phrasing!” going on. Based on initiatives (PDF) dating back to 1994, the EU has engaged in “regular meetings” between EU institutions and “European churches, religious associations and non-confessional organisations.” However, “this time the inter-religious dialogue will focus on the issue of discrimination and  around the world.”
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    EU wants Belgian railways to offer additional trains for Members and staff. Metro ‘too complicated’, 5-minute walk too long

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • In Brussels, the European Parliament is located at Wiertzstraat 60 less than 500 grueling meters removed from Brussels-Luxemburg Station. If we assume the MEP’s survive this five-minute walk, they are confronted by the fact that the NMBS, the Belgian Railways, operates only one direct train to Brussels Airport every hour, which takes them there in 21 minutes. Now, one train every hour isn’t a lot. But if you miss it, there is another train 8 minutes later, which takes you to Brussels Noord, where you transfer.
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    European Parliament’s new anti-terrorism report: “Radicalisation not to be associated with any one ideology or faith, may occur within any of them”

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • “whereas, because of terrorism and radicalisation, there is much stereotyping of religions, which in turn is bringing about renewed upsurges of hate crimes and hate speech motivated by racism, xenophobia or intolerance of opinions, beliefs or religions; whereas it must be pointed out that it is the perverse misuse of religion, and not religion per se, that is one of the causes of radicalisation.”
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    European Parliament calls for three new taxes “to match EU’s ambitions”, despite being €24.7 billion behind in payments

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The clip also claims that MEP’s stress that EU taxpayers should not have to pay more. Instead, the EU needs to find new, own resources. The clip’s suggestions?

    “a financial transaction tax, a digital sector tax, and a share of corporate tax revenue or environmental taxes.”

    It is hard to see how more taxes are ‘own resources’, rather than, well, more taxes.

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    Slovak journalist murdered after exposing political corruption, so the European Parliament sent six MP’s on a two-day symbolic investigation

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • The delegation went to Slovakia for two days, which is not long for what is a complicated investigation. It then took time to go and visit the place where the bodies were found. Which just sounds like some sort of tourist-trip: hardly a place to go for a delegation investigating the political implications of the murder, especially when there isn’t much time.
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    EU’s anti-fake news bureau sued for spreading fake news. Dutch parliament now calls for its abolition

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • “With regard to the article in question, we accept that the original wording used on the geenstijl.com (sic) website – ‘fascist political undercurrent’ – was incorrectly transcribed into the EUvsDisinfo database as ‘fascistic country’. For this reason, we can confirm that the item in question has been permanently removed from the EUvsDisinfo database.”
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    Analysis: EU sets 6-month deadline for Social Media Platforms to remove “Online trolls, haters and terrorist propaganda”. As usual, the plan makes very little sense

  • By: Vincent van den Born
  • There doesn’t seem to be a clear, logical argument in this quote. Yet the EU selected it for one of its tweets. It is certainly true that online trolls and haters cannot limit our rights to express ourselves. She might mean that they cannot be allowed to do so, but it doesn’t say that. The suggestion now is that she is fighting ‘online trolls and haters’ who cannot limit rights, by setting up a system that will in effect do so, in the name of ‘online justice’.
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