Seven Days in Europe

Dominating European news this week has been the naming and shaming of tax cheats in a Greek magazine, and the resulting fallout. Journalist Costas Vaxevanis was arrested on Sunday for publishing the names of 2,059 Greeks with Swiss bank accounts in the magazine he edits, Hot Doc. He faces up to two years in prison for breaking privacy rules if convicted. His defence lawyers have argued that he is being prosecuted for no reason – none of the people named on the list have filed a complaint about privacy violation. Media providers in Greece staged 24-hour rolling strikes in protest against deteriorating press freedoms and austerity cuts affecting labour rights.

The latest EU unemployment figures were published – in September 2012 the Euro area unemployment rate was 11.6%, and the EU27 rate was 10.6%. The Member States with the lowest unemployment rates were Austria, Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands (all around 5%), and the highest unemployment rates were in Greece and Spain (both about 25%). The full report is available here.

EU-Ukraine relations appeared to be taking a turn for the worse, with reports on the recent Ukrainian election pointing out a number of fetters to the operation of democracy. According to observers voters were bribed with gifts, certain candidates were threatened with violence, campaign workers had their tents torn down and there was widespread use of dirty tactics. Also criticised was the exclusion of former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko.

France plans to introduce equal marriage and gay adoption next year, which has majority support from the public. However, there have been protests against passing the Bill, including a bizarre dance performed by a man dressed as a bird which appears to warn about the dangers of children being raised by single sex couples.

Upcoming event: on Monday 12 November 2012 the UK Association for European Law is hosting a lecture by Lady Justice Arden at the Edmund J Safra Lecture Theatre, King’s College, WC2R 2LS. For more details or to reserve your place please visit the UKAEL website.

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