Press Review April 9th 2014

On Tuesday, the EU court in Luxembourg has struck down a law on internet and phone surveillance which had raised concerns of snooping and invasion of privacy due to its loose wording. The directive obliges internet and phone companies to store data on who contacts whom, when, how often, and from which locations, for between six months and two years so that government agencies can use it to hunt down “serious crime.” Yesterday’s ruling means the directive is now null and void, after having already been transcribed into national law in most member states. High-profile figures around the court previously commented that the directive was incompatible with Article 7 of the EU’s Charter on Fundamental Rights, which states that “everyone has the right to respect for his or her private and family life, home and communications.”

EU Observer looks at failing Roma policies across Europe, with a focus on the Slovakian city of Kosice and the Belgium city of Ghent. After a recent tearing down of apartment blocks in Kosice with no alternatives being provided, many Roma were expected to arrive in Ghent, which has long been a preferred destination due to the city being perceived as hospitable and accommodating. However, the influx of migrants seeking to “escape a poor country,” as Ghent mayor Daniel Termont puts it, is putting strains on Ghent’s economy and social life, even if in the end few Roma citizens from Kosice arrived in Ghent. The article highlights the failure of the newer, eastern member states to integrate the largest ethnic minority in Europe.

Der Spiegel provides an in-depth look at the differences between NATO and Germany’s military policies. From the end of the Cold War onward, Western states focused less and less on deterrence, hence they were caught by surprise by the current Ukraine crisis, argues the Spiegel’s staff. As NATO is seeking to readjust its policies, Germany seems less than eager to follow. Read the full analysis here.

In 2004, Indonesia introduced a law forcing parties to have a minimum of 30% female candidates. With parliamentary elections on Wednesday, Foreign Policy looks at the effects of celebrity and marketing women’s sexuality: candidates include “a former Miss Indonesia, five former models, at least eight actresses, and nine singers.” Their recruiting parties believe that their famous faces and public notoriety will win votes “in a country where name recognition is low and campaign posters remain the best way of reaching voters.” However, since the quota system was put in place, the proportion of women in parliament rose from 11% to 18%, and some hope that figure will rise to 30% after Wednesday.

In the Press Review section of the GovFaces blog you will find regular updates on important social, political, and economic issues of the day. Items presented here and in the Analysis & Opinion sections do not necessarily reflect the views of GovFaces.