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The European Context of Jesuit Mission
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Spanish version: El contexto europeo de la misión jesuita (PDF)
What we have to do is reinvent the idea of Europe.
European Sunday Alliance
Category Archives: JEOletter Nr. 13 / April 2011
Most dramatic of all is the sequence of events following the earthquake off the coast of Japan on March 11th. It is hardly possible to be more geographically remote from Europe than Japan, yet the crisis affecting the nuclear plant in Fukushima immediately led to the German and Swiss governments suspending decisions on their nuclear programmes. Countries not at all prone to the powerful earthquakes that always threaten Japan, countries which have proclaimed nuclear power as an essential element of sage and ‘clean’ energy mix, suddenly realise that their feelings of security might be complacent, so that an emergency series of meetings was summoned by the European Commission with the Hungarian Presidency. As Reuters commented, nuclear policy had been previously regarded as the competence of the member states. Now, though the Commission was to arrange for the conduct of tests in those fourteen of the twenty-seven member states which operate nuclear plants, as well as their neighbour Switzerland. (We may note, incidentally, how the the vocabulary of crises becomes generic and interchangeable. Nuclear reactors will be subjected to ‘stress tests’ – monitoring of the kind previously applied to banks newly discovered to be vulnerable: banks in turn risk ‘melt-down’. We somehow need to think about all major threats in the same framework.) Continue reading
Belgian politicians have a reputation of being good negotiators. This was confirmed once again at the occasion of the recent Belgian presidency of the European Council. Alas, their skills appear to fall short of what is needed in the domestic politics of their own country. Negotiations should make progress, slowly perhaps but clearly enough to be encouraging. This is presently not the case when the formation of a new federal government is at stake. What is the problem and what is going wrong?
One has to admit that the initial setting of the negotiations was very difficult. It was a polarized one, pitting a rather leftist francophone party, the Parti Socialiste, against a rather rightist Flemish nationalist party, the NVA. Both had to play a leading part in the negotiation drama since they were the clear winners of the last elections in their respective regions, the PS in Wallonia, the NVA in Flanders: a most difficult setting. A closer look reveals that the setting was even more delicate. Political scientist would recognize here a “chicken game”, one of the paradigmatical configurations of game theory. In a chicken game two players should cooperate to avoid a major loss and to obtain a major gain for both of them. However, they are tempted not to do so. Indeed, both are likely to foster the hope to make an even bigger gain, and to inflict a major loss on their opponent, by not cooperating. Continue reading
L’ITIE tenait sa 5e conférence mondiale, avec pour thème “la transparence compte”, à Paris ces 2 et 3 mars 2011. Cette initiative, créée en 2002, rassemble des gouvernements, entreprises et représentants de la société civile des pays adhérents. Ces différents collèges sont représentés au sein du Conseil d’administration, ce qui en fait une véritable institution multipartite. L’objectif affiché est de veiller à une meilleure transparence et gouvernance des revenus du pétrole, du gaz et des minerais. Pour ce faire, les états et industries adhérents déclarent les revenus respectivement perçus et payés, ce qui permet à la société civile de vérifier la concordance des déclarations et l’usage de ces moyens financiers.
L’ITIE fixe donc une norme internationale volontaire de publication des bénéfices tirés et perçus de l’exploitation des ressources extractives. A ce jour, on estime que 3,5 milliards de personnes vivent dans des pays riches en matières premières dont la bonne gouvernance peut contribuer à un développement durable et la lutte contre la pauvreté. A l’inverse, ces richesses mal gérées peuvent mener à la corruption et aux conflits, c’est ce que les économistes appellent “la malédiction des ressources”. Continue reading
The young Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi could not have imagined that setting himself on fire on 17th December, after being dragged from his market stall by police at Sidi Bouzid, that his act would set in train events leading to the biggest political change in Tunisia since its independence in 1957: still less what followed – the crisis threatening several other Arab regimes.
Evidently tensions were already simmering: the death of Mr. Bouazizi was merely the catalyst that concentrated street protests by hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Tunis calling for the resignation of President Ben Ali. The so called ‘jasmine revolution’ has astonished international public opinion by its very genuineness and simplicity. A multitude of ordinary citizens marched, virtually without violence: the movement was spontaneous, without clear leadership – and even (as later became clear) without a clear plan of action except that of forcing the resignation of Ben Ali, and dismantling a regime that has humiliated the Tunisian people for twenty-four years. Continue reading
Year 2010 was the European Year for combating poverty and social exclusion. It was intended to raise awareness throughout the EU about the situation of poverty and social exclusion faced by more than one citizen out of five in the EU. In June of the same year 2010, the European Council endorsed a ten-year strategy called EU2020 with a view to fostering “smart, sustainable and inclusive growth” towards five “headline targets”: employment, Research and Development, environment and climate change, education, and poverty reduction (See JEO Website, “Europe 2020?: La nouvelle stratégie décennale européenne, article in French). With a stronger sense of focus on social cohesion, the Council of Europe (CoE) on its side has been working for a couple of years on a new concept called “shared social responsibilities”. At the joint invitation of the EU (Commission) and the Council of Europe (DG III, Social Cohesion) many actors of civil society, academics, members of local and regional governments exchanged views and ideas at a seminar on 28th February 2011 in Brussels and a conference was organised on the following day in Brussels again to discuss that new concept with a view to incorporating it into a future Charter on shared social responsibilities. Continue reading
Many of us will remember the famous American love-story movie of the mid-1990s, The English Patient. In the story, based on fact, the nurse finds out at the end of the film, that her patient is in fact not English, but is the famous Hungarian scientist, Earl László Almásy.
Such story could happen in many wealthier countries across Europe more and more often, but the other way around. Patients during their treatment can realise that their doctors are, in fact, Hungarian. What are the roots of this more and more frequent growing phenomenon?
Hungarian healthcare and its related sciences have been very good. Ignác Semmelweis, the ‘Saviour of mothers’, who discovered how to avoid the puerperal fever, is a famous example from the XIXth century. The identification and isolation of ascorbinic acid (C-Vitamin) in the Szeged Laboratories by Albert Szentgyörgyi, who was later given the Nobel – prize for his researches, is another important exapmle form the XXth century. Continue reading
A European Ignatian Workshop on the integration of migrants and their descendants:
“Building Bridges” was the motto for the two days conference (30 – 31st March, 2011) organized in Brussels by the Migration Desk of the Conference of European Provincials. The main objective of the conference was to gather as many Jesuit institutions as possible are working with or for migrants in Europe. And it was a great success if we consider that at least 30 different institutions were represented through 53 participants from all over Europe.
The Jesuit Refugee Service was largely represented: the European office in Brussels, and country representations from Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slovenia, Switzerland, Malta, UK, Ukraine and Portugal. The second largest group was composed by practioners and institutions working directly with migrants as the Migrant Support Service (Northern Ireland), Red Incola, Pueblos Unidos, CeiMigra, Migrstudium, Centro Ellacuria and Volutariado Claver (all from Spain). Social centres as Centre Avec (Brussels), CERAS (Paris), the Instituto de Formazione Politica Pedro Arrupe (Palermo). Continue reading
The views expressed in the JEOletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Jesuit European Office.
I am writing to you under the name of “Croatia”. It is so nice to do this on the 300th anniversary of J. R. Bošković from my famous Republic of Dubrovnik.
Dear Brussels, how are you doing? You know me already because of my beautiful Adriatic coast stretching from Poreč to Dubrovnik with its 1000 islands, where so many of your people enjoy their summer holidays. You know also that I am on the historical frontier between West and East through centuries beginning with the old divided Roman Empire.
Let me share with you in this letter one short look at key moments in my history, especially the short period of Yugoslavia and the aggression I suffered afterwards. I would like to tell you about my largely discouraging experience with the still ongoing Tribunal in The Hague. And allow me to ask you some vital questions. At last I would like very much to remind you of our relationship and look forward to the future. Continue reading
Lettre de l’OCIPE, n° 7, avril 1961
“Du 25 au 29 mars le Deuxième Congrès Européen des Loisirs s’est tenu dans l’enceinte du Conseil de l’Europe à Strasbourg.
C’est une initiative privée qui a lancé l’année dernière un premier Congrès Européen des Loisirs, et qui vient de tenir ce second Congrès sur le thème “Les loisirs des jeunes”. Deux cent-cinquante délégués venus de dix pays et représentant toute la gamme des activités de loisirs y participèrent parmi lesquels de nombreux responsables nationaux ou régionaux de différents pays.
L’idée d’ensemble qui se dégage du travail accompli, c’est l’urgence même du problème posé par la multiplication des loisirs dans la société moderne, et c’est l’urgence des solutions de structure qui doivent y être apportées. La question des Maisons de jeunes a retenu particulièrement l’attention des congressistes. Continue reading