Stories to Follow:
David Cameron’s pro-EU campaign off to rocky start despite deal
Despite hauling back a reform agreement from Brussels, David Cameron faces a domestic political struggle as he tries to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union. On Friday, European Council President Donald Tusk announced that the 28 EU member states had reached a “legally binding and irreversible” agreement on Cameron’s reform proposal, including commitments on non-discrimination against non-Eurozone countries and limits on when migrants can claim welfare benefits. But by Sunday, the wildly popular London mayor, Boris Johnson, announced that he would support the Leave campaign, a move that is widely perceived as a major blow to Cameron.
Bosnia knocks on the big blue and yellow door
Bosnia officially applied for EU membership this week, but the west Balkan country is unlikely to be admitted any time soon. Enlargement in the former Soviet bloc has generally been a slow process. Romania and Bulgaria had to wait until 2007 to join the Union after applying in 1993. Bosnia faces another hurdle: it’s constitution violates fundamental EU principles. The Bosnian Constitution, put in place by the 1995 Dayton Accords, reserves seats in Bosnia’s upper house to a pre-defined distribution of Bosnia’s three main ethnic groups, Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks. Other groups, like Jews or Roma, are effectively barred from elected office. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2009 that this is a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights. Bosnia will have to rewrite its constitution before it can expect EU membership. There’s concern among the intelligentsia that Bosnia’s elite will use the EU-membership application to further their domestic political careers.
Legendary Solidarity leader accused of collaboration
Lech Wałęsa, the first president of post-Communist Poland and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has once again been accused of having collaborated with the Polish secret police in the 1970s. A stash of documents found in the home of the late General Czeslaw Kiszczak, last Communist interior minister, allegedly show that Wałęsa received money from the secret police, a charge he has denied in the past. Wałęsa faced similar charges in 2000 but was cleared by a special court. Meanwhile, Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party is launching an “offensive” against historians with uncomfortable theses about Polish history. The past rears its head …
Happening This Week:
Privacy, Safe Harbor and the Internet in Europe and America
Tuesday, February 23 at 6:00 pm | Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute
Max Schrems’ suit before the European Court of Justice prompted a reorganization of the EU-US information-sharing regime. He will speak with a panel of NYU professors about privacy and information in the developing transatlantic world. Space is limited. You must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, February 24 at 6:00 pm | Columbia La Maison Francaise
This shoestring budget indie film was a hit at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival where it received the Prix Louis-Delluc for best first film.
Festival Neue Literatur
Friday, February 26 – Sunday, February 28 | Various locations
A festival showcasing new writing from Austria, Germany, Switzerland and the U.S. One of the participating authors will be Pedro Lenz, author of Der Goalie bin ig, a 2010 written in Swiss German.
Kino Polska: New Polish Cinema
Thursday, February 25 – Sunday, February 28 | Brooklyn Academy of Music
Six feature length Polish films make their US premieres. Admission for each film is $14.
In Your Free Time:
Revisit an old classic like Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin Stories. Or deepen your feel for the Cold War with a few rounds of the brilliant board game Twilight Struggle. If you’re feeling up to it, puzzle over the EU-UK deal.
This Monday Briefing brought to you by Kyle Walker. Follow Kyle at his blog, The New York Transatlantic. He also maintains an extensive events calendar here.