Lampedusa has become a tragic symbol for a crisis and controversy that is discussed across the European Union. The Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea has become a prime transit point for immigrants from Africa and related to an ongoing tragedy in the waters between the European and African continent where people die on an almost daily basis while hoping for a better life in Europe. The debate has turned as far as the UK opposing future migrant rescues in Mediterranean. In a recent feature the Guardian newspaper published a range of statistics related to the topic, amongst them some figures that highlight the countries where refugees make it across the perilous waters into the EU from which I created the following cartogram that shows, which countries have to deal with which numbers of migrants arriving via the sea:
Everyone has a responsibility to prevent and end violence against women and girls, starting by challenging the culture of discrimination that allows it to continue.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Today’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women raises awareness for an issue which on the campaign’s website is described as a global pandemic because of the discrimination against women and persisting inequalities between men and women: “35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries. It is estimated that up to 30 million girls under the age of 15 remain at risk from FGM/C, and more than 130 million girls and women have undergone the procedure worldwide. Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth.”
These problems are a global phenomenon. In a recent report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights it was concluded that “an estimated 13 million women in the EU were victims of physical violence during the 12 months before the survey” and “an estimated 1.5 million women in the EU were raped in the course of those 12 months.”
The following maps show some of the key data of the study in form of cartograms that use the number of adult women as a basemap, meaning that each country of the European Union is resized according to the total number of woman aged 15 and above to which the overlaid statistics relate in the survey. The maps show the real extent of violence against women in the EU. The first map summarises the data, while the second map series below splits the results from the study into violence within and outside relationships:
In an article for the “In Focus” section of Political Insight (September 2014, Volume 5, Issue 2) we looked at the results of this year’s election to the European Parliament.
In May 2014 the citizens of the 28 member states of the European Union (EU) went to the polls to elect the 751 new Members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The distribution of seats in the European Parliament is not directly proportional to each country’s total population. A so-called ‘degressive proportionality’ principle gives small countries a few more seats than what would have been the case if strict proportionality were applied. The voter turnout across the EU was 43%. Belgium and Luxemburg have the highest rate of voter participation (90%). On the other hand, the smallest voter turnout is observed in Slovakia (13%) and the Czech Republic (19.5%), whereas the United Kingdom had the 11th lowest rate in Europe (36%). More than 90% of all elected MEPs belong to one of the seven political groups of the European Parliament. There is a minimum of 25 members needed to form a political group and at least one quarter of all member states must be represented within this group.
The map series in the article presents the geographical distribution of the votes across member states. All countries in these maps are shaded using a rainbow colour scheme, starting with shades of dark red to demarcate the countries with the most recent association with the EU and moving through to a shade of violet for the oldest member states.
‘We cannot aim at anything less than the Union of Europe as a whole, and we look forward with confidence to the day when that Union will be achieved’
It may sound inconceivable today that a statement such as the above could be made by a British Prime Minister and even more so by the leader of the Conservative Party. Yet, this is an extract from a speech delivered by Winston Churchill at the Congress of Europe in The Hague on 7 May 1948. It is just an example of numerous similar statementsand activities supporting European integration and union. These were part of wider efforts and actions by the people of a continent shattered by war towards a common purpose and future, which have been imaginatively ‘narrated’ by a member of Europe’s next generation in an award-winning video ‘We are Europe’ – see below. These efforts have been steadily leading towards a Europe United in Diversity and to the formation of a European identity underpinned by common values and ideals such as the establishment of democratic institutions, the respect of human rights and the protection of minorities, as well as solidarity and social cohesion. Continue reading
The EU27 is history, with Croatia becoming the 28th member state of the European Union today. On last week’s European Council meeting, the ‘old’ members had other issues in mind, as the common agricultural policy (CAP) was one of the critical issues in negotiating a new seven year budget. The proposed changes in subsidies in this field of spending are quite important, as this part of the EU policies started a process of considerable changes in the agricultural landscapes in Europe over the years. The area of spending is not least relevant, as together with the rural development funding agriculture counts for almost 40% of the budget (see this map series about EU spending for more details).
The agreements that were reached are also significant, as the agricultural budget mainly serves the economically and politically strongest countries in the European Union. The following cartogram shows the redistribution of spending on the agricultural markets within the EU27 in 2011 (the most recent data available from the European Commission), which counts for €44,898 million of the overall €129,394 million budget: