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Ponte Vecchio Florence

Parliaments in regional organisations. What are they good for (absolutely nothing)?

A growing number of regional organisations such as the EU, Mercosur or the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has set up representative assemblies, or regional parliaments, in an attempt to increase their own democratic legitimacy. As the public demands more political accountability, regional parliaments have taken shape in great variance as regards design, […]

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Greece Iceland hut

Why is Iceland’s Pirate Party so successful?

National polls suggest that the Icelandic Pirate Party, the local branch of the worldwide social protest movement spawned by the digital revolution, might be within striking distance to form a government in Iceland by the end of this month. In essence still a protest movement, the Pirates find themselves in a neck-and-neck race with the right-leaning Independence party, […]

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Bogota street

The Colombian Peace Pact is setting new standards in international peace-building (despite its defects)

The peace pact between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), agreed upon on August 24, 2016, to put an end to their 52-year conflict is a unique example of successful international peace-building. In a world seemingly tumbling back into the dark past of national egoism, it is a welcomed reminder […]

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Ciénaga monument

Ciénaga, Colombia’s sleeping colonial beauty on its way forward

Squeezed in between Colombia’s Caribbean capital Barranquilla and the coastal resort of Santa Marta lies the city of Ciénaga, a forgotten and largely malgoverned colonial beauty. At last, a new (tweeting) mayor may turn matters around.    A city with a population of roughly 100,000 and a mean annual temperature of 34°C, Ciénaga’s traditional economic base is banana production, managed […]

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bsuiness card Kosovo

A follow-up on Kosovo: Projects that make a difference

Following up on a political delegation trip is no trivial task: Members of Parliament (MPs) return to their daily routines and (very) different political agendas, are again caught up in parliamentary skirmishes, and their tight schedules might simply not allow for time-consuming follow-up meetings. This time was different. The aforementioned visit to Kosovo, Europe’s youngest […]

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The Economist St. Pauli

A letter to The Economist: RB Leipzig and football’s imagined East-West tensions

Dear Editor, Your humorously headlined article on the rise of drink maker-funded RB Leipzig to the top-tier of German association football („Red Bull gives you wingers“, The Economist, May 14th-20th 2016) claims to shed some light on the East-West tensions that are, according to your subhead, „very much alive“. As much as I appreciate your newspaper providing some […]

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