Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Monday, September 23, 2013

Greek Street comes to Massapequa Park

Tucked inside a pita are shards of juicy house-made pork gyro, tomatoes, red onion, lettuce, tzatziki sauce and — believe it or not — fries. These were hand-cut, nutty and delectable in their own right. A good bet is to request the tzatziki on the side ...


Greek pact with Egypt, Cyprus eyes potential in energy sector

On the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly in New York on Monday Foreign Minister Evangelos Venizelos and his Egyptian and Cypriot peers, Ioannis Kasoulides and Nabil Fahmy, agreed to delineate exclusive economic zones, so they can seek and e... ...


Costa Pacifica dominates port of Thessaloniki

Costa Pacifica, one of the world’s biggest cruise ships, towers above structures at the port of Thessaloniki upon its arrival at Greece’s second city on Monday. It seemed as though an entire town had disembarked when the 3,800 passengers entered the cruis... ...


Twenty foreign investors already granted residence permits

Some 20 residence permits have already been granted to foreign investors who have purchased Greek real estate following the implementation of a law aimed at attracting investments to Greece. Foreign Ministry data show that in addition to these five-year p... ...


Police shakeup in wake of clampdown on Golden Dawn

Two senior officers of the Greek Police (ELAS) resigned, another four were suspended and eight were moved out of key posts yesterday as part of a crackdown on the ultra-right Golden Dawn and an investigation into possible links between the party and the f... ...


Troika puts pressure on sell-offs

The troika of Greece’s creditors on Monday exercised strong pressure on the state privatization fund (TAIPED) to speed up the country’s sell-off projects. During a meeting at TAIPED’s headquarters, the mission chiefs of the European Central Bank, the Euro... ...


Troika skeptical on primary surplus

The troika has doubts about Greek projections for a primary surplus this year and next and has begun the process of discussing with Athens the contents of the 2014 budget, which Greece’s lenders believe contains several areas that need closer inspection. ... ...


Greece back in the middle of European fiscal drama with a third bailout

Greece back in the middle of European fiscal drama with a third bailoutHot AirThe election is won for German Prime Minister Angela Merkel, which means that bailout-weary Germany — the country that happens to have financed the lion's share of 240 billion euros in the aid pledged to Greece over the past several years — is going ...


Senior Cops Quit During Golden Dawn Probe

Two senior officers of the Hellenic Police (ELAS) submitted their resignations on Sept. amidst an investigation into whether there was any dereliction of duty over why the force did not arrest members of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party found to have weapons in the aftermath of the killing of an anti-fascist by one of the […]


Ayia Napa Festival to Run from Sept 27-29

The 29th edition of the Ayia Napa Festival will take place from Sept 27-29 in Ayia Napa, a resort at the far eastern end of the southern coast of Cyprus. In recent years, it has become less known as a family holiday destination, and more for its bustling nightlife. The festival’s program, designed to coincide […]


Another Week of Strikes in Greece

Athens, Sep 23 (Prensa Latina) Greece began its second consecutive week of protests and strikes today against the ...


Greece Talks with Creditors as Austerity Strikes Continue

Greek officials resumed talks with representatives from the country’s creditors as strikes continue to rock the public sector, BBC News reports. Present in Athens were representatives from the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund ...


EU ministers meet to condemn racism aimed at Italian minister Cécile Kyenge

'Declaration of Rome' notes politicians have responsibility to fight racism after string of insults against Italy's first black minister

Representatives of 17 European Union countries have gathered in Rome to condemn the "unacceptable" stream of racist insults directed at Cécile Kyenge, the Italian minister for integration, and call for a new pact to stamp out discrimination across the bloc.

Speaking after integration ministers from countries including Britain signed a declaration urging greater pan-European action to promote diversity, Kyenge thanked her counterparts for the "strong and important response" to the string of jibes and threats that have blighted her first five months in office.

"[The declaration] is Europe's response to the attacks and insults directed at me since my appointment, to remind Europe of its founding values," she said, the AdnKronos news agency reported.

Joëlle Milquet, the deputy prime minister of Belgium, had suggested the meeting and accompanying "declaration of Rome" in order to provide a robust response not only to Kyenge's trials but to those of racism sufferers throughout Europe.

"What has happened to the Italian minister is unacceptable but we're talking about a widespread phenomenon," she said at a press conference. "It was necessary to mobilise in order to affirm the value of diversity and integration."

The declaration notes that politicians have "a particular responsibility" to show the way in the fight against racism and xenophobia, and calls on them to "show … determination in this fight in our words as well as our acts".

Kyenge, Italy's first black minister, has not only been on the receiving end of racist jibes from unknown critics but from Italian politicians in the rightwing Northern League. Roberto Calderoli, the League's deputy speaker in the upper house of parliament, or senate, sparked horror in July when he said the 48-year-old minister had "the features of an orangutan". He was stiffly reprimanded by the prime minister, Enrico Letta, but remains in his position in the senate.

Mario Borghezio, an MEP for the League, said the inclusion of Kyenge in the government made it a "bongo bongo" administration. A vice-mayor in Silvio Berlusconi's Freedom People party, Cristiano Za Garibaldi, suggested she worked in an area known for being frequented by prostitutes, many of whom are black. Kyenge, an eye doctor who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been in Italy for around 30 years and has Italian citizenship.

Among the countries whose representatives signed the declaration were Greece, Malta, Ireland and Austria. Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat MP and undersecretary of state for communities and local government, was Britain's representative at the meeting.

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On Europe, Angela Merkel's election win may save Britain from itself

The German chancellor's hat-trick puts her at the helm in Europe – and that's good news for David Cameron

Across Europe, political leaders watch Angela Merkel with awe and envy. And rightly so. The German chancellor didn't just get re-elected on Sunday, a difficult enough task for leaders in post-crash Europe. Merkel won her hat-trick of victories in the most serene electoral performance of her career, pushing her centre-right CDU party's vote up by nearly eight points, and coming within a whisker of winning Germany's first overall majority since the days of Konrad Adenauer, more than half a century ago.

The only cloud in Merkel's sky was the historic collapse of her junior coalition partners, the liberal FDP, who failed to win any seats in the Bundestag for the first time in 60 years. That leaves Merkel with the problem of trying to persuade either the Social Democrats, or conceivably the Greens, to come into a coalition which they may see as a fatal embrace. The nations of the eurozone's southern periphery will be hoping that some such deal is struck, as we all should, since a coalition with either of them holds out the hope of a relaxation of Merkel's strict pre-election budgetary orthodoxy.

The Guardian dubbed Merkel the Special One yesterday. And as an election winner that's exactly what she is. Consider these freshly minted popularity ratings. In Britain, David Cameron has a favourable/unfavourable rating of 40%/52% – giving him net unpopularity of minus 12. In France, François Hollande's record low rating is 23%/76% – net unpopularity of minus 53. In Germany, by contrast, 70% think Merkel is doing a good job, against 30% who think she is doing a bad one – a net popularity of plus 40.

What is Merkel's secret? The start of the answer is obviously that she is the leader of Europe's richest and most dynamic economy. Germany's economy is growing again, unemployment is low, the budget is in balance, interest rates are on the floor. Times are pretty good, and getting better for many Germans. Compared with the economic carnage elsewhere in the eurozone, – unemployment rates of 28% in Greece and 26% in Spain, mounting deficits and increased borrowing in France and Britain – Germany remains an oasis of relative calm and prosperity. Crisis, what crisis?

But Merkel's success cannot simply be explained by her good fortune in being the leader of Germany. Even when faced with large German bailouts of the eurozone and by sluggish growth, the centre-left failed to make its case, just as the centre-right triumphed. The centre-left SPD remains stuck in its now much diminished core constituency – echoes of Labour here in Britain. So do the Greens and the Left party, both of whom slipped back.

Yet Merkel has also won because of her own deft skills. Her republican centrism means that voters from other parties like her – one in six SPD voters preferred her as chancellor. Her willingness to adapt to circumstances, most notably in her U-turn over nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster, is the antithesis of conviction politics. Add to this her inclusive image and her attractively unpretentious style, and you have a winning combination for difficult times. Merkel's success in appealing across Germany's fragmenting party divides is a lesson from which traditional tribal politicians in Britain could learn too.

What will it mean for Europe? Merkel sometimes gives the impression that she takes each decision as it comes. But Berlin knows that the eurozone and the EU need serious attention before Germany's next election in 2017. So this victory gives her an immense opportunity to write the script for Europe's future.

In an era of weak governments and unpopular leaders in Europe, she is uniquely positioned now to shape the next decade and more. In that context, the performance by the eurosceptic Alternative für Deutschland, who finished just short of the 5% Bundestag threshold, was another perfect result for Merkel. She does not have to take account of them in order to govern, but she knows they are out there, and will be wary. It would be in character for her to temper her European strategy accordingly.

From Britain's point of view, her re-election could be fascinatingly significant. With Merkel at the helm in Europe, moderate Tory eurosceptics like David Cameron have someone with whom they can deal and who also carries real authority here. For Cameron, an EU deal with Merkel would make an EU referendum victory, assuming he wants it, far more likely. If Merkel wants to – and if she means it when she says she wants the UK to remain in the EU she should want to – she is now in a position to influence the British debate on Europe in a more positive way than any continental European since Jacques Delors. On the great issue of Europe, the re-elected and strengthened Merkel may even help save the British from themselves. Let's hope she does.

Twitter: @martinkettle

Angela MerkelGermanyEuropeDavid CameronMartin © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Top policemen in Greece removed in anti-nazi probe

by  Maria Kagkelidou

Thirteen of Greek police' top brass officers were removed from their positions on September 23 following last week's killing of an anti-fascist activist in Athens by a self-confessed supporter of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party. 

Authorities in Athens announced that two force commanders in Central Greece resigned for "personal reasons" while another three from the same area were being suspended until an investigation into why the local force apparently remained impassive while Golden Dawn members were out in plain sight just a few meters away from the police station is completed. 

Another eight officers, manning some of the forces most critical posts, like the head of security and the heads of the organised crime squad, have been moved "to ensure, in an absolute way, the objectivity of the investigation" of alleged links between the Greek police and Golden Dawn. 

Since May 2012, when Golden Dawn emerged from the margins of Greek politics to claim 18 seats in the country's parliament, reports of collusion or of a "special relationship" between the police and Golden Dawn have repeatedly emerged. 

The move follows the murder of a Greek anti-nazi activist and rapper, Pavlos Fyssas, also known as KillahP, on September 18.

Golden Dawn, whose members openly praise Hitler and his regime and say all immigration to Greece is illegal, rose to become the third party in Greece in just over a year. But polls conducted since Fyssas' killing show a marked decline in Golden Dawn ratings, which in one case have declined by almost a third. 

A number of demos against the party have taken place since the killing with another planned for Thursday.


For a new Sino-American relationship

To avoid the United States and China falling into the Thucydides trap, both nations will be served if they embrace a strategy of Mutually assured Restraint (MAR). Political scientists argue that history shows, since the days of the ancient Greeks, that when a new power arises the old superpower does not yield ground quick enough--wars ensue. However, the record shows that there are no historical Iron Laws. Indeed, Harvard's Allison Graham points to 4 cases out of 15 since the Sixteenth century were not war followed--include the rise of the US in the 1890s as a global power. To stop the current mounting mistrust and military buildups between the U.S. and China, given that both states face urgent domestic needs, some content must be injected into the vacuous phrase both powers now embrace: that China ought to have a "new kind of relationship " with the U.S. MAR could do the trick. Accordingly both sides limit their military build up and coercive diplomacy as long as the other side limits itself in the same way--and the self restraints are mutually vetted. MAR is a strategy that allows China to take the steps it holds are necessary for its self-defense without extending them to the point that they seem to threaten other states and the global commons. It further enables the United States to take those steps it considers necessary for its self-defense, for living up to its obligations in the region, and for the protection of the international order. These steps would extend the concepts that underlie the U.S.' SALT treaty with Russia to military buildup in general and to diplomatic maneuvers. That is, they would be based on what President Reagan called "trust but verify." One step that readily illustrates MAR is the act of capping the number of anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) weapons, especially anti-ship missiles, that China holds in its arsenal. China holds that it needs these A2/AD weapons for self-defense; the U.S. views them as threats to the freedom of navigation in the high seas and to its ability to discharge its obligations to Taiwan, Japan, and other states in the region. Both powers should agree to limit the number and range of these missiles, that these limitations should be verified by agreed-upon methods, and that such short-range, defensive missiles might be provided to other states in the area, for instance Japan. Applying MAR to ICBMs may be impossible at this stage, as China holds that it is so far behind the U.S. in this category of weapons that it refuses even to explore a SALT-like agreement. However, in the long run, MAR may include what some call "strategic stability," a cap on the ICBMs and similar strategic weapons by both states. To extend MAR to cyberspace both powers might need to agree, implicitly, that the use of cyber tools for collecting information about the other powers is so deeply entrenched in international relations that it may well be impossible to end the practice. However, both powers could agree to restrain from using cyber arms for kinetic attacks. Such agreed-upon restraint would of course be subject to vetting. Under MAR, countries and territories on China's borders would be treated not as contested areas that both powers attempt to include in their military alliances, but as neutral buffer zones--similar to Austria during the Cold War. This applies especially to the Philippines and Vietnam, as the U.S. has increased its military commitments to both of these states without sufficient regard to the fact that such involvements may drag the U.S. into a war with China over issues that are not part of the U.S.' core national interests. MAR would particularly effective if applied to US and China positions regarding the future of North Korea . Here, MAR would entail agreement from both sides that if North Korea's regime were to collapse neither American nor Chinese troops would move into the country. Both sides and the world would be much better off if American troops were not based next to the Yalu River--and if Chinese forces were not massed next to the DMZ. Given today's technological means, the neutrality of such a buffer zone--that is, the absence of military forces of both sides--is relatively easy to verify. MAR need not be the only foundation upon which the future Sino-American relationship is built. There are several important areas in which both powers have complementary interests and in which they can work together, including nuclear nonproliferation, climate change, counterterrorism, and financial and economic stability. However, MAR could go a long way to prevent China and the U.S. from sliding toward the Thucydides trap. Amitai Etzioni is a University Professor at The George Washington University and author of Hot Spots: American Foreign Policy in a Post-Human Rights World, published by Transaction.


Senior Greek police chiefs replaced over links to far right Golden Dawn party

Five senior police officers in Greece have been replaced after the government ordered an urgent inquiry into alleged links between the police and the far-right Golden Dawn party.


Greece launches inquiry into claims Golden Dawn trained by armed forces

Greece launches inquiry into claims Golden Dawn trained by armed forcesThe GuardianThe defence minister, Dimitris Avramopoulos, ordered the investigation as Greece's governing coalition exhibited new resolve to clamp down on the "criminal organisation" after a Greek musician was stabbed to death by one of the group's supporters.


Greek quotient

It wasn't easy to picture AD Singh's Olive Bar & Kitchen in Mahalaxmi being replaced by another restaurant. But its white walls complemented with blue, perhaps make for the perfect setting for Thalassa Pop Up in Mumbai. Although the local eatery's mood may ...


Draghi: Too early to talk of additional aid for Greece

The president of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, stated on Monday that Greece’s debt load was currently sustainable, but added it was too early to say whether it would need more aid. This would depend on factors such as it having access to ... ...


Mytilineos replaces Lampsa in Greece-Turkey 30 index

On Tuesday, industrial group Mytilineos will join the stocks listed in the Greece-Turkey 30 (GT-30) index, replacing departing Lampsa, Athens Exchanges announced on Monday. The move forms part of the regular revision of stocks that form the joint index of... ...


Bear found dead near Kastoria lake

A young female bear was discovered dead near Kastoria Lake in northern Greece on Monday. A preliminary postmortem report suggested that the animal had been hit by a vehicle and had later succumbed to its injuries. The bear weighed about 150 kilos and had ... ...


Temporary Greek National Road Fund board appointed

A new, temporary board will be appointed at the Greek National Road Fund (TEO) on Tuesday after board members serving between 2007 and 2011 were charged with mismanagement. The Infrastructure Ministry has begun searching for office equipment worth 120,000... ...


Greece wonders what next from Merkel

Sauvegarder l'article Envoyer à un ami Imprimer l'article Sauvegarder l'article Envoyer à un ami Imprimer l'article She's not the most popular politician in Greece. And her third term in office will be closely watched. While many accept she's helped the ...


Golden Dawn’s “Military School”

According to photographic documents, the paramilitary groups of the Golden Dawn extreme far-right party are being objected to tough tests. According to the Ethnos news report, young men dressed in camouflage uniforms, hooded full face and military knives in their belts salute in a Nazi way holding the Greek flag, and run half-naked in the […]


Ellinikon International Airport Officially Abolished

The Ministry of Infrastructure, Transport and Networks with a decision that was published in the Government Gazette (the official journal of the Government of Greece) and at (a site that contains every government decision) put an end to the Ellinikon International Airport, as an air facility. The Ellinikon International Airport, sometimes spelled Hellinikon, was […]


Police shake-up in Greece after neo-Nazi murder

ATHENS (AFP) - Two top Greek police chiefs quit in a shake-up on Monday after the murder of an anti-fascist musician by an alleged member of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn sparked protests, and led to a probe of a possible police connection.


41st Annual Greek Fest to grace Birmingham’s streets

One of the signature, mutual cultural events of the Southeast is the multifaceted ... Free parking will be held at the Liberty National Parking garage one block from the festival. The entrance into the festival is between Richard Arrington ...


UPDATE 1-Greece investigates police links to right-wing party after killing

HaaretzUPDATE 1-Greece investigates police links to right-wing party after killingReutersATHENS, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Greece suspended several senior police officers on Monday and launched an investigation into possible police links with a far-right party, after the killing of an anti-racism rapper raised concerns about the force. Pavlos ...5 senior police officials removed from posts in Greece in far-right probeFox NewsGreece's far-right Golden Dawn loses support after rapper killingHaaretzGreece orders probe into police force after rapper's deathReuters CanadaFRANCE 24 -Hurriyet Daily Newsall 98 news articles »


Greek police officials replaced after government orders inquiry into alleged links to far-right Golden Dawn party

Demonstrators carry a placard which reads in Greek " Fascists Out " during a protest in central Athens, on Monday, Sept. 23, 2013. Greece's anti-terrorism division has been handed the investigation into the murder of anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas, blamed on a supporter of the far-right Golden Dawn Party, the Public Order Ministry last week . The murder of Fyssas, known as ...


Greece Moves Back to Center Stage in Europe's Debt Drama

Greece Moves Back to Center Stage in Europe's Debt DramaBusinessweekIn a four-hour meeting with representatives of Greece's international creditors Sunday, Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras had some encouraging news: Greece is expected to post a small budget surplus this year, and the economy is expected to contract 3 ...


Greece hopes to avoid more austerity as 'troika' audit begins

Greece hopes to avoid more austerity as 'troika' audit beginsGMA NewsATHENS - Greece called for international creditors not to enforce further austerity measures as they began a fresh audit of the country's finances on Sunday. Monitors from the so-called "troika" of international lenders -- the EU, International ...


Cyprus, Greece and Egypt agree guidelines of tripartite cooperation

The Sofia GlobeCyprus, Greece and Egypt agree guidelines of tripartite cooperationCyprus MailCyprus, Greece, and Egypt have agreed on guidelines to continue and improve cooperation between them, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has said. The agreement was struck during a New York meeting between the three countries' foreign ministers.'Name dispute' tops agenda in UN chief's meeting with Greek Foreign MinisterUN News Centreall 5 news articles »


Greek media mirror citizens' fears, hopes over Merkel victory

Europe turns into Merkeland," read the headline in Greek leading daily "Ta Nea" (The News). "A triumph for Merkel and the ... Ioakimidis in an opinion piece in "Ethnos" (The Nation) daily said, "The Social democrats have emphasized the need ...


Merkel’s Message to Greece

After easily winning re-election in a runaway rout to gain a third term, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country is the biggest contributor to bailouts for Greece, said she will now return to tightening the screws on the Greek government to keep imposing more harsh austerity measures while ruling out any chance it will be […]


Athens city police stage mock funeral to protest Greek public sector job cuts

ATHENS, Greece — Hundreds of striking Greek city workers are marching through Athens to protest public sector job cuts that the government must make to continue receiving international bailout funds. About 500 protesters, many wearing black ...


How Pittsburghs Greek Families Staycationed

PITTSBURGH - The "staycation" is a relatively new term, but it is an old concept for ethnic, working-class Pittsburghers. When I was growing up in the 1950's, my family and I did not go away for a vacation like families today. We never went to the beach or Disney World. But we did go on vacation. Immigrant families tended to find homes in communities where other immigrants from the ...


Greece Unchecked Violence Needs to be Tackled

It is vital for the government to show leadership by publicly condemning violence and indicating that there will be zero tolerance for vigilante violence against ...


Concern in Greece over Angela Merkel's win

BBC NewsConcern in Greece over Angela Merkel's winBBC NewsThere has been a worried response in Greece to the win for German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Sunday's election. The front page of the centre-left daily Ta Nea has a mocked-up photo of Angela Merkel on a throne with the headline "Triumph for the Queen ...Greece, other bailed out countries get Merkel for another four yearsKathimeriniHow Will The German Election Effect Europe? Spain, Greece React To Merkel ...International Business TimesWill Greece Decide The German Elections? If So, What's Next?ForbesSBS -Deutsche Welleall 1,244 news articles »


Greek concern over Merkel victory

The convincing election victory for Chancellor Angela Merkel leads to a worried response in Greece.


CHART: A Solid Sign Of Recovery In Europe's 'Periphery'

Earlier we talked about the Flash PMI reports out of the Eurozone, and how they showed the overall Eurozone economy hitting a 27-month high.

But of course there's no one "Eurozone" and frequently we talk about a 'core' (Germany, France, etc.) and a periphery (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece), the latter of which have done much worse.

The good news is that the periphery is recovering.

Here's a chart showing the employment picture in Germany, France, and the rest. As you can see, all are improving, but it was the rest of Europe that had the sharpest up-move in the latest reading.

Join the conversation about this story »



Angela Merkel triumphs in German election to secure historic third term

Chancellor's Christian Democratic Union and sister party win 41.5% of the vote – just five seats short of overall majority

Angela Merkel is basking in a historic third-term victory in the German elections, having led her conservatives to their best result in more than 20 years.

German editorials on Monday praised her considerable achievement. The Süddeutsche Zeitung columnist Heribert Prantl lamented the lack of a feminine form of "triumphator" in German, because Merkel would deserve it: "Her election victory was not just a victory, but a triumph. It is her triumph, not that of her party".

Like Prantl, Spiegel Online says Germany is reliving the era of its first chancellor, Konrad Adenauer; the conservatives are "the one party that makes all the calls at national level and will practically fill all the key posts from within its own ranks. The other parties can just look on".

Die Tageszeitung says the red-green opposition movement is practically dead: "They also lost in 2005 and 2009. There's no indication that that will change. If there will be a red-green government in the future, it will only be with involvement of the Left party."

But there are also critical voices. Die Welt asks whether Merkel will finally start pursuing reforms at home as well as abroad: "She won't be able to dine out on [Gerhard] Schröder's legacy for another four years".

Merkel's Christian Democratic Union and its sister party the Christian Social Union won 41.5% of the vote, with analysts calling the win a personal victory for the 59-year-old, who is now on track to overtake Margaret Thatcher as Europe's longest-serving female leader.

Merkel's performance was compared to that of conservative chancellor Konrad Adenauer, who was the last chancellor to secure a Bundestag majority without need of a coalition partner since 1957. After a campaign that concentrated almost solely on Merkel's personality and solid leadership in times of economic turmoil, but was thin on detailed policy, she came within a whisker of obtaining an absolute majority, falling just five seats short.

Final results gave the CDU/CSU 311 seats, the Social Democratic party (SPD) 192, the Left party 64 and the Greens 63.

The historical dimensions of the election were clear, with Merkel set to become just the third postwar chancellor to secure three election wins, after Adenauer and Helmut Kohl, who brought her into the party as an inexperienced and gauche 35-year-old.

She has also bucked the European trend by becoming the only leader in the eurozone, from left or right, to be re-elected since the snowballing of the eurozone crisis in 2010. Out of 17 countries,, 12 governments have fallen, indicating how protected Germans feel from the crisis under Merkel's leadership.

In a result that was closely watched across Europe, Merkel crushed her opponents – and, indeed, some of her allies.

Her coalition partner, the FDP, fell out of parliament for the first time since it was formed after the second world war, securing just 4.8% of the vote. All other parties – with the notable exception of the eurosceptic Alternative für Deutschland – lost ground.

The French president, François Hollande, was the first world leader to offer his congratulations, but the wider implications for Europe, austerity, the euro crisis and David Cameron's hopes of repatriating powers from Brussels were less clear.

Merkel will still have to rely on a coalition partner for a secure governing majority. Without her former liberal allies, she might now have to turn to the SPD, which is firmly opposed to Cameron's ideas of wresting powers back from the European Union.

Merkel, a scientist and pastor's daughter who grew up in communist East Germany, appeared to her party faithful in Berlin just 45 minutes after the first exit polls were released on Sunday night – a clear indication of the confidence there was in the win.

"We can surely celebrate this evening," she said, beaming at the largely young crowds who chanted 'Angie, Angie'. "This is a super result," she told them.

After thanking her campaign team in a rare emotional address, she turned to her husband, the chemistry professor Joachim Sauer, who was standing among the crowd, and said: "And of course my husband, standing on the sidelines, who has had to put up with quite a lot." Sauer smiled shyly back at her.

Merkel's official biographer, Stefan Kornelius, told the Guardian: "This usually distant and unemotional woman is grinning and cheering all evening. Finally she gets the reward she was denied for two consecutive elections.

"But she knows the traps. Certainly her party is that close to an overall majority – the first time since Adenauer in 1957. But waking up tomorrow morning with all votes counted she might need to find a coalition partner anyway."

While Merkel's CDU celebrated its historic victory, the centre-right Free Democrats were contemplating the worst result in their 75-year history after failing to reach the 5% threshold necessary to enter parliament. The radical Left party (8.6%) was celebrating what appeared to be its new position as the third biggest force in the Bundestag.

The other remarkable breakthrough of the evening was the sudden emergence of the eurosceptic AfD as a force. The party was just 0.3% short of the necessary threshold to secure Bundestag representation for the first time. It had promised that if it did so, it would change the terms of the euro crisis debate in which Germany has repeatedly sanctioned bailouts for countries in fiscal difficulties.

"We have to rethink the euro crisis," said Frauke Petry, an AfD leader. "We have to allow weaker countries like Greece and Spain and Portugal to leave the euro and rebuild their economies and then maybe return. We don't think we should pay for debts that have been accumulated by these countries. We think we will be able to push CDU and SPD towards new positions. Many members of the CDU quite agree with us but haven't said so in public."

Despite the record victory, Merkel may struggle in her third term. She could yet be forced into a coalition, most likely with the SPD, who, with 25.7%, secured the second worst result in their history; or even the Green party (8.4%), with whom the CDU has entered government on a state level.

Otherwise she could find herself struggling to push legislation through both chambers of parliament, with the upper house dominated by left-leaning parties.

While the issue of the euro crisis played a minimal role in the election campaign, it is likely to take on a prominent role now that Merkel, praised and criticised in equal measure for her handling of the crisis, has been endorsed for a third four-year term. Wolfgang Schäuble, the finance minister and close Merkel ally, said the conservatives' win should reassure Europeans. "Europe doesn't need to worry about the German elections," he said.

"We will remain reliable in the role of stability anchor and the growth motor of Europe … Germany continues to have an important leadership responsibility".

GermanyEuropeAngela MerkelEuroEuropean UnionEconomicsEurozone crisisEuropean monetary unionFinancial crisisPhilip OltermannKate © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Greece, other bailed out countries get Merkel for another four years

KathimeriniGreece, other bailed out countries get Merkel for another four yearsKathimeriniSouthern Europeans are facing four more years of Angela Merkel whether they like it or not. Majorities of 82 percent in Spain, 65 percent in Portugal and 58 percent in Italy repudiate the German leaderís handling of the euro areaís debt crisis, blaming ...How Will The German Election Effect Europe? Spain, Greece React To Merkel ...International Business TimesWill Greece Decide The German Elections? If So, What's Next?ForbesGerman Elections 2013: Here's What You Need to KnowPolicyMicSBS -Deutsche Welleall 1,244 news articles »


Greece needing to meet bailout plans foreclosures

KathimeriniGreece needing to meet bailout plans foreclosuresKathimeriniPanagiota Kalapotharakou says sheís never seen such distress in her 25 years as a lawyer at the consumer-advocacy organization she helped to set up in Athens. ìIf you look outside, the people are in despair,î Kalapotharakou said of the line of visitors ...and more »


Greek Strikes Roll Into Second Week

Testing the patience of Prime Minister Antonis Samaras who said they wouldn’t be allowed to strike for even a single day, Greek high school teachers are continued their series of rolling strikes into a second week on Sept. 23, with other sectors joining in as a protest against government plans to suspend, transfer and fire […]


Greece Sees Primary Surplus This Year

With envoys from international lenders in Athens checking the books before releasing more tranches in a series of rescue loans as part of a second bailout of $173 billion, the Finance Ministry said it expects to have a primary budget surplus this year, the trigger that would let the government try to seek debt relief […]


Merkel vows to keep up reform pressure on Greece after historic election win

KathimeriniMerkel vows to keep up reform pressure on Greece after historic election winKathimeriniAngela Merkel has said she will keep up the pressure on Greece to carry out reforms after scoring a historic victory in the German federal elections on Sunday. ìWe should not stop exercising pressure for the agreed reforms to be carried out,î said ...How Will The German Election Effect Europe? Spain, Greece React To Merkel ...International Business TimesWill Greece Decide The German Elections? If So, What's Next?ForbesMerkel gains historic win in GermanySBSDeutsche Welle -BBC Newsall 1,250 news articles »


Ashton and Georgieva deplore confiscation of humanitarian aid by Israeli security forces

by  Elena Ralli

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and Commissioner responsible for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva deplored the confiscation of humanitarian assistance carried out by Israeli security forces last week in Khirbet al-Makhul.

As they said in a joint statement: "The EU deplores the confiscation of humanitarian assistance carried out by Israeli security forces in Khirbet al-Makhul. EU representatives have already contacted the Israeli authorities to demand an explanation and expressed their concern at the incident. The EU underlines the importance of unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance and the applicability of international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory."

On Friday, Israeli security forces abused foreign diplomats and confiscated an aid truck that was about to distribute tents to homeless Palestinians in the West Bank. In particular, the French humanitarian aid organization Acted accompanied by diplomats from France, the UK, Ireland, Spain Sweden, Greece, Australia, Brazil, the EU and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, were stopped by Israel soldiers near the Makhoul village of Khirbet, which is home to about 100 Bedouin Palestinians.

According to Reuters Marion Castaing, the French diplomat, stated: “They dragged me out of the truck and forced me to the ground with no regard for my diplomatic immunity.”

On the other hand, Israeli forces said that Palestinian and foreign activists were prevented from erecting tents that were illegal on the ground of violating a supreme court decision. In addition, they accused the activists of throwing stones and hitting law enforcement officers.


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