The European Union's marathon parliamentary election kicked off on Thursday when Britain and the Netherlands voted, with right-wing, anti-EU parties expected to attract a surge of protest votes in many countries on a low turnout. However, a Dutch exit poll indicated that the anti-Islam, Eurosceptic Freedom Party of Geert Wilders' - which plans to forge an alliance with France's far-right National Front - had fallen well short of its goal of topping the poll.
Europe is sinking into a protracted period of deepening poverty, mass unemployment, social exclusion, greater inequality, and collective despair as a result of austerity policies adopted in response to the debt and currency crisis of the past four years, according to an extensive study being published on Thursday. "Whilst other continents successfully reduce poverty, Europe adds to it," says the 68-page report from the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. "The long-term consequences of this crisis have yet to surface.
They come seeking refuge, but when asylum seekers cross into the European Union, they often find little compassion. In Greece, they are held in squalid detention camps, while in Italy they often end up on the street. Here is what they face at entry points across the EU.
In the wake of 9/11, a new brand of home-grown right-wing terrorism was able to emerge in Germany. Even specially drafted anti-terror laws didn't help because right-wing radicalism had been underestimated and sometimes even structurally repressed for too long. After the brutal right-wing extremist terrorist attacks in Norway, it became clear in Germany too that right-wing terrorists were capable of carrying out the worst attacks the country had seen since the Second World War.
Saying he was inspired by British Prime Minister David Cameron's promise of a referendum on whether to leave the European Union, FPO head Heinz-Christian Strache said this was just the kind of direct democracy Austria needed as well. "If the EU develops into a centralised super-state then the final consequence for Austria would be an EU exit. I would rather have an alliance with Switzerland," Strache said. "It would make sense to have a referendum on a euro exit," he said in comments released before publication on Thursday.
Confidential informants like Kai D. can be the most valuable tool for the intelligence services, because they can go to places were the authorities cannot. But they also pose a risk to democracy. The letter "V" in "V-Mann" -- "Vertrauens-Mann," the German term for informant, which translates loosely as "Confidence Man" -- doesn't really stand for "Vertrauen," or "confidence," but for "Verrat" ("betrayal"), says Hans-Jürgen Förster, the former head of domestic intelligence for the eastern state of Brandenburg. Informants often have divided loyalties.
It's a Wednesday in early summer 2012, on the terrace of a Chinese restaurant in Nuremberg's city center. Kai D., 48, once one of the most subversive activists in the German neo-Nazi community, is sitting at a table, drinking a glass of roasted wheat tea, the house specialty, eagerly answering questions about his past in the right-wing extremist community. The ex-Nazi seems at ease as he chats about his experiences as the head of the Covenant of the New Front (Gesinnungsgemeinschaft der Neuen Front) and the Thule Network, a neo-Nazi data-sharing group, which he helped build.