Geopolitics

Belgian Politician To Britain: You Snub EU, We Europeans Stop Speaking English

A Belgian M.P. in the European Parliament is so livid over David Cameron’s E.U. treaty veto that he is refusing even to speak the English language. Another accused the British Prime minister Tuesday of selling out to London bankers.

Former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt, now a member of the European Parliament
Former Belgian PM Guy Verhofstadt, now a member of the European Parliament


*NEWSBITES

British Prime Minister David Cameron's recent veto of changes to the E.U. treaty has generated some seriously bad blood among E.U. politicans, one of whom – former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt – has gone so far as to boycott the English language.

Rather than address the Strasbourg-based European Parliament in English, as he normally would have done, Verhofstadt chose instead Tuesday to stick with his native Flemish. "Today, I shall be speaking my mother tongue. English is out of style," said Verhofstadt, who heads the Parliament's Liberal faction.

Verhofstadt is not the only E.U. politician still fuming over Cameron's veto. Martin Schulz, leader of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament, accused the British prime minister of using the veto to ensure there would be no further regulation of "London City speculators."

"Fortunately, other leaders didn't let themselves be blackmailed like that," Schulz said. He also expressed agreement with the conservative European People's Party leader, Joseph Daul, that the issue of the British rebate – a rebate on the UK contribution to the E.U. budget – should be reviewed.

"Why should we accommodate them?" Daul, a Frenchman, asked. The rebate was hammered out in 1984 by then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Others, however, remain cautiously optimistic that Britain's break from Europe will only be temporary. The UK will "come back to the table to save face," said Luxembourg's Viviane Reding, a European Commission vice-president. "The British need us more than we need the British."

Read the full story in German by Florian Eder

Photo - Europaportalen.se

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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Society

How The Top Collector Of Chinese Art Evades Censors In New Hong Kong Museum

Swiss businessman Uli Sigg is the most important collector of Chinese contemporary art. In 2012, he gave away most of his collection to the M+ in Hong Kong. Now the museum has opened as the Communist Party is cracking down hard on freedom of expression. So how do you run a museum in the face of widespread censorship from Beijing?

''Rouge 1992'' by Li Shan at the M+ museum

Maximilian Kalkhof

The first test has been passed, Uli Sigg thinks. So far, everything has gone well. His new exhibition has opened, visitors like to come, and — this is the most important thing for the Swiss businessman — everything is on display. He has not had to take an exhibit off the list of works.

The M+ in Hong Kong is a new museum that wants to compete with the established ones. It wants to surpass the MoMa in New York and Centre Pompidou in Paris. Sigg, a rather down-to-earth man, says: “There is no better museum in the whole world.” That is very much self-praise, since Sigg’s own collection is central to the museum.

The only problem is: great art is often political; it questions the rulers. Since the Chinese Communist Party has been cracking down on critics and freedom in Hong Kong, the metropolis is a bad place for politics and art. So how did the collection get there?

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