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End of last week the European Council has appointed the new President of the European Council and the High Representative for External Affairs. Our colleague, Federica Mogherini, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs will be replacing Catherine Ashton. The Prime Minister of Poland, Donald Tusk, has accepted to be the successor of Herman Van Rompuy.
La Rentrée? No time to lose!
It’s no longer exclusively a French cultural habit to pay tribute to the return to work and normal activity after the summer break. La rentrée – which means coming back – is the kick-start back into the realities of life after the summer holidays. The summer of 2014 has seen the development of conflicts which are of more than regional importance. The relentless series of events has left us breathless. In this particular theatre of war Ukraine has taken centre stage, in a plot where national borders and the sovereignty of a state are no longer respected, while Russia has chosen its role by playing with fire.
On 13 August Ruth Brand passed away at the age of 85, in Essen/Germany. Ruth Brand was not only a friend of SOLIDAR who helped found our network. She was a guiding light in building a Social Europe. She worked for many years for our German member organisation Arbeiterwohlfahrt (AWO) at its headquarters in Bonn and promoted AWO’s European commitment in the 80’s which led to the creation of the European Association for Social and Cultural Progress, whose Secretary General she became. Later she was involved in the European Anti Poverty Network and lastly in AGE, representing the German coordination of Senior’s Organisations. As a staunch social democrat Ruth upheld our values and, as a result of her own experiences during the Nazi dictatorship and Second World War, was a strong advocate for European construction around a social pillar. In her last few years she campaigned on the issues of violence and discrimination against elderly people.
We have lost a friend, a supporter and an optimistic European.
The Lessons from International Development Cooperation
Huffington Post Germany has posted an article by our colleague from SOLIDAR Suisse, Felix Gnehm, Director of the International Department, entitled entitled ‘Ebola hält uns den Spiegel vor’. In his article he describes the paradoxical lessons to be learnt by taking a closer look at International Development Cooperation. Society today is confronted with the most horrific images, accessible simply by logging in on Facebook. Such images contribute to the general feeling of rapid global deterioration.