Economic Policies

Rights of European Citizens

To live in the EU and to be part of the EU is a big privilege with many rights and advantages.
Every citizen who lives in the European Union has EU fundamental rights which include the right to vote and stand as a candidate at elections to the European Parliament and the municipal elections, the right to administration which means that every person has the right to have his or her affairs handled impartially, fairly and within a reasonable time by the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the EU. Moreover, everyone has the right of access to documents of the different EU institutions, the right to refer to the of European ombudsman in case of maladministration in the different EU institutions, the right to petition the European parliament, the right in freedom of movement and of residence and the right of diplomatic and consular protection. If someone wants to report a breach of the EU rights this has to be addressed to the relevant authority, government, a national court or a specialised human rights body.

Elisabeth olbort

European policy

With the EU Treaty of Maastricht in November 1993, the legal basis for the cultural and political commitment of the European Union was created. The „EU cultural article“ was renumbered with every treaty change: 128 (Maastricht 1993), 151 (Amsterdam 1997), currently 167 (Lisbon 2009).

The competence for cultural policy remains unrestrictedly incumbent on the EU member states. In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, the EU carries out supportive and coordinating measures and is committed to supporting cultural diversity, cultural heritage, artistic creation and non-commercial cultural exchange in Europe.
 The EU culture ministers meet twice a year in Brussels as part of the „Education, Youth, Culture and Sport“ council. Depending on the respective instrument, the decision is made unanimously (e.g. conclusions) or with a qualified majority (e.g. ordinances). According to the country rotation, Portugal and Slovenia will hold the Presidency in 2021.
EU culture ministers meeting in 2020 and 2021:
 Video conference on April 8, 2020

Video conference on May 19, 2020Video conference on December 1, 2020May 18, 2021 in Brussels

Since December 1, 2019, Mariya Gabriel has been the new EU Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth. The Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC) is headed by Themis Christophidou.
 In the cultural sector, the European Commission has presented comparatively few legislative proposals (e.g. Creative Europe). Most of the templates are communications or recommendations on specific topics. Studies are also commissioned and conferences organized.

The European Parliament’s Committee on Culture (CULT) deals with legislative proposals and communications from the European Commission. Hearings are often held or resolutions passed on specific issues.



Nina Wieser

Corona and the economy

The corona pandemic hit the world hard. Thousands of people lost their jobs, due to various lockdowns people stayed at home and don’t spend as much money and people weren’t allowed to travel. This caused many economies to suffer with some even going in to recession. As the pandemic drags on, many small companies have already gone bankrupt and most are just barely staying afloat. Although this is not the case for bigger companies. For example, Amazon had a boom in profits ever since the pandemic started. As with any crisis, there are always people who profit from them.

Victor Padilla

Business cycles

Understanding the economic shock of Covid


Predicting the path ahead has become nearly impossible, but we can speculate about the size and scale of the economic shock.

A steady flow of money, goods, services and the people to make them flow is essentail to a so called „healthy economy“. That flow is severed right now by life-saving „stay at home“ orders. A resession is already happening and we are also not able to stop it. Nevertheless it is important what kind of recession it will be and how the recovery will look like.

Authors from ‚Boston Consulting Group‘ point out that recessions and their recoveries come in various shock shapes. They depend on how hard the crisis hits the supply side of an economy. This includes inputs and capital like machines, factories, software, labour and workers including productivity and how we use labor and capital in an effective and productive way.

From best to worst we have V, U and L recession shock shapes.

The V shape is a one time dip. You can see the grows dips but is is recovering to its pre-crisis level and rate. The U shape is much more costly because the credit flow is disturbed and the growth drops very fast and is never rebounding to its pre-crisis path. Last and least: the L shape. That is the worst! Credit is severely disturbed, not once but perpetually and there is very little new investment. In this shape the economy never recovers its prior output path. The crisis in this case leaves permanent structural damage to the economy’s supply side.

At the moment we have to deal with a double shock. The financial system shock and an epic freeze of the real economy including households, firms and government that deliver real goods and services. No country has a perfect plan how to deal with these two major shocks but there are actions which should help overcoming it. One big step and you can even call it a solution or at least an important factor is innovation. On the medical side: vaccines, treatments and capacity innovations are needed. One the economic side we will need policy innovations. We need correct ways of delivering the money to those who need it. Zero interest brigde loans to households and firms are just one example for potential solutions to help make a real difference.


Kathrin Maurer

Covid and travel

Covid-19: Why travel will never be the same


Air travel won’t return to pre-crisis levels until 2023 – IATA chief

Before the pandemic international holiday-makers spend 1.6 trillion $ every year.

In most european countries flight numbers are still about 75% lower than last year.

Airlines were alreading struggling in summer this year.

After the financial crisis in 2008 the number of business trips in the UK fell by a third and never picked up. However leisure travel climbed back to pre-crisis levels.

If this happens again it could have a big impact on airline profits.

Areas like business travel may never recover.

There’s no doubt that the prices for flights will go up. There will be kind of a competition between all the airlines that survived the pandemic.

In summer this year governments were desperate to open up travel as quickly as possible.

For example people living in the UK were allowed to spend their holidays in other countries in Europe while people who wanted to visit their family or partners in America or Nigeria couldn’t -> unfair system

Many travellers spent their holidays near their homes -> good for the environment, less emissions



Elisabeth olbort

Covid-19: Why is America's death toll so high?

America has become the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic. In the beginning, president Donald Trump’s administration was slow to act.

President: „Things would not get so bad. We have it under control.“

But it got worse. On March 9th, the Trump administration promised millions of test kits, but at the end of the month only 200 000 tests had been completed.

News: „The federal government is failing.“

However, the failure wasn’t entirely down to Trump’s inaction. The first tests, created by the „Centres of Disease Control“, didn’t work. Private and academic labs tried to develop their own tests but they were initially hampered by strict regulations and laborious approval process. In America the public-health authority is incredibly devolved to states and cities in terms of how they respond, so that the federal government actually can’t order these things.

On March 20th, New York announced the lockdown. On the same day in Florida, spring breakers were revelling on the beaches. There were no lockdown for almost another two weeks.

Also the borders stayed open, what complicates the efforts at containment. This is a weakness of America, because the virus doesn’t respect state lines.

Politics has infected America’s handling of the outbreak. Republican and right-leaning politicians have been slower to impose restrictions than Democrats. The Republicans seeming to take social distancing less seriously than Democrats. The states who voted the Democrats, have more than halved their travel in March. States who voted the Republicans, have increased their travel slightly.

In April, America became the worst-hit country in the world. Only 305 of America’s 6000 or so hospitals offer the most intensive treatment available. That’s if patients even make it to the hospital. Roughly 12% have no health insurance. 23% of who has insurance are underinsured. The Trump administration promised help to those who don’t have access to health care.

On April 16th, The president presented a set of guidelines on how and when social-distancing measures could be lifted. The next move is up to each individual state. Trump has presided over and done much to encourage America’s disjointed response to the pandemic.

The combination of an erratic president, federalised government and a complex andfragmented health-care system means, America’s already high death toll, will continue to mount.

Elisabeth olbort