April 17, 2024 - 6:10pm

→ French university cancels Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Palestine event

After the fiasco of the NatCon conference in Brussels yesterday, the assaults on free speech just won’t stop. Today the University of Lille announced the cancellation of a “Free Palestine” association event, which was set to be attended by former French presidential hopeful Jean-Luc Mélenchon and a raft of other Left-wing politicians.

Why? According to the university, “the conditions are no longer met to guarantee the serenity of the debates.” Defiant, Mélenchon announced on X that the event would take place on Thursday at a new location, but expressed his “sadness” in seeing the university cancel, saying the institution was a “victim of pressure”. But less than a week after police in Germany cancelled a pro-Palestine conference, there seems to be a trend forming. Why is Europe suddenly so afraid of free speech?

→ David Lammy outlines progressive realist vision

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, “realism” has become a rather fashionable worldview in foreign policy circles. But over in the UK, it’s going through a mini-rebrand. In a new piece for Foreign Affairs magazine, UK Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy makes the case for “progressive realism”.

According to Lammy, the goal of “progressive realists is pursuing realist means for progressive ends”. “Instead of using the logic of realism solely to accumulate power,” he writes, “progressive realism uses it in service of just goals — for example, countering climate change and defending democracy.” But crucially it is the “pursuit of ideals without delusions about what is achievable”. This all sounds well and good — but how exactly does a realist framework deal with issues as woolly and far-reaching as climate change and democracy? 


→ EU farmers find unlikely ally for green transition

At least the farmers have a few allies in the corridors of power. Well, sort of. A new report from former Italian PM Enrico Letta has said that the cost of the EU’s green transition should be shared across multiple sectors and not just among agricultural workers. Letta goes on to warn that other groups may suffer too. “Today it might be farmers,” he writes. “Tomorrow automotive workers who feel they are disproportionately bearing the costs of transformation without sufficient support.”

The report comes after a series of protests across EU countries which, in some cases, led to street fires and clashes with riot police. But over the last couple of months, European officials agreed to walk back a few select climate policies in an effort to calm down the unruly farmers. We’re sure that has nothing to do with the upcoming EU elections…