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Democracy

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Democratisation is a chief tenet of green politics and a central issue in political education. Still it is often far from clear how to translate the general notion of democratisation into concrete projects, campaigns, or educational programmes. "Civil society" is one such concept which, while widely embraced, is very contentious when it comes to questions of implementation. Other such issues are the crisis of party democracy, the media and democracy, as well as numerous fundamental questions surrounding the relationship between politics and science. All of these are part of the foundation's activities. A further focus of our work are programmes that tackle far-right extremism and racism.

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In a year full of elections and decisions that may strongly impact on the future shape and direction of European integration, we aim, together with you, to discuss the most relevant challenges facing Europe. We cordially invite you to engage in this year’s European Youth Conference.

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On April 2, 2017 Parliamentary elections took place in Armenia. These were the first national elections after the Constitutional Referendum of 2015 which transformed the country from a Presidential into a Parliamentary Republic. An analysis.

Ecology

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Ecology and sustainable development are central areas for securing the future of humanity – areas which should by no means be treated as a political football. It is to the credit of the green movement within and outside parliaments that ecology has become one of the main arenas of politics. There is hardly another subject which, within the last 30 years, has been thus transformed from the concern of a few scientists, activists (often thought of as "nutters") into a topic of world conferences.

Emission trading systems aim to put a price on carbon, to save emissions where it is cheapest and benefit the global climate. But the approach has failed so far. In the EU, the price for carbon has dropped to a low, so producers can easily continue polluting. And they are actually making huge profits from the permits they receive.

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Dirty dealings protect the powerful and moneyed interests of the oil and gas industry. That is one reason why governments have not been able to meet their emission reduction commitments. Why the battle against climate change and corruption must be fought together.

Economy & Social Issues

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Contemporary social change is characterised by a change in the age structure of our society as well as by changes concerning life styles, relationships and gender relations. Sustained high unemployment rates have meant that the idea of full employment has become a remote possibility. At the same time this has refocused the debate on the crises of the wage economy and the adverse effects it has on systems of social security. Thus current problems do also give scope to the development of new concepts of work – of work beyond a salaried economy.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation looks at alternatives to the West-German model of a salaried, male, full-time job economy. At conferences and in publications we compare national models of employment and social policy, discuss life and work styles beyond the market or state, and discuss the potential of employment in the non-profit sector, the dynamics of shadow economies, moonlighting, job creation schemes, work migration and bogus self-employment. Presently we focus on the question, if – or how – new concepts of work can go together with global equality.

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Corporate lobby groups have created a broad network of influence channels around the G20, with the Business20 (B20) at its core. At the G20 Sherpa meeting in Frankfurt on 23-24 March the B20 presents its policy recommendations to the governments. It is time to counterbalance the corporate influence in the G20.

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Apart from the G20’s apparent lack of effective strategy and implementation of its own pledges, its growth vision lacks full coherence with sustainable development. Instead of wishfully hoping to retrace an economic growth trajectory of the past, the G20 should advance coherent sustainable development.

International Politics

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After the end of the cold war foreign and security policies have been subject to rapid change. This development has been further accelerated after September 11. Traditional security policies such as deterrence and containment have been replaced by risk prevention, crisis intervention, and preemptive policy measures. Increasingly questions of foreign, security, and developmental policy have become intertwined. The debates surrounding the war on Iraq have brought to the surface tensions between the USA and Europe – as well as within Europe itself. Against this background we would like to continue the debates on the future of transatlantic relations - and this against the background of new security policy risks, crisis prevention, and preemptive policies.

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Academics in the field of gender studies do not normally experience a high level of public interest in their work, yet in recent months things have taken a turn in Hungary.

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If Hungarian President János Áder signs the law, it will most probably have serious consequences for Hungary’s diplomatic relations. No less importantly, it will mark the beginning of the end of an independent academic sector in the country.

Education & Culture

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In the fields of science and education, the activities of the Heinrich Böll Foundation reflect the change of modern societies towards what has been labelled "Knowledge Society." Knowledge – especially scientific knowledge – has increasingly become a crucial resource and education the precondition for participation in the public sphere. This participation in turn includes the ability to take part in social deliberations about the direction and the limits of scientific and technological progress.

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Thousands of people are protesting against the close down of the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. It is a political battle about “foreign influences” and pro or anti EU, US or Russia sentiments.

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The Hungarian government trys to shut down the renowned Central European University. This is an attack on academic freedom in Europe.

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