This Week in the News (May 27, 2017)

These have been eventful weeks, from Iranian president Hassan Rouhani being re-elected by a landslide, to deadly confrontations in Bahrein, to a Somali jihadist attack in Kenya, to the return of Ebola, to Venezuela’s deadly protests. Yet, the main topics on international news about Europe and the European Union this week were the Manchester attack and Donald Trump’s European tour as part of his first trip abroad as president.

The Manchester attack

The Manchester attack, perpetrated on May 22 and killing 22 people and leaving more than 60 injured, was perhaps the single most discussed and disseminated piece of news regarding Europe this week. The attack, widely commented and analysed on our blog, shook Europe and the world for targeting a concert of a well known singer whose fanbase is mainly composed of children and teenagers. The singer Ariana Grande has committed herself to returning to Manchester for a benefit concert for the victims and their families.

According to several news outlets such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, or the Telegraph, British officials stated that they have identified most of the Manchester bomber’s associates, while having prevented a subsequent attack. Conversely, the Independent argues that there is a possibility that some of these suspects may have fled, meaning that the hunt for the latter will continue.

The Independent and Time point out that since the attack there has been a substantial increase in hate crime reports. The bomber, who is thought to have built the bomb himself, allegedly funded his actions through student loan and benefits, according to the Telegraph.

Trump’s European tour

“Brussels, which he called a “hellhole,” and the European Union, which he called “a vehicle for Germany,” and NATO, which he called “obsolete,” are all nervously awaiting the arrival of President Trump on Wednesday, the way earthlings might await the impact of an asteroid.” This is how an article in the New York Times (almost sarcastically) begins to envision what Trump’s visit to Europe would be like, emphasising the apparent need for European leaders to get him on board on the idea that the EU and NATO are important in maintaining peace and security in Europe and its surroundings.

Similarly, the Financial Times published an article entitled “Europe pays its fair share whatever Donald Trump says.” This title is itself imbued with some sarcasm (despite sarcasm often revealing some level of unwanted truth) as it points out to the obsolete nature of the idea of a global military power in favour of other useful diplomatic tools that the EU has been heavily investing on, such as trade and development aid.

An article in Politico was even less kind to Trump’s visit to Europe, as it bashed on the ignorance and lack of sobriety displayed by the US President during his NATO speech. The article argued that “for Europe, any remaining embers of hope that Trump could be reasoned with were doused in Brussels.” Like the New York Times, British newspaper the Guardian was no less unkind to Trump in pointing out the latter’s numerous faux pas regarding body-language and overall understanding of what the EU is.

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Inês Marques Ribeiro

Researcher at CEI-IUL. Editorial Assistant at PJSS. Guest Assistant Professor at ISCTE-IUL. PhD in History, Defence and IR (ISCTE-IUL); M.A. in European Political and Administrative Studies (College of Europe).

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