Author Archive

Tina Schivatcheva

Tina Schivatcheva is a PhD Candidate International Political Economy at the University of Cambridge.

Was it not Germany’s choice and commitment to be a civilian power? The German federal elections have run their course and the CDU/CSU gained the lion’s share of the public’s support. Apparently the electoral results were unaffected by the major political scandal of the summer – the spectacular failure of the Euro Hawk surveillance drone programme. The program has been in the making for 13 years during three consecutive government mandates – in two of these mandates the CDU/CSU has been the major political power. The ‘rise and fall’ of the surveillance drone has also come at a cost of half a billion euros to the German taxpayers. Should such a scandal be forgotten so quickly? ‘Drones’ evoke recent American military campaigns, rather than the dusty Ministerial offices in the German capital. Thus, in the summer of 2013, the news of the ‘rise and fall’ of a German surveillance drone caught the German and European public by surprise. As the long silence of the German government on the acquisition of this new military capability was suddenly broken, the public learnt with astonishment that for 13 years the programme has been lurching on, even though the surveillance drone’s flying problems have long been ‘ a fact universally acknowledged.’ Years have gone by, but the technological problems have remained unresolved and the aviation authorities would not certify the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) due to its lack of an anti-collision system. In 2013, Germany finally bid an official farewell to the Euro Hawk. Amidst the noise of the heated televised debates and the tearful (for some) farewell to this particular weapon, the old message that once Hemingway made about the hopelessness and futility of war was all but muted.

Bulgaria’s constitution includes a wide range of social rights. However, the ‘democratic, law-governed and social state’ has been characterized as ‘chronically incapable of coping with its social problems or improving its level of economic prosperity’. Moreover, the Bulgarian neoliberal ‘minimal state’ often cannot provide its citizens even with basic necessities, such as food, electricity, central heating, or medical care. The post-socialist radical and extensive privatization and economic restructuringhave led to systemic impoverishment, decimating entire sectors of the economy and society. The state often has appeared to be merely a prize that players try to capture rather than a guarantor of law and the basic services necessary for civilized and decent life. The post-socialist reformshave resulted in acute inequalities and disenfranchisement. With public discontent seemingly on the rise, strong social movements of ‘democratic populism’ and ‘redemptive radicalism’ increasingly capture the public vote.