Elisa Simantke

About Elisa Simantke

Elisa Simantke studied economy and politics at the University of Cologne and journalism at the Journalism School Cologne. She worked for the daily newspaper Berliner Tagesspiegel (2011-2016), initially reporting on daily news, from 2014 on European affairs in general and the Greek crisis in particular. In 2015, Elisa won the Otto-Brenner-Preis for critical journalism for her multimedia research project “Europoly” about forced privatisations in the crisis countries of the eurozone. Elisa lives in Berlin.
Martin Schulz, February 2017, Credit: SPD Saar
14 03, 2017

Martin Schulz – is he really an alternative to Angela Merkel?

BY HARALD SCHUMANN The SPD chancellor candidate is supposed to bring new momentum into German politics. But his actions as the president of the European Parliament raises doubts. Finally! Finally, one would like to shout, Germany’s Social Democrats are owning up to their responsibilities. With Martin Schulz, the new top man from Brussels, the SPD – for the first time in 13 years – has re-established itself as a real alternative to the eternal chancellor and her Christian Union. More equity in wages and taxes, a clear edge against Trump, a democratic Europe in solidarity – Schulz strikes the right [...]

Jeronimo de Sousa (Communist Party), Antonio Costa (Socialist, Primeminister) and Catarina Martins (Bloquo Esquerda) // Source: Geringonça
3 03, 2017

How Portugal manages to square the circle

BY PAULO PENA Portugal used to be the former poster child of the EU crisis countries. Now it has a new left government which opposes austerity – and became a role model for European socialists. How did this happen? There’s an old cartoon, by João Abel Manta: the Portuguese borders chalk-drawn on a black board in front of a crowd of curious students. Among many scholars that shaped the ideological debate back in those days in 1975, there’s Gandhi, Marx, Mao. The illustration is called “A ponderous problem”. There hasn’t been much intellectual brainstorming over Portugal since the Carnation [...]

7 02, 2017

Lessons learned: The challenges of coordinating a multinational team

BY INVESTIGATE EUROPE We, the reporters of Investigate Europe, recently published our first investigation. For it, we collaborated to interview over 200 experts, border guards, politicians, industrialists, and academics over the past months. Via the Global Investigate Journalists Network we gave a look behind-the-scenes of our transnational collaboration. Read the full text here. A new, dysfunctional border regime is being created in Europe. That is what we found out after months of research. People’s fear of terror and the refugee crisis are shaping national and European border policies. However, the proposed solutions cost billions, often without having any provable benefits, except for the defence industry itself. Much [...]

Newsweek cover showing Polands minister of justice. Headline says: Ziobro has to answer questions. Photo: Newsweek Poland
7 12, 2016

Something rotten in the state of Poland

BY WOJCIECH CIESLA It was a tough assignment – to write an article disclosing political party conventions, falsely pretending to be climate conferences, were illegally paid for with EU money. It exposed that invoices for hundreds of thousands of euros were issued by the party’s friends and that the Polish minister of justice appeared to be at the heart of a fraud perpetrated against the European Parliament (EP). A Danish journalist, Peter Jeppesen, and I – together with my colleague Michal published our stories on the same day, on 15 November. I published – together with my colleague Michal Krzymowski – [...]

Will he soon be waving Good-bye? Mario Renzi connected his future to the outcome of the Referendum at 4th of december. Photo: Flickr/European Council
24 11, 2016

The Italian Dilemma

BY MARIA MAGGIORE If I vote YES I will hand over democracy, the balance of power, our history to one single man and a few oligarchs. If I vote NO the country will not change, there will still be 945 members in Parliament – it’s the second biggest parliament in Europe with regard to the number of MPs after the UK (577 in France and 699 in Germany) and the most expensive. So, we will be stuck with a long and difficult legislative process. If I vote YES, I tell Renzi, “please, go ahead”. Laws will be passed more [...]

The Norwegian royal family itself has a complex immigration background. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The royal court
14 11, 2016

The king’s speech and the queen’s echo

BY INGEBORG ELIASSEN The governments of Denmark and Norway are competing in making their public the most timid in Europe. The debate of immigration becomes a question of  “identity” in contrast to “the others”. Norway is lagging a bit. We have King Harald. Margrethe has been queen of the Danes since 1972.  She just published a book which deals a lot with what it means to be Danish. The message is this, according to news reports: ”We Danes should explain better the values that our country are based on. And we must set requirements for people who want to become part [...]

And it’s not just Greece. Portugal and Italy, beware! Reforms on the way.
30 09, 2016

How Brussels is obstructing the prosecution of corruption cases in Greece

BY NIKOLAS LEOTOPOULOS From the Commission’s spokesperson to the president of Eurogroup himself, a crowd of EU officials have been trying to block Greek judges from doing their jobs. As for the new privatization fund, board members and experts, from top to bottom, can commit crimes as they please: By law, no judge can investigate them, no court can try them. For a good eight years now, politicians, pundits and ordinary citizens have been quarreling over the merits (or lack thereof) of economic policies imposed on Greece by its lenders, notably the EU Commission. Was austerity beneficial or catastrophic? Did [...]

Demonstration in Lisbon against the “troika”. Photo: Nuno Ferreira Santos, Público
11 09, 2016

The reporter who mistook his bias for success

BY PAULO PENA How one of the most influential German newspapers got many facts wrong in just one report. Thomas Urban, the Madrid-based Iberian correspondent of the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, just wrote an article about the recent change in the “right track” that both Portugal’s and Spain’s reforms used to be on. His argument is simple: 1. The socialists created a problem in both countries’ economies. (Let’s leave that in peace, although it is easy to find on Wikipedia that in the last 26 years, since 1990, both in Portugal and in Spain, Socialists and Conservatives have been roughly 13 [...]

Bread and salt – the traditional Polish welcoming gesture.
30 08, 2016

Poles apart

BY WOJCIECH CIESLA Poles are against immigrants and don’t want them. Poland has never been a hospitable country for refugees. Today it slams the door shut for refugees and – in that way – turns away from Europe.from Warsaw.” Such generalisations are dangerous, because they come with misunderstanding and prejudice. Reluctance to refugees is not a Polish specialty. Unchecked and unconditional immigration and terrorist attacks add fuel to the fire of prejudice not only in EU countries that already welcome immigrants. But facts are facts: It adds fuel in Poland, a relatively homogenous country with 38 million inhabitants and [...]

Investigate Europe team, as of July 2016. (Photo: Christophe Garach)
30 08, 2016

How “Investigate Europe” came about

BY HARALD SCHUMANN It happened in Ballyhea, a small Irish village in the countryside on the way from Limerick to Cork, where my bias was challenged by a most unexpected encounter. Every Sunday morning, an old lady, probably in her 70s and around 100 other villagers were rallying against the bail-out of the creditors of Ireland’s bankrupt banks, which burdened the Irish state’s coffers with more than 60 billion Euros of debt to the other Euro zone states, the UK and the IMF. I asked her what she thought about those Germans who believe they had rescued Ireland from [...]