The Maastricht Diplomat

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  • Alodia Heijmans

Changes for the best and worst

When the Queen loses a jewel from her crown…

On the 30th of November, the British newspaper, the Guardian, announced that Barbados becomes a republic after taking its independence from the United Kingdom in 1966. Indeed, although its independence was official, Queen Elisabeth II was still head of state. After the official ceremony, Barbados celebrated its transition towards a republican regime led by Sandra Prunella Mason, this time, completely detached from the English monarchy. Such big step forward for Barbados, an old English colony, to be independent with a woman at its head who was elected in October by indirect universal suffrage. However, Barbados remains a member of the Commonwealth, since the British royal family insists on keeping close relations as Prince Charles stressed at the ceremony he attended. The prime minister of Barbados took advantage of the ceremony to crown the singer Rhianna as a "national hero". In fact, the singer born in Barbados has always defended her island of origin and according to the Prime Minister "has made the world dream with her quest for excellence and her interest in her homeland".


When parents’ responsibility enters the game of arms…

This Tuesday, an armed drama in a United States high school broke out again. A 15-year-old opened fire at “Oxford” high school in Michigan, northern state of the United States. This tragedy caused 4 deaths and 6 injuries, including a teacher. This time, justice takes heavy measures against the murderer but also against his parents. On Saturday, the young man's parents were charged with manslaughter for allowing their son to use a gift gun. The juvenile perpetrator was arrested on the scene and charged with "terrorist act" and "murder", and faces life imprisonment, as he is being prosecuted as an adult. For the time being, he pleads not guilty and has chosen to remain silent.

While gun ownership in the U.S. is still a scourge, especially because of school shootings, holding parents responsible is a step forward, due to its scarcity. American justice then takes a different approach, which may lead to at least a greatly enhanced security of arms.


Mandatory vaccination in Europe continues to move forward…

The recent Covid-19 outbreak is cause for concern. The arrival of the fifth wave has made Europe the epicenter of the pandemic again. The situation is all the more worrying as the Omicron variant has been detected in several countries.

Therefore, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced on Wednesday that she was in favor of a "discussion" on mandatory vaccination, creating concern or rejoicing for the member states. Austria is the first country in the European Union to have made the choice for compulsory vaccination, which will be effective as of February 1. To find such an obligation elsewhere in Europe, you have to go to the smallest country in the world, the Vatican, where the inhabitants and the people who work there are obliged to be vaccinated. Germany, for its part, intends to follow in the footsteps of its neighbor, since Olaf Scholz, the new chancellor, has announced that compulsory vaccination will be the subject of a bill before parliament before the end of the year. Further south in Europe, Greece has chosen to make vaccination mandatory for those over 60, introducing a fine for those who fail to comply with the law. Since its inception, and particularly since 2019, compulsory vaccination and measures such as the health pass have been a hot topic. In the current state of crisis, many countries and heads of state are rightly asking themselves whether this might not be the solution to see the way out of the tunnel.

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