RSS feed
Gavin Hewitt, Europe editor

Gavin Hewitt Europe editor

This is where you will find my view of the big arguments over Europe, its politics and its personalities

Europe braces for first vote since the 2008 crash

24 April 2014
The European Parliament in Brussels, 14 April

Europe's elections are just over a month away. Campaigns have started but with a whimper. There are few signs, so far, that the European electorate is engaged. For the moment it is a ghost campaign - apart from the struggle for the top jobs in Brussels.

Mainstream parties will argue over tax and spending and appeal to their traditional supporters but in many countries this will be a referendum on the European project. Many voters will have the chance to support parties disenchanted with Brussels and all its powers. The last few years have seen the rise of anti-establishment parties both from the left and right, some nationalist, some extreme and most of them drawing their support from being eurosceptic and anti-immigration.

So the battle will be fought less over the minutia of policy but in broad strokes about Europe itself.

In the past year successive polls have registered a widespread disillusionment with the European project. This will be the first Europe-wide election since the eurozone crisis.

The bond markets have moved on - cheerfully buying Greek debt. European officials declare the single currency repaired. But the hangover remains: over 26 million out of work, wages and pensions, in many places, slashed and debts still increasing. Last year Italy's debt rose to 132.6% of GDP. And after all the pain the unanswered question remains - is the future a low-growth Europe?

Backlash time?

Marine Le Pen speaking to reporters, 22 April
Marine Le Pen is hoping for a historic win for the National Front in France

Read full article

Europe moves softly softly on Ukraine

15 April 2014
An armed pro-Russian activist stands in front of seized the Ukrainian regional administration building in the eastern Ukrainian town of Sloviansk, Ukraine, on Monday 14 April 2014, with the Russian national sign in the background
An armed pro-Russian activist in front of a seized building in Sloviansk

Since the last European summit - when Europe's leaders warned Russia of further sanctions if there was no de-escalation of the crisis - events have moved fast on the ground.

Pro-Russian militias, most of them armed, have seized buildings in nine eastern and southern Ukrainian towns.

Read full article

Ukraine crisis: Big test for Europe

14 April 2014
Pro-Russian flag in Donetsk
There are major differences within the EU on how to tackle Russian actions in Ukraine

For Europe these spring days may prove to be a defining moment. Its protests over Russian action in Ukraine have gone unheeded. Its pleas have been disregarded. In recent weeks its hand in the crisis has only weakened.

Europe's foreign ministers meet on Monday in Luxembourg. They are in danger of losing the ability to influence events.

Read full article

The Greek experiment

7 April 2014
Demonstrators in Athens (27 March 2014)
A nationwide strike is due to take place in Greece this week

Greece remains Europe's laboratory; an economic experiment.

In the past week the country's minister for European Affairs, Dimitris Kourkoulas, was quoted as saying: "We have lost 25% of our GDP since 2008... we have been in seven consecutive years of recession. This has never happened in modern history. Even in the Great Depression of 1929, the American economy was in recession for just three years."

Read full article

Obama spells out Russia strategy

27 March 2014
President Obama delivers speech in the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. 26 March 2014
President Obama did not disguise US frustration with defence cuts in Europe

In a keynote speech to 2,000 people in a Brussels concert hall, President Obama set out his strategy for dealing with Russia over Ukraine.

He characterised the crisis as a contrast in ideas and beliefs between the West and Russia. He said that the annexation of Crimea had violated the beliefs that international law matters, that borders cannot be redrawn.

Read full article

Ukraine crisis: The weakness of Europe

24 March 2014
Francois Hollande, David Cameron and Angela Merkel 6 March
EU leaders have met several times to co-ordinate their response to the Ukraine crisis

In both Washington and Moscow I suspect officials are asking the same question of Europe: "How strong is its resolve when it comes to Ukraine?"

This week brought a reminder that Europe's economies are still struggling to emerge from recession, that unemployment remains stubbornly high and that there is growing discontent with the political establishment in many countries.

Read full article

Gavin added analysis to:

Crimea crisis: Merkel warns Russia faces escalating sanctions

20 March 2014

Over dinner Europe's leaders will discuss their next moves. A few more Russian names may be added to the sanctions hat. That is the easy part. The names are already drawn up.

The question is whether, this time, they will go after people closer to President Putin. That is less certain.

Read full article

Can EU reach consensus on Russia?

19 March 2014
Pro-Kremlin activists wave a flag depicting President Vladimir Putin at rally at the Red Square in Moscow, on 18 March 2014, to celebrate the incorporation of Crimea
Pro-Kremlin activists celebrated in Moscow's Red Square after President Putin's treaty with Crimea

European Union leaders will arrive for their spring summit on Thursday facing a crisis that only recently they could scarcely have imagined.

For more than 20 years they welcomed Russia into the international community.

Read full article

Early rounds fired in sanctions war

18 March 2014
Russian armoured vehicles drive on the road between Simferopol and Sevastopol
If Russia formally annexes Ukraine on the basis of the weekend referendum further sanctions will be imposed

All sanctions are intended to persuade, to change minds and to raise the cost of courses of action.

President Putin and his close circle will on Monday have been watching Brussels and Washington, trying to decipher their determination to hurt Russia over its actions in Crimea.

Read full article

Early rounds fired in sanctions war against Russia

17 March 2014
Russian armoured vehicles drive on the road between Simferopol and Sevastopol
If Russia formally annexes Ukraine on the basis of the weekend referendum further sanctions will be imposed

All sanctions are intended to persuade, to change minds and to raise the cost of courses of action.

President Putin and his close circle will on Monday have been watching Brussels and Washington, trying to decipher their determination to hurt Russia over its actions in Crimea.

Read full article

Latest Tweets

More Correspondents

  • Andrew Harding, Africa correspondent Andrew Harding Africa correspondent

    Reports, updates and analysis from across Africa


  • Mark Mardell, North America editor Mark Mardell North America editor

    The big debates in US politics and life beyond Washington


  • Nick Robinson, Political editor Nick Robinson Political editor

    The latest on what’s going on in and around politics


About Gavin

Gavin was special correspondent for BBC News before becoming Europe editor in 2009.

He covered the Obama campaign in 2008 and was embedded with US forces for the invasion of Iraq.

He has written two books including A Soul On Ice.

He has won an RTS, a BAFTA and a Broadcast award.

He has covered conflicts in Georgia, Lebanon and Zimbabwe and reported from New York after 9/11. He was in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and was in Berlin the night the wall fell.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.