Don Murray

Eye on Europe

A well-travelled former CBC reporter and documentary maker, Don Murray is a freelance writer and translator based in London and Paris.

Latest from Don Murray


Rishi Sunak is the 1st British PM richer than the monarch. Does it matter?

Though it's not clear exactly how much Rishi Sunak and his wife are worth — their combined wealth is estimated at $1.2 billion Cdn — for the first time in modern history, Britain's political leader and his wife are richer than the monarch. Sunak says his values are more important than his value.

Respected in the West, Gorbachev was seen as a reckless chatterbox in Russia

Mikhail Gorbachev, who died on Tuesday at age 91, liked to talk. And after he took power in the Soviet Union in 1985, he wanted his country to talk, and talk openly, about its problems. It only hastened its demise.

Luck and fear had a hand in Macron's victory over far right

French President Emmanuel Macron won re-election with an impressive 58.5 per cent of the vote. It's not quite the crushing two-thirds of the vote he won five years ago, writes Don Murray, but almost every other winner of the French presidency would have been very happy with his score.

France and the U.K. are feuding over fish. What is this war of words really about?

Since the 2016 Brexit vote, there has been a dispute over the fishing rights of French trawlers in British coastal waters. And the rhetoric is becoming increasingly fierce, writes Don Murray.

Why France is losing its 'Great Game' in western Africa

A long chapter in French colonial and post-colonial rule is drawing to a close as France looks to pull back troops fighting Islamist extremists in western Africa and other countries make their own power plays in the region, Don Murray writes.

Lauded and loathed: Why the French still can't get enough of Napoleon — 200 years after his death

For many in France, Napoleon Bonaparte is the epitome of French achievement, having conquered much of Europe and remade the structures of his country. But it's a complicated legacy for the sharp-tongued emperor against whom most modern French presidents are still measured 200 years after his death.

Czech Republic provides cautionary tale as once-promising COVID-19 situation spirals out of control

After becoming the poster child of Europe with the lowest number of cases as a percentage of population in the European Union, the Czech Republic now leads the world in new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, according to the World Health Organization.

Hungary's Viktor Orbán and Poland's Jaroslaw Kaczynski defy the EU even as their countries profit from it

Poland and Hungary belong to the European Union and profit from it, but their leaders' ideas on democracy and the rule of law, principles their countries agreed to uphold when joining in 2004, are far from those endorsed by EU leaders in Brussels.

How an elite family's decades-old secret sparked a reckoning about sexual abuse in France

Sexual abuse within families had long been a problem France failed to confront. That appears to have changed recently with the release of a book that exposed a dark and decades-old secret of a prominent French family.

Forget Brexit — the EU is trying to put out a fire in the east

In an act of retaliation over criticism of their national politics, Hungary and Poland have threatened to veto the European Union's massive budget, which would provide grants to countries hardest-hit by the pandemic, writes Don Murray.