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


40 days of strikes show French fondness for revolution over reform

Public-sector strikes in France have gone on for more than a month, and they hinge on the government's proposal to raise the age of retirement. Germany instituted something similar with next to no resistance, writes Don Murray.

Macron reads riot act to sub-Saharan countries as death toll from extremist attacks rises

Niger is in the midst of three days of national mourning after a savage jihadist attack on an army base. Next door, in Mali and Burkina Faso, the military situation is even more dire, despite the presence since 2013 in Mali of 4,500 French special forces sent to clean out the extremists.
China's Power

Security fears, political tensions souring China's relations with Central Europe

A half-decade ago, China planted an economic flag in Central Europe with its multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road plan to build a vast infrastructure network. Five years on, though, some of those countries are finding the relationship increasingly uncomfortable.

The talking cure: How France's Macron reversed his sinking popularity

After his approval rating cratered in early 2019, French President Emmanuel Macron embarked on a talking tour with French citizens, including 16 televised conversations. It appears to have changed his fortunes, writes Don Murray.

A 'pure product of the British elite': How Europe sees Boris Johnson's Brexit manoeuvres

Despite a series of humiliating votes in the U.K. Parliament this week related to Brexit, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson remains bellicose. Avoiding a no-deal Brexit means Europe will have won, and he won’t stand for it, writes Don Murray.

Boris Johnson's leadership style resembles that of Caesar — and remember how that ended

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson seems determined to imitate Caesar, who once wrote, "I am prepared to resort to anything for the sake of  the republic." By the republic, he also meant himself.

Brexit stage left: Why Theresa May's run as PM ended in tears

The U.K. prime minister came to power with a parliamentary majority. But trying doggedly to cut a Brexit deal ultimately ended her leadership, writes Don Murray.

'Notre-Dame is our history': Why the centuries-old cathedral means so much to France

A massive fire that ripped through Notre-Dame Cathedral on Monday left the historic building in the heart of Paris blackened and wounded. But the promise to rebuild came quickly, with smoke still billowing into the city sky.

Italian PM calls for calm as France fumes over 'unacceptable' input in yellow vest movement

One of Italy's deputy prime ministers could be trying to regain some of the electoral support lost to his louder coalition partner through a meeting with leaders of France's so-called yellow vest movement, which led to France withdrawing its ambassador to Rome.

In France, President Macron faces new furies with few structures to protect him

Outmanoeuvered by a "yellow vest" movement with no leaders, French President Emmanuel Macron faces political danger in the provinces, where the anger welled up, where the movement began and where the fury is focused.

Brexit is just a sideshow. A bigger danger for the European Union looms from the east

Brexit may be garnering a lot of attention, but the spectacle surrounding Britian’s chaotic bid to leave the European Union is increasingly becoming a sideshow in Brussels, where the bigger worry comes from countries to the east, including Hungary, Don Murray writes.

Angela Merkel's exit could destroy stable party system in place since WWII

Two main parties — the CDU and the Social Democrats — have led German governments for more than 70 years. That may be about to change with the pending departure of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

'They're just cheating us': East Europeans decry 'food apartheid' that leaves them with inferior products

Companies and big supermarket chains with outlets in eastern and western Europe deny any double dealing, but consumers and governments in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Bulgaria have long been adamant that something was wrong: same-brand foods differ in quality country to country.

More bizarre twists in journalist's elaborate scam to fake his own death

The chain of responsibility for the attempt to kill Arkady Babchenko reaches into the Russian security services, according to Ukraine. But for the moment you have to take their word for it.

Anti-Semitism in Europe is back, and some blame recent refugees for fuelling it

The horror of anti-Semitism — creeping fear, physical attacks, even killings — has returned to Europe's two biggest countries, France and Germany, staining their civility yet again.