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


As terrorism trial unfolds in Paris, France confronts its problem with Islamist extremism

When French President Emmanuel Macron spoke recently about Islamist extremism, the timing was no accident, coming as it did during the first major terrorism trial in Paris after multiple attacks in the past few years that left more than 230 dead, Don Murray writes.

In France, the pandemic deepens the political divide as death toll continues to rise

In France, where more than 30,000 people with COVID-19 have died, the pandemic has become political. The national government in Paris decreed on Wednesday that, as of Saturday, all cafés, restaurants and bars in the Marseille-Aix-en-Provence region would have to close to help avoid another lockdown.

South of France sees fortunes decline as COVID-19 keeps foreign tourists away

In the south of France, tourism accounts for 13 per cent of the region's economy, but much of that will be lost this year due to the pandemic. As the industry struggles, the big business of harvesting fruit from the fields continues — often on the backs of foreign workers, many from South America.

Nathan Law's escape from Hong Kong shows the pain of political exile: Don Murray

The decision by Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Nathan Law to leave his home to agitate against China from abroad is a reminder that political exile has a long and complicated history, writes Don Murray.

Angela Merkel takes her cue from Alexander Hamilton to overhaul the European Union

Driven by Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, the EU is proposing to borrow billions and give it to member states. For the first time in EU history, two-thirds of the money would be grants — not loans — that the recipient countries wouldn't have to repay.

As France emerges from 2 gruelling months of isolation, Macron hopes to win back citizens' trust

COVID-19 has devastated France and seriously damaged public trust in President Emmanuel Macron, writes Don Murray.

Police checks, fines fail to keep all the French at home as Macron has ordered

France has declared itself at war with coronavirus, but not all its leisure-loving citizens have got the message. Amid police checks and fines, there is a lack of confidence in its leaders.

How Jews fleeing anti-Semitism in France are influencing Israeli politics

Israel goes to the polls on March 2, the third time in a year. Many countries have tracked Israel's lengthy political crisis, but it has particular resonance in France, home to the largest Jewish community in Europe, Don Murray writes.

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.