The EUROPP team take a look at the week in Brussels blogging

The EU centre and the crisis

The news that the United States may have eavesdropped on Angela Merkel’s telephone conversations dominated coverage this week, somewhat upstaging the European Council summit which began on Thursday. Charlemagne’s Notebook argues that the response from European leaders, which included a telephone conversation between the German Chancellor and Barack Obama, was more measured than might have been expected.

Barack Obama (Public Domain)

Barack Obama (Public Domain)

Fittingly, one of the key topics being discussed at the summit is data protection. Public Affairs 2.0 have an update on the talks over the EU’s proposed data protection regulation, which would place limits on the ability of companies to share European citizens’ data with authorities in another country. The European Citizen also has a good overview of both the scandal and the progress in negotiating the data protection regulation.

Across Europe

Voters in the Czech Republic go to the polls today, following the collapse of the previous Czech government led by Petr Nečas in June. Open Europe write that the elections have highlighted widespread disillusionment with the political class, and have become more a question of which political party proves the ‘least unpopular’.

Vivien A. Schmidt and Mark Thatcher, writing at Policy Network, ask why neo-liberal ideas continue to prove so influential across Europe, despite the financial crisis. They outline five potential reasons, including the adaptability of the concept, and the tendency for neo-liberal ideas to be supported by powerful economic actors. On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Roberto Mangabeira Unger at the IPPR blog argues that the left in Europe should give up its goal of establishing equality, and instead embrace what he calls ‘deep freedom’.

The European neighbourhood

The Centre for European Reform asks whether Ukraine is edging towards the EU ahead of the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius next month. Ulrich Speck at Strategic Europe also writes on the Vilnius summit, labelling it ‘Europe’s moment of truth’ as Eastern Partnership members are increasingly pressured into allying themselves with either the EU, or Russia and the Eurasian Union.

On a different topic, Phil Cole, writing at e-international relations, reflects on the EU’s border management in the Mediterranean following the Lampedusa tragedy earlier this month. He argues that increasing the security of the EU’s southern border is only likely to exacerbate the problem. Meanwhile James Walston reflects on the European Council’s discussions over the issue, noting that there is a great deal of confusion in the accompanying media coverage, particularly over the distinction between asylum seekers and economic migrants.

Elsewhere, Dominique Moisi at Project Syndicate assesses Turkey’s relationship with Europe, arguing that Turkey needs the European Union far more than it is willing to admit.

And finally…

The OUP blog has a defence of economics and a list of reasons why students should consider adding it to their studies.

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Note:  This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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