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

Across Europe

The French government underwent a major reshuffle following a disappointing result for the governing Socialist Party in last week’s municipal elections. Open Europe has a rundown of the changes and the challenges facing the country’s new prime minister, Manuel Valls. Charlemagne’s notebook profiles the new PM, noting that Valls ‘may learn sooner than he had bargained for that the job of prime minister in modern France is a mixed blessing. Do it well, and the president gets the credit; do it poorly, and you get all the blame.’

Manuel Valls, Credit: Parti Socialiste (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Turkish local elections were also held on 30 March. Sinan Ülgen at the Strategic Europe blog takes a look at how the results will affect the country’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Despite decisions such as a recent ban placed on Twitter causing international controversy, Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party secured 44 per cent of the national vote.

The EU centre

Thomas Fillis at European Public Affairs argues that it is time the German language had more of a prominent role in the EU’s institutions as an official working language. He writes that German shares the ‘numbers, geographical scope and shared destiny, to be worth equality with English and French’.

With the European Parliament elections fast approaching, Vidhya Ramalingam at Policy Network writes on Europe’s radical right parties. She argues that stigmatising parties such as the Sweden Democrats is unlikely to be a successful strategy for mainstream parties.

The European neighbourhood

With the dispute over Crimea no closer to a resolution, Judy Dempsey at the Strategic Europe blog writes on the role of Russian energy in the crisis, after Gazprom, Russia’s giant state-owned energy company, announced a 40 percent increase in the price of gas for Ukraine.

Elsewhere, Azriel Bermant at e-international relations argues that the United States deploying a missile defence system in Eastern Europe is not the answer to Russian foreign policy and would only make the situation worse.

And finally…

Graham Priest at the OUP blog writes on the history of philosophy. He notes that philosophy is unusual as a discipline in that students still study the primary sources of philosophers such as Plato and Kant – whereas in physics, for instance, students are unlikely to read the work of great figures like Isaac Newton directly. He argues that this is not a sign that philosophy fails to progress, but rather that history is a fundamental part of understanding the subject.

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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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