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    We need to talk (more) about deliberative democracy in the EU

We need to talk (more) about deliberative democracy in the EU

Criticism of the EU’s ‘democratic deficit’ has become increasingly prominent since the financial crisis. Firat Cengiz writes that democracy in the EU would benefit from methods allowing citizens to participate more directly in policymaking. She argues for a form of deliberative democracy to be implemented at the European level and provides some practical suggestions for how this could be […]

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    Austria’s right-wing government at six months: What’s the record so far?

Austria’s right-wing government at six months: What’s the record so far?

Austria’s government was sworn in six months ago on 18 December. Manès Weisskircher discusses the domestic record of the new government, noting that so far, its support has remained stable. The government’s biggest domestic hurdle has not been mobilisation against new socioeconomic or migration policies, but rather opposition to the reversal of a smoking ban in restaurants.

Sebastian Kurz with […]

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    Book Review: Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe edited by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger

Book Review: Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe edited by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger

In Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe, editors Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger bring together contributors to consider the possible implications of Brexit for the futures of Europe and the European Union. Available to download here, the book’s interdisciplinary approach makes clear the difficulties of predicting the potential outcomes of an unfolding process while nonetheless outlining a number of different scenarios and possibilities in […]

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    Boycotts are more likely to be effective in industries which are highly competitive

Boycotts are more likely to be effective in industries which are highly competitive

One of the most fundamental aspects of our market society is that consumers should have the ability to vote with their feet and to not buy certain products if they do not wish to. But when are these boycotts effective in causing corporations to change their ways? In new research, Georgy Egorov and Bard Harstad find that boycotts should […]

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A crisis made in Italy

The decision of Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella, to veto Giuseppe Conte’s choice of finance minister prompted much discussion about the legitimacy of Mattarella’s actions and the impact Italy’s membership of the Eurozone has on the country’s democracy. Michael Wilkinson argues that however much the pressure on Italy appeared to stem from global financial markets or European constitutional conventions, it […]

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    Bulgarians in London: A community of strength, but one hidden in the shadows

Bulgarians in London: A community of strength, but one hidden in the shadows

Many Bulgarians have moved to the UK since the early-2000s, but as Maria Koinova notes, little research has been conducted on their views on life in Britain. Drawing on a new survey of Bulgarians in London, she writes that the Bulgarian community is notably different from the way it has been portrayed in the British media. It has many […]

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    Why public sector outsourcing is less efficient than Soviet central planning

Why public sector outsourcing is less efficient than Soviet central planning

Since the 1990s, public sector outsourcing has evolved through competitive tendering, partnership working (particularly via Public Finance Initiatives), strategic-commissioning and prime-contracting. Each of these iterations has promised better public goods and services for less cost. Their practice, however, has frequently been marked by rising costs and lower service quality. Abby Innes explains why.

The logic of outsourcing is that market-based […]

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Colliding worlds: Donald Trump and the European Union

Donald Trump’s decision to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on EU states has raised fears of a trade war developing. Michael Cottakis writes that the dispute not only reflects a difference in approaches to trade, but a clash of two world views. He argues that a rupture between the EU and the US would represent a death knell for […]

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    What are the prospects for Poland’s rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz?

What are the prospects for Poland’s rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz?

Although Polish rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz’s political grouping is an unstable construct, lacking organisational and programmatic coherence, it remains the Polish government’s only potential coalition partner and could still emerge as king-maker after the country’s next parliamentary election. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that the key to its survival and future success is still Mr Kukiz’s continued credibility as an ‘anti-system’ […]

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    What Italy’s political crisis told us about populism in Europe

What Italy’s political crisis told us about populism in Europe

The political crisis in Italy that emerged after Italian President Sergio Mattarella vetoed Giuseppe Conte’s choice of finance minister quickly gave way to a compromise. But what did the affair tell us about populist politics in Italy and Europe? Ben Margulies writes that while Mattarella got his way in the end, his actions risked bringing about the very thing […]

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    Book Review: Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum

Book Review: Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum

In Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, Anne Applebaum offers a new comprehensive account of the Holodomor: the famine that led to the deaths of millions of Ukrainians through starvation in the early 1930s. Drawing on archival documents, written and oral testimonies and historical scholarship, this is a valuable addition to our understanding of this devastating and long-neglected event, reccommends Vlad Onaciu. 
If you are interested in […]

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    Refusing to dance to a Brexit tune: How the EU has misinterpreted Britain’s vote to leave

Refusing to dance to a Brexit tune: How the EU has misinterpreted Britain’s vote to leave

Britain has made numerous mistakes over Brexit, but the European Union’s record also needs to be analysed. Tim Oliver addresses some of the things the EU has been accused of getting wrong about Brexit. In this post, he looks at how the EU has misinterpreted Brexit.

Brexit has been a learning experience for all involved. British and EU negotiators have found […]

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We are all Ordo-liberals now

Both the French and German governments have recently expressed a desire to avoid budget deficits. Bob Hancké examines the history of a ‘dangerous idea’ – Ordoliberalism, or the belief that balanced budgets produce growth.

At what was probably the most unpropitious moment in recent economic history to make the claim, US President Richard Nixon declared that we ‘are all Keynesians […]

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    Backbench rebels are likely to give Merkel a headache over Europe

Backbench rebels are likely to give Merkel a headache over Europe

Greece is due to exit its current bailout programme in August and key decisions on debt relief for the country are on the political agenda in Brussels. Caroline Bhattacharya explains that with a reduced majority and potential dissent from members of her own party over the issue, Angela Merkel could face a challenging time in the Bundestag over the […]

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    How to have a serious referendum on Brexit and avoid a rerun of the original

How to have a serious referendum on Brexit and avoid a rerun of the original

A number of things were wrong with the 2016 referendum, including the  disenfranchisement of key stakeholders and the extent of misinformation by both sides. Given that referendums should be informed exercises in democratic decision-making, Bruce Ackerman and Sir Julian Le Grand explain what a referendum on the deal should look like.

We are moving to a world where the decisions […]

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    Understanding populism: What role do crises play in the growth of Euroscepticism?

Understanding populism: What role do crises play in the growth of Euroscepticism?

Three distinct crises have hit the European Union in the last decade: the Great Recession, the migration crisis, and Brexit. As Andrea L. P. Pirro explains, there has been a widespread assumption that populist parties with Eurosceptic profiles have been the main political beneficiaries from these crises. But there still remains much to be understood about what populists make […]

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What can we expect from Italy’s new government?

The new Five Star Movement/Lega government in Italy is one of the most ideologically diverse governing coalitions in the country’s history. Mattia Guidi writes that there is great uncertainty over whether the government can keep its many promises to the Italian electorate, and even greater uncertainty over whether the two parties will be able to continue to work together […]

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Italy’s crisis and the question of democracy

The last seven days in Italy have proven that a week is indeed a long time in politics: after a political crisis emerged following Italian president Sergio Mattarella’s decision to veto the Five Star Movement and the League’s choice of finance minister, a government led by Giuseppe Conte was eventually sworn in on 1 June. Andrea Lorenzo Capussela argues […]

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    Book Review: Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

Book Review: Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

In Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist, Kate Raworth offers a new model for economics, based around the ‘doughnut’, which values human well-being and advocates for a ‘regenerative and distributive economy’. While the book holds multidisciplinary promise and Raworth draws upon appealing and evocative metaphors and examples to convey economic concepts in accessible terms, Maria Zhivitskaya remains unconvinced of the […]

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Rajoy loses power in Spain: What happens now?

Following a vote of no confidence in Mariano Rajoy, Pedro Sánchez is the new Prime Minister of Spain. Ben Margulies explains how Rajoy’s demise came about and outlines what might happen next with the country potentially heading for new elections.

Politics, unlike theatre, rarely gets pacing right. Either one spends months waiting for some seemingly inevitable drama, or all hell […]

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