current-affairs

Why it’s not so simple to make the EU simpler

The EU’s institutional architecture is often regarded as being too complex for citizens to properly engage with, and both Jean-Claude Juncker and Emmanuel Macron have recently proposed some form of simplification such as merging the President of the European Commission with the President of the European Council, or reducing the size of the European Commission. Dimiter Toshkov argues that […]

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    Austria focuses on the short term, Germany the long term, in responding to populism

Austria focuses on the short term, Germany the long term, in responding to populism

Both the 2017 German and Austrian elections saw large vote shares go to radical right-wing populist parties in the shape of the AfD in Germany and the FPÖ in Austria. But as Alex Jarman writes, the response of Angela Merkel to the challenge posed by the AfD was notably different from how Sebastian Kurz addressed the FPÖ in Austria. […]

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Austria’s election: Four things to know about the result

Austria’s legislative election, held on 15 October, saw the Austrian People’s Party, led by Sebastian Kurz, emerge as the largest party. Manès Weisskircher and Matthew E. Bergman highlight four things worth knowing about the results of an election that might not only be a game changer for Austrian politics, but which also reflected some of the key political developments […]

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    Czech election preview: Is Andrej Babiš heading for a Pyrrhic victory?

Czech election preview: Is Andrej Babiš heading for a Pyrrhic victory?

The Czech Republic is due to hold legislative elections on 20-21 October. As Seán Hanley explains, the election coverage has been dominated by the campaign of Andrej Babiš, whose ANO movement currently tops the polls. He writes that while parallels have been drawn between Babiš and Donald Trump, the reality is more complex than this comparison suggests, and Babiš […]

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Why there is no brain drain (yet) of EU academics in the UK

A predicted exodus of EU academics from British universities has not yet materialised. Helen de Cruz discusses why, despite the uncertainty hanging over their future status and rights, the ‘brain drain’ has not really begun yet. Finding new posts, especially at a very senior level, can take time; hiring systems elsewhere in Europe are opaque and sometimes not meritocratic; […]

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    There has been no domino effect – Brexit is close to constituting a non-issue in European politics

There has been no domino effect – Brexit is close to constituting a non-issue in European politics

Following the Netherlands and France, Germany was the third of the original EU members to hold a national election this year. The three election campaigns had at least one thing in common: the consequences of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union didn’t feature as much as some may have expected. Stijn Van Kessel argues that there are no signs of […]

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    What Catalonia’s suspended declaration of independence means for Catalonia and Spain

What Catalonia’s suspended declaration of independence means for Catalonia and Spain

Catalonia’s President, Carles Puigdemont, has proposed a suspended declaration of independence to allow negotiations to be pursued between Catalonia and Spain. Luis Moreno argues that there are several ways to read Puigdemont’s position and it is impossible to make a clear prediction about where Catalonia is now headed. However, the situation opens up an opportunity for those parties that […]

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    The first post-crisis elections in Portugal? The implications of the socialist victory in the 2017 local elections

The first post-crisis elections in Portugal? The implications of the socialist victory in the 2017 local elections

Portugal held local elections on 1 October, which were viewed as a key test for the country’s government, led by António Costa. The results saw Costa’s Socialist Party (PS) receive the largest vote share, while the opposition PSD experienced a loss of support. Marco Lisi assesses what the outcome means for Portugal moving forward, noting that the results illustrated […]

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    Dialogue of the deaf? How Catalonia and Spain can be brought back from the brink

Dialogue of the deaf? How Catalonia and Spain can be brought back from the brink

All eyes remain on Catalonia, with speculation that the Catalan government will soon issue a unilateral declaration of independence. Paul Kennedy writes that a further revision of Catalonia’s regional Statute, or even an amendment of the constitution, could be possible options for enabling both sides to come to a solution. But it remains to be seen whether the Spanish […]

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    The Catalan independence movement is pro-EU – but will the EU accept it?

The Catalan independence movement is pro-EU – but will the EU accept it?

The crisis in Catalonia has thrown into sharp relief the choice facing the European Union, writes Joan Costa i Font. He argues Spain should quickly offer a binding referendum on Catalan independence. If Catalans reject an EU-backed offer, there could be an orderly secession. The Catalan independence movement is not like Brexit: most Catalan parties are keen to be part […]

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    The EU must step in if Spain and Catalonia are to negotiate an end to the crisis

The EU must step in if Spain and Catalonia are to negotiate an end to the crisis

The EU’s institutions and the governments of other EU member states have so far shown reluctance to become involved in the standoff between the Spanish and Catalan governments over Catalan independence. Simon Toubeau argues that if a solution is to be found, the EU will have to take active involvement in facilitating dialogue between the two sides and supporting […]

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    The lesson from Catalonia: We need better principles on who has the right to self-determination and how

The lesson from Catalonia: We need better principles on who has the right to self-determination and how

The standoff between Spain and Catalonia raises fundamental questions about the rights of citizens to self-determination, and how demands for separatism or greater autonomy should be dealt with by a nation state. Michael Keating writes that the Catalan crisis has emerged from a series of missed opportunities, a lack of dialogue between the two sides, and a disappearing centre […]

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    Book Review: Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the Edge by Margaret Willson

Book Review: Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the Edge by Margaret Willson

In Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the Edge, Margaret Willson offers a new ethnographic study that traces a largely forgotten history of Icelandic seawomen, eloquently weaving together the past and the present. This book shows how deep curiosity and the posing of seemingly small questions can lead to large-scale insights, and should be read by all those interested in ethnography, recommends Younes Saramifar. 
Seawomen […]

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    The real SNP ‘peak’ is yet to come – if Conference deals successfully with two key issues

The real SNP ‘peak’ is yet to come – if Conference deals successfully with two key issues

The cleavages created by Labour’s 2017 electoral performance and by Brexit have made the political landscape in Scotland much more challenging for the SNP. But if the party are able to tack successfully into the new political winds, these challenges can be met, writes Sean Swan, making their forthcoming conference on 8-10 October decisive for the party’s future.

Credit: The […]

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    Assessing the EU’s role in the struggle for gender equality

Assessing the EU’s role in the struggle for gender equality

The EU is committed to promoting gender equality across the world, but how effective are these efforts in non-EU countries? Presenting evidence from a new study of public opinion in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Douglas Page illustrates that the EU’s attempts to promote gender equality can have a potentially polarising effect on public opinion. He writes that the best strategy […]

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    The Catalan crisis and Brexit stem from the same kind of nationalism

The Catalan crisis and Brexit stem from the same kind of nationalism

Many observers now expect the Catalan government to make a declaration of independence following the 1 October referendum, but what implications would there be for Catalonia if it did become independent? Paul De Grauwe argues that there are parallels between the Catalan independence movement and other forms of nationalism in Europe. He suggests that such political movements present a […]

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    Without a drastic change in approach, further conflict appears inevitable in Catalonia

Without a drastic change in approach, further conflict appears inevitable in Catalonia

Following the Catalan independence referendum on 1 October, there are now concerns over what might happen next. Bonnie N. Field and Astrid Barrio write that a potential declaration of independence by the Catalan government could further escalate tensions and prompt an even more severe clash with the Spanish authorities. Yet without a change of leadership in either Madrid or […]

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    Austria election preview: Sebastian Kurz and the rise of the Austrian ‘anti-party’

Austria election preview: Sebastian Kurz and the rise of the Austrian ‘anti-party’

Austria goes to the polls on 15 October, with the centre-right ÖVP, led by 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, currently ahead in the polls. Jakob-Moritz Eberl, Eva Zeglovits and Hubert Sickinger provide a comprehensive preview of the vote, writing that although polling is consistent with the idea the ÖVP and Kurz are the probable election winners, a noteworthy number of voters are […]

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    Five minutes with Shami Chakrabarti: “Not guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals isn’t politics – it’s cruelty”

Five minutes with Shami Chakrabarti: “Not guaranteeing the rights of EU nationals isn’t politics – it’s cruelty”

In October 2016, the leader of the UK’s Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, appointed Shami Chakrabarti as Shadow Attorney General for England and Wales. In a discussion with British Politics and Policy editor Artemis Photiadou and EUROPP’s Tena Prelec, she reflects on the challenges and advantages of the position, the situation faced by EU citizens living in the UK, and the key issues on the horizon […]

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    The Catalan crisis owes much to the actions of self-interested politicians on both sides

The Catalan crisis owes much to the actions of self-interested politicians on both sides

It is far from clear how relations between Catalonia and Spain will develop following the chaotic scenes that accompanied Sunday’s referendum on independence. Mariana S. Mendes argues that the stand-off between Catalonia and Madrid now ranks as the greatest political crisis in Spanish democratic history, and that both sides must take responsibility for negotiating a workable solution.

Part of the […]

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