current-affairs

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    Russian concessions to Europe are unlikely, and European concessions to Russia are useless

Russian concessions to Europe are unlikely, and European concessions to Russia are useless

Is there any prospect of an end to the deterioration of relations between the EU and Russia? Irina Busygina explains that Vladimir Putin’s strategy for maintaining domestic support has focused on the construction of external threats and the promotion of an image of ‘Russian greatness’ on the international stage. But by putting foreign policy in the service of domestic […]

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    What the European Commission’s 2018 country reports say about national parliaments in the Western Balkans

What the European Commission’s 2018 country reports say about national parliaments in the Western Balkans

The European Commission recently published its annual reports on six EU candidate countries and potential candidates in the Western Balkans. Blerim Vela examines what the reports had to say about national parliaments in the region. He notes that several of the parliaments have experienced opposition boycotts and disruption in recent years, underlining the challenges associated with ensuring parliamentary procedures […]

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A new political bandwagon? The rise of Ciudadanos in Spain

Support for Ciudadanos has risen substantially in Spanish opinion polls over recent months, with the party in first place in several cases. But is the party really on the brink of taking over from Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party and becoming the dominant force in Spanish politics? Alejandro Quiroga highlights several factors, including the crisis over Catalan independence, that are […]

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    Syria: How global leaders have made intervention all about themselves

Syria: How global leaders have made intervention all about themselves

Both France and the UK participated in strikes against suspected chemical weapons facilities in Syria. John Gaffney writes that in both countries the action was met with majority disapproval among the public. However, while French President Emmanuel Macron managed to spin the story into a positive one about his own leadership, Theresa May’s position in the UK has exposed her to greater criticism.

Credit: Garry […]

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Populism and the broken engine of the Italian economy

In Italy, the temptation to go back in time, or shut the door to Europe and globalisation is strong, especially after a quarter of a century of poor economic performance, argue Lorenzo Codogno and Giampaolo Galli. Anti-establishment parties, which gained an outright majority in Parliament in the country’s recent elections, blame the past reform process, together with the threats […]

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    Have attitudes toward a second Brexit referendum reached a ‘turning point’?

Have attitudes toward a second Brexit referendum reached a ‘turning point’?

On 15 April, a campaign to hold a referendum on the final terms of the Brexit deal was launched in the UK. But do the public want another vote? And have attitudes toward holding a second referendum really changed in recent months, as some pro-EU campaigners suggest? Sir John Curtice states that there is little reason to think support for a second referendum […]

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The 18 April 1948 Italian election: Seventy years on

Italy’s election on 4 March was far from the first Italian election campaign to have generated high levels of interest across the rest of Europe. Effie G. H. Pedaliu writes on the seventieth anniversary of one of Italy’s most significant and controversial elections: the 1948 Italian general election, which pitted the country’s Christian Democrats against the Popular Democratic Front […]

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    Déjà vu, Montenegrin style: Milo Đukanović wins Montenegro’s presidential election

Déjà vu, Montenegrin style: Milo Đukanović wins Montenegro’s presidential election

Milo Đukanović was elected President of Montenegro in elections on 15 April. As Jovana Marović explains, the result was far from a surprise given Đukanović and his Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) have dominated Montenegro’s politics since the 1990s. And with the country’s opposition divided, it is hard to imagine that a strong and credible alternative to the DPS […]

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    Emmanuel Macron’s speech to the French bishops: A poisonous gift?

Emmanuel Macron’s speech to the French bishops: A poisonous gift?

On 9 April, French President Emmanuel Macron made a speech at the Bishops’ Conference of France, raising questions about the country’s traditional divide between Church and State. Arthur Ghins writes that the speech was an invitation to mutual trust rather than mutual suspicion, and that it should be seen as a welcome development as long as Catholics are not […]

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    What Germany’s grand coalition means for European defence and security

What Germany’s grand coalition means for European defence and security

Following months of coalition negotiations, a new German government has finally taken office. But what does the new government mean for the EU? Alessandra Pozzi Rocco writes that with her next term in power now secured, Merkel has the chance to craft EU history further, notably by forging ahead on common defence and security.

Credit: European Council President (CC BY-NC-ND […]

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    How learning from cultural diversity could upgrade EU transnational projects

How learning from cultural diversity could upgrade EU transnational projects

One of the key problems at the heart of the European integration process is how to bring diverse states with different languages, cultures and histories together in shared projects. But as Rosa Sanchez Salgado highlights, the cultural diversity that exists between EU member states can also be a positive resource to draw on. Based on findings from recent research […]

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    How has the first year of the Brexit negotiations affected politics in the EU?

How has the first year of the Brexit negotiations affected politics in the EU?

It is now over a year since the UK triggered Article 50 and started the process for leaving the European Union. But what impact has the first year of negotiations had on politics elsewhere in the EU? Nicola Chelotti highlights that while many thought the UK’s decision to leave may have strengthened other Eurosceptic parties across Europe, there has […]

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Finding a way out of the Catalan labyrinth

Almost four months after regional elections, Catalonia still has no government, and there is no end in sight in the stand-off over Catalan independence. Astrid Barrio and Bonnie N. Field write that there remain major international and judicial impediments to forming a new government, as well as notable splits in opinion within the pro-independence movement on the best strategy […]

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    Hungary’s election: Viktor Orbán tightens his grip over Hungarian politics

Hungary’s election: Viktor Orbán tightens his grip over Hungarian politics

Hungary’s election on 8 April saw the Fidesz-KDNP alliance led by prime minister Viktor Orbán secure another two-thirds majority in the country’s parliament. Eamonn Butler writes that if there is to be any radical shift in Hungarian politics, the focus will need to be on building a proper political alternative to Fidesz – a task that is near impossible in the current […]

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    Instead of asking whether we need self-driving vehicles, why not ask whether we need cars at all?

Instead of asking whether we need self-driving vehicles, why not ask whether we need cars at all?

Self-driving cars are expected to provide a number of potential benefits, such as reducing road deaths, but the technology is still in its infancy and important questions remain over how policymakers should regulate their use. Robert Braun argues that when thinking about autonomous cars we should not ask questions simply about autonomous technology, but rather about the car itself. […]

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    How the evolving international environment affects EU member states’ positions toward Russia

How the evolving international environment affects EU member states’ positions toward Russia

EU states have reacted in varying ways to the nerve agent attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal, with some states expelling Russian diplomats, and others adopting a more cautious response. Drawing on a recent report, Marco Siddi assesses some of the reasons that underpin the differing approaches of EU states in their relations with Russia.

Credit: kremlin.ru
In the aftermath of […]

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    Book Review: The Acceleration of Cultural Change: From Ancestors to Algorithms by R. Alexander Bentley and Michael J. O’Brien

Book Review: The Acceleration of Cultural Change: From Ancestors to Algorithms by R. Alexander Bentley and Michael J. O’Brien

In The Acceleration of Cultural Change: From Ancestors to Algorithms, R. Alexander Bentley and Michael J. O’Brien examine the fast pace of technological and cultural change today, contrasting our modes of knowledge exchange with those of early humans. Exploring rapidly changing traditions from ancient fairy tales to viral memes, this playful book gives great insight into the ways in which cultures are transformed and sustained over […]

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How not to fix the Irish border problem

The Irish border issue has proven to be one of the most difficult problems to solve in the Brexit negotiations so far. Katy Hayward responds to recent proposals by Shanker Singham on how to address the issue, arguing that the proposals not only overlook the complex realities of Northern Ireland/Ireland connections, but also ignore the enormity of what has been accomplished in the […]

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A Global Agenda for Labour

The share of workers belonging to unions has declined in many countries, and new patterns of employment, such as the rise of the so called ‘gig economy’, are making unorganised labour the norm in a large number of industries. For Pranab Bardhan, this weakening of labour organisations has been a factor in enabling the growth of inequality and the […]

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    Contrary to popular assumption, most Britons living in the EU27 aren’t retirees

Contrary to popular assumption, most Britons living in the EU27 aren’t retirees

There is a popular assumption that the majority of Britons living in the rest of the EU are pensioners, who have exercised their treaty rights to reside in another EU member state post-retirement. In fact, 80% of the UK citizens who have made their homes and lives in the EU27 are below retirement age. Discussing her fieldwork with Britons living in […]

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