current-affairs

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    From ‘Vincolo Esterno’ to ‘Nemico Esterno’: The disturbing new demonisation of the EU

From ‘Vincolo Esterno’ to ‘Nemico Esterno’: The disturbing new demonisation of the EU

The dispute between Italy and the European Commission over the Italian budget for 2019 illustrates a shift in how member states treat the obligations of EU membership. Iain Begg and Kevin Featherstone argue that instead of using pressure from Brussels to justify difficult policy measures, countries are now picking fights with the EU to boost their domestic political standing, thereby […]

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    Nativists, racists and other nasty people? Understanding who populists are and what they really want

Nativists, racists and other nasty people? Understanding who populists are and what they really want

The rise of national populism continues to be a core theme in European politics, but have mainstream politicians and commentators still failed to grasp who populists are and what they want? Drawing on a new book, co-authored with Matthew Goodwin, Roger Eatwell argues that viewing populist movements as expressions of nativism or racism is highly problematic. There needs to […]

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    Opening up Pandora’s box? How centre-right parties can outperform the radical right on immigration

Opening up Pandora’s box? How centre-right parties can outperform the radical right on immigration

It is often assumed that populist radical-right parties have dominated European politics since the migration crisis and laid claim to the immigration issue. James F. Downes, Matthew Loveless and Andrew Lam argue that this narrative is far too simplistic and that incumbent centre-right parties have responded to the electoral threat of the radical right by highlighting their own anti-immigration positions. This strategy has helped […]

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How liberal democracy can be saved

Across the world, liberal democracy is rumoured to be under threat from the rise of autocratic regimes and populist politics. But if this is the case, how can it be saved? Takis S. Pappas argues that the root cause of the current crisis is today’s democratic leaders lack assertiveness in defending the principles that underpin liberal democracy: to reaffirm […]

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    The European Investment Bank is becoming increasingly politicised

The European Investment Bank is becoming increasingly politicised

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is intended to provide finance and expertise for investment projects that further EU policy objectives. But as Daniel Mertens and Matthias Thiemann explain, a steady expansion of the bank’s operations over the last two decades has prompted greater political debate over its governance and activities. They highlight three recent developments that underline this politicisation […]

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    Symbolic identities: Understanding the Macedonia name dispute and its implications for EU politics

Symbolic identities: Understanding the Macedonia name dispute and its implications for EU politics

Efforts to end the Macedonia name dispute suffered a blow on 30 September when a referendum proposing to change the country’s name to ‘North Macedonia’ failed to reach the required 50 per cent threshold. However, the country’s Prime Minister, Zoran Zaev, later won a vote in parliament on the issue on 19 October. Charalambos Tsekeris and Nicolas Demertzis write […]

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How EU membership undermines the left

In a recent article, Peter J Verovsek criticised left-wing supporters of Brexit, claiming that they were backing a ‘statist, nationalist initiative’ that could only benefit the right. Peter Ramsay replies, arguing that it is left-wing Remainers who are stuck in the past and that a fetishism of the supranational and the cosmopolitan is the real problem for the left.

Peter Verovsek reminds […]

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    Lexit undermines the left – it will be no prize for Labour

Lexit undermines the left – it will be no prize for Labour

Brexit has been very divisive for the left in Britain. While some socialist intellectuals claim that it is a prize within reach for the Labour movement, it remains largely a neo-colonial project of a ‘Global Britain’, writes Peter J. Verovšek. He argues that the case for Lexit ignores the right-wing roots of the EU referendum, and that it will be no prize […]

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    Down but not out: The CSU’s faltering performance in the Bavarian state elections

Down but not out: The CSU’s faltering performance in the Bavarian state elections

The Christian Social Union (CSU) has dominated politics in Bavaria for decades, but the result in the Bavarian state elections on 14 October represented the party’s worst electoral performance since 1954. Ross Campbell writes that in focusing its appeal on immigration, the CSU badly misread the priorities of the Bavarian electorate, but the party is nevertheless capable of rebuilding […]

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    Challenges on the 40th anniversary of the Spanish constitution: Can Spain find a way to accommodate Catalonia?

Challenges on the 40th anniversary of the Spanish constitution: Can Spain find a way to accommodate Catalonia?

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Spanish constitution, which came into effect on 29 December 1978. But as Javier Garcia Oliva explains, the status of Catalonia within Spain represents a major challenge for the current constitutional order. He writes that while Pedro Sanchez has an unenviable task in disentangling all of the issues surrounding Catalonia, the events […]

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    Why women in elected office reduce grand and petty corruption

Why women in elected office reduce grand and petty corruption

Corruption is a persistent problem in many European countries, but could improving the representation of women in politics offer a potential answer? Drawing on recent research, Monika Bauhr explains that a clear link can be identified between the share of women in office and a reduction in corruption, which may be attributable to the differing priorities of women when […]

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The 2018 Latvian elections: New faces, old patterns

Latvia held parliamentary elections on 6 October. As Jānis Ikstens writes, the result was notable for the emergence of new challengers, as well as for the disappointing performance of parties from the ruling coalition. However, given the lack of obvious coalition options, the next government may well be a short-lived one.

In the early hours of 7 October, it became […]

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    Merkel’s grand coalition partners suffer significant losses in the Bavarian election

Merkel’s grand coalition partners suffer significant losses in the Bavarian election

State elections were held in Bavaria on 14 October, with both of Angela Merkel’s partners in the German government – the CSU and SPD – suffering large losses. John Ryan notes that more bad news for Merkel could potentially follow in two weeks’ time at the state elections in Hessen, and that the result underlined the continued fragmentation of […]

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    Elections in Bosnia: More of the same, but there is a silver lining

Elections in Bosnia: More of the same, but there is a silver lining

Elections were held in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 7 October. Dimitar Bechev explains that Bosnian politics continues to be dominated by two ethnically defined poles, each with external support. The country will probably hold together as a state, but it will be highly dysfunctional and resistant to EU and US initiatives to promote pro-western reforms.

Nothing much changes in Bosnia. A […]

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    What makes a community? The overlooked emancipation of the province in Poland since 1989

What makes a community? The overlooked emancipation of the province in Poland since 1989

The local elections scheduled in Poland for 21 October have been billed as a key test for the country’s ruling Law and Justice government. As Helena Chmielewska-Szlajfer explains, a great deal of international attention is currently focused on Law and Justice due to the perception that the government is undermining the country’s rule of law. But while much of […]

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    The future of EU international investment policy – What clues to take from NAFTA 2.0?

The future of EU international investment policy – What clues to take from NAFTA 2.0?

What can the latest revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Canada, Mexico and the United States tell us about the potential future of EU international investment policy? Robert Basedow suggests that NAFTA 2.0 indicates the love story of OECD economies with investment protection agreements and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms appears to be coming to […]

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    Welcome to the geography of populism: The diaspora vote in the UK during the 2018 Latvian elections

Welcome to the geography of populism: The diaspora vote in the UK during the 2018 Latvian elections

Latvia held parliamentary elections on 6 October, with Harmony – a social democratic party usually associated with the country’s ethnic-Russian population – securing first place. Aija Lulle assesses the diaspora vote in the election and how patterns of support differed outside of Latvia. She notes that the geographic divides present among Latvians living in the UK had parallels with […]

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Why do Poland’s local elections matter?

Poland is set to hold local elections, with the first round of voting taking place on 21 October, followed by a second round of voting on 4 November. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that the elections will be an important test of popularity for Poland’s government and opposition parties. Although the governing Law and Justice party is currently riding high in […]

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Always look on the bright side of Brexit

Is there a bright side to Brexit, even for those who voted for the UK to remain in the EU? Nauro F Campos reasons that there is at least one undeniable positive from Brexit: we are now more willing to ask questions about European integration than we were before the referendum. In doing so, our knowledge about economic integration […]

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    A roadmap for improving the distribution of EU funds in Hungary

A roadmap for improving the distribution of EU funds in Hungary

Hungary is currently a net recipient of EU structural and cohesion funds, but as Anna Számely writes, the country’s recent record on key measures of development has been underwhelming. She identifies seven blockages in the chain of EU funding in Hungary that are presently acting as obstacles to effective investment.

As the EU’s next seven-year budget is negotiated for the […]

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