EU institutions, government and politics and enlargement

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    Why European integration remains the best option for meeting the challenges posed by globalisation

Why European integration remains the best option for meeting the challenges posed by globalisation

Faced with a debt crisis in Greece and a refugee crisis on Europe’s borders, the European Union is currently navigating one of the most difficult periods in its history. But do these crises offer justification for scaling back European integration? Lukas Hakelberg and Zoe Lefkofridi write that more integration not only offers the most natural solution for resolving these […]

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    Conflicting objectives, neglected relationships, and authoritarian backlash: the crisis of EU democracy promotion

Conflicting objectives, neglected relationships, and authoritarian backlash: the crisis of EU democracy promotion

Democracy promotion is an integral component of EU foreign policy, however the EU has not always been successful in its efforts to foster democracy in external countries. Sonja Grimm offers several explanations for these failures, including the absence of a consensus among democracy promoters about policy objectives, and the interference of hidden agendas.

Democracy promotion was and still is an […]

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    Greece shows the flaws in pursuing a common monetary policy response to economic shocks across the EU

Greece shows the flaws in pursuing a common monetary policy response to economic shocks across the EU

To what extent is the Greek debt crisis a function of wider flaws in the design of the single currency? Bruce Morley writes that while Greece’s debt already exceeded 100 per cent of GDP in the 1990s, it is not simply the size of a country’s debt that determines whether it is sustainable. He argues that the real problems […]

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    Why Europe’s crises in the Eurozone and Crimea are a boon for those who teach European integration

Why Europe’s crises in the Eurozone and Crimea are a boon for those who teach European integration

Europe has faced a series of crises in the last decade, most recently with the Eurozone crisis and the Russian intervention in Crimea. Andrew Glencross writes that while the practical implications of these crises can be worrying, they also provide opportunities for those responsible for teaching European integration to students. He argues that ultimately what EU crises teach us […]

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    While voters might blame the EU for policy failures, it is extremely difficult for them to effectively hold it to account

While voters might blame the EU for policy failures, it is extremely difficult for them to effectively hold it to account

European integration necessitates that there is a division of competences between the national and European levels, but how do voters assign responsibility when things go wrong? Sara Hobolt and James Tilley argue that while plenty of voters hold the EU responsible for bad outcomes, it is difficult for them to translate this blame into punishment for political actors at the […]

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The UK’s opposition to the EU is driven by a lack of information and undirected hostility

The UK has always had a contentious relationship with the European Union. John McCormick argues that this relationship has been hampered by popular misunderstandings, driven by a lack of credible information and general hostility towards European integration. He suggests that more attention should be paid to the positive aspects of EU membership and that academics should contribute more to public […]

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Attempts to measure UK influence within the EU are admirable, but it is questionable whether they really influence the public debate

UK citizens are traditionally considered to have an uneasy relationship with Europe. Prompted by the growing debate around the upcoming European elections, Giulia Pastorella reviews the 2014 Scorecard published by the pro-EU pressure group British Influence, which aims to provide an objective assessment of the British government’s influence in the EU. She writes that while this and other attempts to […]

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If Matteo Renzi is successful in implementing reforms, few Italian citizens will care how he got into office

In the space of just a few months, Matteo Renzi has been voted leader of the Democratic Party (PD), and is now set to take the place of his former PD colleague Enrico Letta as Italy’s Prime Minister. Duncan McDonnell writes that despite anticipated concerns about Renzi getting the top job ‘through the back door’, his rise remains a cause […]

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Why David Cameron’s ‘red card’ plan for national parliaments won’t work

David Cameron has committed the UK to renegotiating its membership of the European Union if he wins a majority at the next British general election. As Andrew Duff writes, one of the key elements of this reform package will likely be to elevate the role of national parliaments in the EU’s legislative process. He argues that such a proposal should […]

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Strengthening the role of national parliaments in EU decision-making is not the way to improve the EU’s legitimacy

Turnout at European Parliament elections has fallen significantly since the first elections in 1979. This has led some politicians and commentators to suggest that integrating national parliaments into the EU’s legislative process may be a more effective method for improving the EU’s legitimacy. Jon Worth argues that the logic underpinning such arguments is undermined by the fact that national elections […]

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The Lisbon Treaty’s change to Council voting rules will have important implications for the democratic legitimacy of the EU

Many of the decisions made in the Council of the European Union are based on qualified majority voting, in which EU legislation can be passed if a certain threshold of support is met among member states. Frank Häge assesses the potential implications of the changes to qualified majority voting rules under the Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in November […]

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    European Parliament elections are no longer second-order national contests – they are essential for determining the future direction of the EU

European Parliament elections are no longer second-order national contests – they are essential for determining the future direction of the EU

European Parliament elections are often assumed to be ‘second-order national elections’ rather than genuinely European elections. As Ingeborg Tömmel writes, the President of the European Commission has a key role to play, along with the Parliament, in shaping European integration. She argues that with the election of the next Commission President depending on the outcome of the European elections in […]

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Decisions made by consensus in the Council of the European Union are often far more contentious than the voting record would suggest

Even when decisions in the Council of the European Union take place under qualified majority voting procedures, there is a tendency for votes to be unanimous among all EU member states. Stéphanie Novak writes that while this feature of Council decision-making has often been regarded as proof of a ‘climate of consensus’ among EU states, it partly reflects the desire […]

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    It is vital that the Party of European Socialists craft a coherent narrative for their lead candidate in the 2014 European Parliament elections

It is vital that the Party of European Socialists craft a coherent narrative for their lead candidate in the 2014 European Parliament elections

Martin Schulz has been announced as the Party of European Socialists (PES) candidate for the post of President of the European Commission for the May 2014 elections. Agata Gostyńska and Roderick Parkes argue that he risks becoming an easy target for the centre-right if the left isn’t careful to avoid a narrative implying a potential centralisation of power. The Party […]

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The rotating Council presidency hinders legislative continuity in the Council of the European Union

The Presidency of the Council of the European Union is held on a rotational basis by EU member states for six month terms. Andreas Warntjen writes that the frequent change of the Presidency sometimes causes disruption in EU legislative decision-making. He notes that during the negotiation of the Lisbon Treaty the principle of increasing the term from six months up […]

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The EU should offer a ‘gradual integration’ membership to Turkey, as well as to the UK if it decides to downscale its role in the EU

Although accession negotiations between the European Union and Turkey officially began in 2005, little progress has been achieved. Cemal Karakas argues that it is time to consider a new form of membership for Turkey, which would allow gradual and partial participation in certain policy areas. He suggests that this model could be extended to other candidate countries, and indeed to […]

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London and Berlin are not speaking the same language when it comes to EU reform

The UK and Germany have both expressed a desire to reform the way the EU functions. Almut Möller and Tim Oliver argue that due to their contrasting constitutional traditions and outlooks, the two countries risk misunderstanding or antagonising one another. They point out that the German discussion around EU competences is part of a country-wide debate on federalism, while the […]

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Transparency in the Council of the European Union has increased over the last decade, but only for the least controversial negotiations

The Council of the European Union has often been criticised from the perspective that it lacks transparency in its decision-making. James P. Cross assesses the censorship of Council records in the period since transparency legislation was introduced in 2001. He notes that while transparency has increased during this period, censorship of Council records is much more common in areas with […]

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National politicians should keep an open mind over proposals to create a European Public Prosecutor’s Office

National parliaments in several European countries have voiced opposition against proposals to create a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO). Hugo Brady provides an overview of what an EPPO would entail, and assesses the extent to which it would help tackle the misuse of EU funds. He argues that those who are sceptical about the proposals should keep an open mind […]

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The European Citizens’ Initiative encourages civil society organisations to engage with the public on European issues

The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) was launched in May 2012 with the aim of allowing EU citizens to participate more effectively in EU decision-making. Individuals can request that the European Commission proposes an item of legislation at the European level, provided that the initiative is backed by at least one million citizens. Luis Bouza Garcia argues that while very few […]

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