EU Politics

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    Juncker’s State of the Union: Where now for multispeed Europe?

Juncker’s State of the Union: Where now for multispeed Europe?

In his annual State of the Union speech, delivered on 13 September, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker voiced criticism of the principle of ‘multispeed Europe’, under which some countries within the EU engage in integration at a faster pace than others. Pol Morillas argues that while it is reasonable for the Commission to try and avoid any kind of […]

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    A third way? Why Poland needs an alternative to right-wing populism and western liberalism

A third way? Why Poland needs an alternative to right-wing populism and western liberalism

The Polish government has endured a tense relationship with the EU’s institutions since coming to power in 2015, yet the ruling Law and Justice party still maintains a comfortable lead in recent opinion polls. Kasia Narkowicz argues that deficiencies in both the government and the opposition mean there is a need to foster a third space in Poland: one […]

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    How the EU shapes and hones its identity through the language of its treaties

How the EU shapes and hones its identity through the language of its treaties

The European Union has always sought to portray itself as having a distinct identity built on a set of values. But how is this identity constructed through the EU’s treaties? Odelia Oshri and Shaul Shenhav decipher the ways in which the EU’s discourse on values has changed throughout the 60 years of European integration. They show that two values have traditionally dominated the […]

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Should the EU be concerned about a possible ‘Polexit’?

The Polish government has come into conflict with the EU’s institutions on several fronts, notably over judicial reforms and the relocation of refugees during the migration crisis. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that although opponents of the government accuse it of undermining the country’s ties with the EU, its supporters argue that the ruling party is committed to defending national interests […]

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    Why a basic income alone will not be a panacea to social insecurity

Why a basic income alone will not be a panacea to social insecurity

At the start of this year, Finland began a trial of a ‘universal basic income’ system, under which 2,000 individuals who were receiving welfare were selected to receive a guaranteed monthly income of 560 euros over the next two years. But can basic income systems really address problems of social insecurity? Neil Warner, Frederick Harry Pitts, and Lorena Lombardozzi explain […]

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    Macron gambles on reducing unemployment through greater flexibility for employers

Macron gambles on reducing unemployment through greater flexibility for employers

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to reform France’s labour market regulations, but his proposals have been met with opposition from some political figures and trade unions. Nick Parsons explains that against the backdrop of falling popularity, Macron is essentially gambling that by giving employers greater flexibility, he can push down the country’s unemployment rate.

Credit: European Council (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
On […]

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    Four lessons that Italy’s experience with populism can provide for the rest of Europe

Four lessons that Italy’s experience with populism can provide for the rest of Europe

While the rise of populism in Europe is often viewed as a recent phenomenon, Italy’s experience with populist parties stretches back several decades. Giuliano Bobba draws on developments in Italy to isolate four key implications that populist parties can have for democracy. He argues that although the nature of populism might differ from party to party, populist politicians should […]

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    The Brexit talks aren’t just about power, they’re about legitimacy – and the UK urgently needs a vision for the future

The Brexit talks aren’t just about power, they’re about legitimacy – and the UK urgently needs a vision for the future

Coverage of the Brexit negotiations often focuses on the relative bargaining power of the UK and the EU as they seek to reach a new agreement following Britain’s withdrawal. Andrew Glencross highlights that although bargaining power is central to the negotiations, power is a function of legitimacy, and if the UK is to reach a genuinely good Brexit deal it will have […]

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    The EU isn’t protectionist – it’s one of the most open economies in the world

The EU isn’t protectionist – it’s one of the most open economies in the world

US President Donald Trump recently criticised the EU for being protectionist, and several political figures in the UK have suggested that Brexit will allow the country to remove protectionist tariffs and regulations to boost trade. But how accurate is this claim in reality? Using data on various aspects of trade, Mark Manger and Atom Vayalinkal argue that the EU […]

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    Turkey-EU accession talks: Sadly, the status quo is the best we have

Turkey-EU accession talks: Sadly, the status quo is the best we have

In a non-binding vote on 6 July, the European Parliament called for the suspension of EU accession talks with Turkey if it fully implements proposed constitutional changes that would increase President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s powers. Dimitar Bechev states that the reality is Turkey’s membership talks have already failed, but the EU’s best strategy is nevertheless to preserve the status […]

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    How business lobbyists thrive in the EU’s depoliticised media world

How business lobbyists thrive in the EU’s depoliticised media world

The EU policy process is often criticised for being distant from its citizens. As Iskander De Bruycker writes, part of this criticism is rooted in a lack of media coverage of EU legislative decision-making. Drawing on a recent study, he illustrates that the extent to which politicians in Brussels address citizens’ interests in the media over a particular piece […]

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Five views: Is populism really a threat to democracy?

Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 US presidential election, the UK’s decision to leave the EU, and the rise of anti-establishment parties across Europe have prompted discussions over the role of ‘populism’ in modern politics. But is populism really a threat to democracy or is the term simply used by mainstream politicians to dismiss the legitimate concerns of citizens? […]

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    Has the Western Balkans 6 process become a ‘surrogate for the real thing’?

Has the Western Balkans 6 process become a ‘surrogate for the real thing’?

On 12 July, EU leaders met with Prime Ministers of Balkan countries in the Italian city of Trieste. Tena Prelec gives a first-hand account, writing that the ‘Western Balkans 6’ (WB6) initiative – or ‘Berlin Process’ – has had the laudable effect of keeping some attention on the Western Balkans in years when the EU enlargement process was paused, […]

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    How structural reforms and European integration can help aid the convergence of Western Balkan states with the EU

How structural reforms and European integration can help aid the convergence of Western Balkan states with the EU

Six states in the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – have aspirations to join the European Union. These six states have implemented policies aimed at developing convergence with the EU in terms of their political systems, their economies, and their compatibility with EU law (the acquis communautaire). Fatmir Besimi presents a comprehensive […]

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    It’s education, stupid: How globalisation has made education the new political cleavage in Europe

It’s education, stupid: How globalisation has made education the new political cleavage in Europe

Several recent European elections, as well as the UK’s referendum on Brexit, have produced a clear split in voting choices between citizens with different levels of education. Mark Bovens and Anchrit Wille argue that a new political cleavage in Europe has emerged between citizens with high levels of education and those with lower levels of educational attainment, with the […]

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    Free abortions in England will not remove the fundamental injustice Northern Irish women suffer

Free abortions in England will not remove the fundamental injustice Northern Irish women suffer

The government’s decision to finally allow Northern Irish women to have free NHS abortions in England is to be welcomed, writes Jennifer Thomson. Yet the move does not remove the more fundamental injustice of their situation, as it does not place these women on an equal footing with their English, Scottish and Welsh counterparts.
An announcement by Justine Greening, Minister […]

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    Europe’s legitimacy crisis isn’t just about identity, it’s about institutions

Europe’s legitimacy crisis isn’t just about identity, it’s about institutions

The UK’s decision to vote for Brexit has been viewed by many observers as proof that the European Union suffers from a deep crisis of legitimacy. As Matt Wood highlights, this crisis is often conceived of in identity terms, with a large number of EU citizens no longer feeling ‘European’ or identifying with the goals of European integration. However, he […]

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Reflecting on how to run €MU more effectively

The European Commission published a reflection paper at the end of May on deepening economic and monetary union. Iain Begg assesses the strategy for reform put forward, writing that the paper is relatively guarded and does not convey an explicit trajectory for the next stages of development of EMU governance. He argues that unless and until there is a […]

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    Italy versus Spain: Two measures for solving the same banking problem

Italy versus Spain: Two measures for solving the same banking problem

On 24 June, the Italian government announced that it would intervene in two banks, Veneto Banca and Banca Popolare di Vicenza. Both banks were to be wound down with each bank’s good assets being sold to the Intesa Sanpaolo banking group. Mara Monti compares the affair with the case of Spain’s Banco Popular, which was saved from collapse just a […]

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    Forget the record fine: The real impact of the Commission’s Google decision will be its effect on competition law

Forget the record fine: The real impact of the Commission’s Google decision will be its effect on competition law

On 27 June, the European Commission ruled that Google has been abusing its position by placing its own shopping comparison service at the top of search result pages. Carlos Arrebola highlights that although the record fine imposed on Google (2.42 billion euros) has dominated the media coverage of the case, the decision is far more important for its impact on […]

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