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    Why the left loses: Explaining the decline of centre-left parties

Why the left loses: Explaining the decline of centre-left parties

Are centre-left parties across Europe facing a future of decline? Drawing on a new book, Rob Manwaring and Paul Kennedy argue that an essential element in any robust democracy is an effective centre-left. However, centre-left parties now face a number of major challenges, from the rise of new parties, to the erosion of their traditional support bases, and only […]

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    The reluctant role model: Why Britain (usually) obeys the European Court of Human Rights

The reluctant role model: Why Britain (usually) obeys the European Court of Human Rights

Despite often complaining about the existence of the European Court of Human Rights, the UK has one of the strongest compliance records in the Court’s 47-country system. Zoë Jay explains how the UK’s conceptions of human rights protection shape its willingness to comply with the Court’s rulings.

European Court of Human Rights, Credit: Emiliano (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
To say the United […]

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    Will the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia lead to wholesale institutional reform in Malta?

Will the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia lead to wholesale institutional reform in Malta?

Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb attack in Malta on 16 October. Her death prompted widespread international condemnation and has refocused attention on the need for institutional reforms within Malta to protect the rule of law and freedom of the press. Roderick Pace writes that with the recent Paradise Papers leak also portraying off-shore financial […]

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    The Brexit vote has caused a significant rise in UK prices, especially food

The Brexit vote has caused a significant rise in UK prices, especially food

Since Britain’s EU referendum, UK inflation has risen faster than that of the Eurozone. Price rises have varied across sectors, but as Josh De Lyon, Swati Dhingra, and Stephen Machin show, the rise in the growth rate of food prices has been particularly pronounced. As a result, real wage growth in the UK has again turned negative. 

The pattern of significantly higher price inflation […]

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    A tale of changing destinies: Why the Catalans are pushing for independence rather than the Basques

A tale of changing destinies: Why the Catalans are pushing for independence rather than the Basques

While all eyes are currently on Catalonia, it was the Basque Country that first sought a degree of sovereignty from Spain over a decade ago, when then Basque President, Juan José Ibarretxe, proposed redefining the Basque relationship with Spain as one of ‘free association’. But why did Madrid’s refusal of Ibarretxe’s proposals result in a return to moderation, whereas […]

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    Book Review: The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World by Michael Ignatieff

Book Review: The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World by Michael Ignatieff

In The Ordinary Virtues: Moral Order in a Divided World, Michael Ignatieff aims to take ethics out of the seminar room by examining the role of ‘ordinary virtues’ such as trust, forgiveness and reconciliation in local contexts and settings. While the book travels the globe to underscore both the fragility and strength of community-based networks of solidarity as part of Ignatieff’s broader commitment to political […]

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November 5th, 2017|Book Reviews, featured|0 Comments|

Europe’s Banking Union: What progress has been made?

The creation of a European Banking Union was seen as one of the key responses to the Eurozone crisis. But despite being agreed in 2012, the banking union remains incomplete. Tobias Tesche assesses the progress that has been made so far, writing that the banking union has so far failed to deliver on its promises.

Frankfurt skyline, Credit: Frank Friedrichs […]

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    Why journalists should not use the expression ‘semi-autonomous’ (or ‘semiautonomous’)

Why journalists should not use the expression ‘semi-autonomous’ (or ‘semiautonomous’)

Sometimes the media can use terminology that obscures or even misrepresents the message that honest journalists are trying to explain. Brendan O’Leary and Khaled Salih highlight how using ‘semi-autonomous’ to describe the constitutional powers of either Catalonia or Kurdistan may be unhelpful.

Glass candles forming Catalan and Scottish flags at a pro-independence demonstration in Edinburgh, Credit: byronv2 (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Some items of […]

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    A model for predicting future EU enlargements – and why most candidate states could be waiting some time

A model for predicting future EU enlargements – and why most candidate states could be waiting some time

The last state to join the European Union was Croatia in 2013, but when can current candidate states expect to secure their accession to the EU? Tina Freyburg and Tobias Böhmelt present results from a new study of the capacity of candidate states to meet accession criteria. They find that only one of the current candidate states (Macedonia) would […]

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    Making sense of the uncertainty following Catalonia’s declaration of independence

Making sense of the uncertainty following Catalonia’s declaration of independence

Catalonia faces an uncertain future following the events of the last month, but the regional elections now scheduled for 21 December are likely to be a key moment in determining its trajectory. Mariana S. Mendes assesses how the crisis developed following the 1 October referendum, arguing that by calling early elections, the Spanish government has attempted to give the pro-independence […]

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Catalonia: The end of the independence road?

With the Spanish government now implementing direct rule of Catalonia from Madrid, despite the Catalan parliament making a declaration of independence, what lies ahead for both Catalonia and Spain? Luis Moreno explains that the results of the new Catalan elections that have been proposed for 21 December could be key to determining the outcome of the crisis, but other […]

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Catalonia’s declaration of independence: What comes next?

The Catalan parliament’s declaration of independence on 27 October, coupled with the Spanish government implementing direct rule over Catalonia, has left Spain facing its greatest political crisis since the country’s transition to democracy. James Irving assesses what might happen next, writing that ultimately it will be the reaction of ordinary citizens that will determine where Catalonia is headed.

Credit: Parlament […]

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What’s next for the AfD? Three possible scenarios

Having passed the electoral threshold and entered the Bundestag for the first time in September’s German federal election, the AfD is now coming to terms with the responsibilities and pressures of being a key player in the German parliament. One month on from the election, Julian Göpffarth reflects on three possible scenarios for the AfD over the coming years: […]

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    Book Review: Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe by Dimitar Bechev

Book Review: Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe by Dimitar Bechev

In Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe, Dimitar Bechev offers a nuanced and cool-headed account that challenges dominant narratives surrounding Russia’s influence in Southeast Europe. With the book emphasising the role of pragmatism over ideology when it comes to understanding relations between Russia and the Balkan states, this meticulously researched study is essential reading, recommends Tena Prelec. 
Rival Power: Russia in Southeast Europe. Dimitar […]

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Could Austria join the Visegrád Group?

The leader of the Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), Heinz-Christian Strache, has previously proposed that Austria could join the Visegrád Group of nations, which currently consists of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia. With the FPÖ likely to become a junior member of the next Austrian government in coalition with the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), is this now […]

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    Explaining the popularity of Poland’s Law and Justice government

Explaining the popularity of Poland’s Law and Justice government

Despite coming under heavy criticism from its political opponents for allegedly undermining democracy and the rule of law, the popularity of Poland’s Law and Justice government remains at record levels. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that the government has delivered on its high-profile social spending pledges, strongly opposed the EU’s unpopular migrant relocation scheme, and many Poles feel that it deserves […]

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    Most British MPs used to avoid tweeting about the EU, leaving Eurosceptics to fill the gap

Most British MPs used to avoid tweeting about the EU, leaving Eurosceptics to fill the gap

There was a time when the topic of the EU had little salience in British politics. Resul Umit presents an analysis of tweets by MPs in Ireland, Westminster and the devolved governments in 2014-15, highlighting that few tweeted much about EU affairs, especially if they were in unsafe seats. He argues that this allowed Eurosceptic politicians to fill the gap and effectively ‘own’ the […]

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    Why automated coding of party positions from manifestos may produce misleading conclusions in political research

Why automated coding of party positions from manifestos may produce misleading conclusions in political research

One of the more challenging tasks in political research is to produce reliable information on how political parties compare with one another on key issues like their approach to the economy or immigration. As Didier Ruedin writes, some researchers have sought to perform this task using automated methods that classify a party’s approach to an issue by scanning the […]

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    Survey evidence: Europeans support the EU’s hard line in the Brexit negotiations

Survey evidence: Europeans support the EU’s hard line in the Brexit negotiations

The British government has been frustrated by the hard negotiating line pursued by the EU under the lead of Michel Barnier, and the unusual degree of unity in supporting the EU’s Brexit negotiation strategy has surprised quite a few observers. Drawing on recent survey evidence, Stefanie Walter reflects on the Brexit process through EU-27 eyes, and concludes that by and large Europeans […]

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    A not so universal suffrage: How Europe’s political elites have become educational elites

A not so universal suffrage: How Europe’s political elites have become educational elites

Education levels are often cited as a key factor in explaining differences in opinion between voters, but as Mark Bovens and Anchrit Wille illustrate, many national parliaments have highly unrepresentative numbers of MPs with university degrees. They highlight that the number of MPs with degrees has increased substantially in western European countries over recent decades, and that the absence […]

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