North Europe

Ahead of September’s election, cracks in support for Norway’s centre-left coalition are beginning to show.

In September, Norwegians will head to the polls in a vote that on current polling, is likely to be won by a re-branded centre-right party at the expense of the long-dominant Labour party and its two coalition partners. Sten Inge Jørgensen writes that concern among Labour voters and undecideds at the increasingly populist and protectionist policies of its junior coalition partners has been a major cause of […]

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Iceland’s election results are not a vote against the EU

The weekend’s election in Iceland saw a shift to the right for the country, and substantial gains for the Independence Party, which is against joining the EU. Reflecting on the election results Benjamin Leruth argues that despite reluctance from the two winning parties, an EU referendum may still be on the cards for Iceland as a majority of the population still supports […]

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German support for the European project should not be taken for granted

Robert Grimm and Marius Guderjan argue that Germany’s relative economic well-being and prosperity partly explains the continuous support of the German people for the European project. However, there has been a growth in euroscepticism in the country in recent years. Whilst history might have made Germans more idealistic about the EU’s value to unite a continent that underwent centuries of wars […]

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The British class system is becoming more polarised between a prosperous elite and a poor ‘precariat’

Mike Savage discusses the results of the largest British class survey ever conducted. It shows that class divisions remain very powerful and are becoming more entrenched. There is a growing gulf between the elite and the lower classes, and what used to be termed the middle and working classes seem to be splintering into social classes with systematically differing amounts […]

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The pursuit of integration requires that citizens have a sense of belonging to the whole, as well as to their own ‘little platoon’

Tariq Modood discusses the historical relationship between political multiculturalism and national identity, arguing that what some have construed as the ‘death’ of multiculturalism can better be understood as a change of focus. Any attempt to cultivate conditions conducive to integration necessitates that national identity be taken seriously, but in a manner which enlarges and pluralises conceptions of what it means to be […]

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Deregulating ratios without improving qualifications first is a recipe for a more chaotic and less nurturing environment for young children

Ludovica Gambaro and Kitty Stewart argue that plans for permitting childcare staff to mind more children than currently allowed have merit, although there are significant problems. Their work suggests that there may indeed be potential gains in allowing ratios to rise if this allows for a more highly qualified workforce. However, the proposed qualification level is too low and relaxing ratios will not automatically be […]

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Despite riding high in the polls, a coalition with the CDU/CSU may be the only route for the German Greens to enter government in the 2013 Elections.

Federal elections are due to be held in Germany on 22nd September this year. As part of EUROPP’s series profiling the main parties in the election, Wolfgang Rüdig assesses the prospects of the German Greens. Although the party’s standing in opinion polls is extremely healthy, the weakness of its preferred partner, the SPD, might make a coalition with Angela Merkel’s […]

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David Cameron’s EU referendum pledge may not guarantee a Conservative victory in the next UK general election

As part of our collaborative project exploring contemporary Euroscepticism, Tim Bale offers an analysis of recent European events and their implications for both the UK political scene and the internal politics of the Conservative party.  Conservatives clearly care an awful lot – some would say too much – about Europe. But most of them care even more about winning elections. […]

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Sweden has reformed its welfare state to deliver both efficiency and equity – the UK should learn from its example.

Sweden is widely seen as a standard-bearer of social democratic principles. However Will Tanner contends that while the Swedish welfare state is an unlikely poster child for sustainable government, it is nonetheless leading the way in public service reform.  Politicians the world over are grappling with the same fundamental challenge: how to make government sustainable. The fiscal reckoning may have been exposed […]

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In 2012 France has seen gains for the Front National, success for François Hollande and electoral defeat and infighting for the UMP.

Rainbow Murray reviews an important year in French politics, one which has seen the left return to power for the first time in a decade, as well as gains for the far-right. 2012 has also been a difficult year for the centre-right in France, with the defeat of President Nicolas Sarkozy in the presidential election, followed by infighting over who […]

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British politicians need to reclaim leadership over the UK’s EU membership debate.

In 1975 the United Kingdom held a successful referendum on maintaining its membership of the European Economic Community. With calls growing for a new referendum on the UK’s relationship with the European Union, Oliver Daddow argues that political leaders have largely ceded control of the debate to backbench MPs and an increasingly Eurosceptic media. Unless strong and determined arguments are […]

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Rachida Dati’s paternity case illustrates the extent of sexist attitudes toward female politicians in France.

A ruling is due next week on the court case involving the paternity of former French justice minister Rachida Dati’s child. Nabila Ramdani writes that the case is just the latest in a series of stories about sex scandals and affairs that have dominated the press in a country where female politicians have a terrible public image. Beyond the criminal allegations being […]

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If his party unites behind him, social democrat Peer Steinbrück will push Angela Merkel right to the wire in the 2013 German federal election.

The German Social Democratic Party (SPD) have named Peer Steinbrück as their candidate for Chancellor in the 2013 federal elections. Michael Miebach assesses Steinbrück’s chance of success, arguing that if the SPD unites behind him he should be able to position himself as a strong contender to Angela Merkel. His strategy will also depend on maintaining good relations with the […]

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Like John Major before him, David Cameron has pragmatically managed his party’s dissensions over Europe without addressing their fundamental sources.

Much as it did for his predecessors in the 1980s and 1990s, the “Europe Problem” has caused headaches for UK Prime Minister, David Cameron. While some have commented that Cameron has been more flexible on these issues than some of his predecessors, Simon Usherwood disagrees. He argues that David Cameron, just like John Major before him, has been unwilling to […]

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Germany and Israel have not succeeded in turning their historical connection into a shared project around which a true friendship can form.

Felix Berenskoetter argues that a shared commitment to the memory of the Holocaust and to Israel’s right to exist has not formed a true friendship between Germany and Israel. Disagreements about how Israel should handle its security in the face of potential threats from Iran show that a new debate about the nature of the relationship between the two countries […]

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David Cameron is applying lessons from his party’s history in the Conservatives’ ‘Euro War’

This week sees the annual Conservative Party Conference, the lead up to which has been characterised by strong language from leader and UK Prime Minister David Cameron on the UK’s relationship with the EU. Françoise Boucek argues that Cameron’s management of dissent within his party, by seeking compromise and appeasing opponents, is based on lessons learned from the Conservatives internal […]

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Media coverage of the European Union is key to understanding eurosceptic attitudes within the UK.

Support for the European Union within the UK has traditionally been lower than in other European countries. Benjamin Hawkins assesses the role of the media in influencing public opinion, arguing that there has been a consistent eurosceptic discourse within a number of influential newspapers. This discourse has not only influenced public opinion towards the EU, but has also had an […]

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The most realistic outcome for the German social democrats in the 2013 Bundestag elections may be a pro-ESM ‘grand coalition’

This time next year, Germany will be going to the polls in national elections. Marcel Lewandowsky looks at the German Social Democrat Party’s (SPD) possible candidates for the Chancellorship and argues that, no matter who becomes the party leader, the party’s support for the European Stability mechanism and lack of substantial conflicts with their Christian Democrat opponents mean that a […]

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The UK’s “audit” of EU law is a waste of time. The EU is simply too complex to divide up into costs and benefits.

In July, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office launched a review of the balance of competences in the EU. It aims to review the EU’s powers and what they mean for the UK. J Clive Matthews argues however, that the EU is too complex to be divided up into simple costs and benefits, and that any such review is doomed […]

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Ireland faces a choice between following the EU into deeper integration and drifting back towards closer relations with the UK.

The past six months have seen Ireland vote yes in a referendum on the fiscal compact and a return to the long term bond markets for the country for the first time in two years. Paul Gillespie writes that the eurozone crisis and its effects on Ireland have led to increased public debates on European integration and Irish nationalism, especially […]

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