South Europe

Greece’s increasingly polarised and fragmented party system is at odds with the country’s international position.

Last month, the Democratic Left party left Greece’s coalition government, leaving PASOK and New Democracy with a razor-thin majority and the expectation of fresh elections for the country. Nikitas Konstantinidis argues that Greece’s political system has become much more fragmented in the wake of the crisis, with voters also now paying more attention to populist promises than parties’ ability to […]

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The outcome of Silvio Berlusconi’s trial will have little effect on Italy’s government – for now

Last week saw convictions for former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for abuse of office and underage prostitution. Mattia Guidi writes that while Berlusconi is still an important part of Italy’s relatively new coalition government, the conviction is likely to have little effect, as his party, the Popolo della Libertà has suffered a decline in support, and fresh elections would […]

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In its efforts to tackle banking crisis and avoid a bailout, Slovenia is now facing a crisis of democracy.

In recent months, many commentators have turned their attention towards Slovenia, with some predicting that the country may soon need to request a bailout from the ‘Troika’. With this in mind, Slovenia’s government has moved to push through a package of tax increases, public sector pay cuts, privatisations and bank reforms. Nicole Lindstrom argues that while the government’s reform agenda […]

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The problems faced by Greece’s public sector are such that the sudden closure of ERT may have been the least bad option.

Last week, with almost no warning, the Greek government closed the national broadcaster, ERT, putting over 2,700 jobs at risk. Kevin Featherstone argues that while the way the announcement was made raised justifiable concerns, the central objective should be broadly welcomed. The case typifies the problems in achieving serious public sector reform: indeed, it may be the only way to […]

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On Italy’s streets, Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement still twinkles

Local elections in Italy this week saw reduced results for Beppe Grillo’s Movimento Cinque Stelle (M5S) party, when compared to its stunning national election performance in February. In the aftermath, the Italian media has been quick to write off the party’s fortunes. Duncan McDonnell writes that these sentiments are fuelled by an unhelpful comparison of local and national elections, and the media’s […]

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In the wake of the EU brokered agreement, Serbs in Northern Kosovo are more likely to pursue pragmatic co-existence with Pristina

On 19 April, the EU brokered a deal to normalise relations between Serbia and Kosovo. This deal has been opposed by leaders in the majority Serb area of Northern Kosovo, but this view may not be shared by the population, argues Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik. She writes that the potential for EU membership and a pragmatic coexistence with Kosovo means that North […]

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Local government areas that are controlled by the same party as national governments receive larger grants and have lower taxes.

What are the implications if parties that control local municipalities are the same as those that are in government nationally? Using data from Italy, Emanuele Bracco, Francesco Porcelli and Michela Redoano find that municipalities which are politically aligned with central government get more in government grants, and have lower taxes on average. Their mayors also have a better chance of […]

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Italy’s fragile new government is unlikely to stay for the long haul.

This week a new Italian government was finally sworn in and approved by Italy’s Parliament, following months of uncertainty after the country’s elections in February. James Walston assesses the new cabinet, noting that it is intentionally dominated by low profile figures to avoid antagonising the main participating parties. He argues that the government will be under immediate political pressure and […]

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Book Review: Modern Italy in Historical Perspective

Europe has paid close attention to Italy in recent months, in the wake of an inconclusive election that created much uncertainty. In Modern Italy in Historical Perspective, Nick Carter takes a close look at Italy’s troubled history, tracing the roots of current problems such as corruption and organized crime. Kate Saffin finds the book to be a detailed history of […]

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Italy’s political and institutional crisis means that Beppe Grillo and Silvio Berlusconi will benefit the most if the country once again goes to the polls.

Italy’s elections at the end of February were a major victory for Beppe Grillo and his anti-establishment ‘Five Star Movement’ at the expense of the country’s traditional parties. With a hung parliament, and no deal to form a new government in sight, Aidan Regan argues that Italy faces a significant crisis, brought on not by EU-imposed austerity, but by Italians’ […]

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To avoid another Cyprus style crisis, the EU must understand how it helps to create tax havens.

The recent Cyprus crisis has thrown the problems posed by tax havens into sharp relief. But what determines which countries become tax havens? Achim Kemmerling argues that tax havens tend to occur when small countries stand to benefit from aligning their legal framework with that of a larger country. For countries such as Cyprus, EU accession and the adoption of […]

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The Cyprus crisis has shown the growing dysfunctionality of the eurozone.

Reflecting on the recent crisis in Cyprus, Vassilis Paipais and Eirini Karamouzi write that the imbroglio over the county’s banks shows both the difficulties currently faced by the eurozone and the power of Germany in Europe. They argue that the crisis has also brought to the surface real antagonisms over wealth inequalities in the eurozone, and warn that the increasing polarization between […]

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Italy and India have much to lose if they do not resolve their marines dispute

Bilateral relations between India and Italy have grown increasingly tense following Italy’s refusal to return two of their Marines – who are accused of killing two Indian fishermen. In light of the countries’ otherwise warm relations, Anirudh Menon looks at how Rome and New Delhi should address this diplomatic debacle.  After a series of bizarre developments worthy of a soap […]

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Europe’s Cyprus blunder raises important questions about the nature of EU decision-making and crisis management.

One week ago, the EU, IMF and European Central Bank agreed to a bailout for Cyprus that would involve a levy on the country’s bank deposits. The terms of the bailout have been met with surprise and fury in Cyprus and across Europe, and were also rejected by Cyprus’s parliament. Nicholas Veron writes that no matter the outcome, the crisis […]

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The people of Southern Italy are once again feeling dominated by the Italian, European, and Global North.

Italy’s recent elections have refocused attention on the county’s economy and widespread dissatisfaction with austerity policies. From her research on the Italian region of Calabria, Stavroula Pipyrou writes that the economic crisis has been especially harsh on Southern Italy. Those in the country’s south increasingly feel that they live in the shadow of Northern Italy. They also see little chance […]

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Italy has passed a no-confidence verdict in the centre-left

The rise of Beppe Grillo and the political resilience of Silvio Berlusconi were two of the main stories to emerge from last week’s Italian election. As Duncan McDonnell and Giuliano Bobba argue, however, the Grillo and Berlusconi headlines should not disguise the stark position of the Italian centre-left. The Partito Democratico has now lost over three million voters in five […]

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Far from being a disaster, the results of the Italian election could be a turning point for Italy and the Eurozone.

The results of the Italian elections, in which the centre-left coalition won a majority in the Chamber of Deputies, but not in the Senate, have led to fears that the country could become ungovernable. Jonathan Hopkin takes issue with this perspective, arguing that the results could have a number of positive consequences for both Italy and the Eurozone. The failure […]

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Beppe Grillo’s success in the Italian elections shows that austerity is now becoming politically unsustainable.

Following the weekend’s elections, Italy now appears to be facing a hung parliament, with a centre-left majority in the Chamber of Deputies and a fragmented Senate. The real winner writes Valentino Larcinese, has been Beppe Grillo’s 5 Star Movement, which gained 25 per cent of the vote. He argues that the movement’s success illustrates that austerity is now becoming politically […]

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Whoever wins this week’s Italian elections, it is unlikely that they will put an end to the ‘telecracy’ begun by Silvio Berlusconi.

Parliamentary elections are due to be held in Italy on 24-25 February. As part of EUROPP’s series previewing the election, Valentino Larcinese writes on former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Despite Berlusconi’s party lagging behind the centre-left coalition in the polls, his control over the country’s media continues to have a substantial impact on the campaign. There is also little […]

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Following a litany of failures, few will miss Cyprus’ outgoing president, Dimitris Christofias.

This weekend Cyprus will elect a new president. James Ker-Lindsay writes that history will not be kind to outgoing president, Dimitris Christofias – and rightly so. Over the course of the past five years he has presided over the failure of yet another round of UN peace talks aimed at reuniting the island, oversaw the collapse of the island’s economy, […]

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