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Power is draining away from Chancellor Merkel

Angela Merkel managed to secure a fourth term in the 2017 German federal election, but she has faced increasing domestic pressure over recent months. John Ryan writes that the fourth term did not end well for previous German Chancellors Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl, and history appears to be repeating itself for Merkel.

Credit: © DW/J. Röhl (CC BY-NC 2.0)
German Chancellor Angela […]

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Can the Eurozone be more democratic?

How the Eurozone will be governed in the future is a matter of much debate and is expected to form a key part of the European Council meeting on 28-29 June. Kevin Featherstone argues that the debate is neglecting a key set of questions: how can its governance be made more democratic and accountable? The answers to these questions will […]

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    Book Review: Poor News: Media Discourses of Poverty in Times of Austerity by Steven Harkins and Jairo Lugo-Ocando

Book Review: Poor News: Media Discourses of Poverty in Times of Austerity by Steven Harkins and Jairo Lugo-Ocando

In Poor News: Media Discourses of Poverty in Times of Austerity, Steven Harkins and Jairo Lugo-Ocando explore how debates and discourses surrounding poverty and welfare have been shaped by the mainstream press in the UK. The granular content analysis offered by the book gives great insight into the normalisation of social inequality across the British media landscape, writes Matthew Hacke, and will be of interest to those looking to […]

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The gap between wages and productivity

In many EU states, wage growth has been lagging behind productivity growth over recent decades. Bela Galgoczi examines why wages and productivity – essential for a fair distribution of the spoils of economic growth – have increasingly decoupled from each other across European countries.

The decoupling of wages from productivity – a widespread phenomenon with wage growth having been lagging […]

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    Will it pay to be large in the EU steel industry? The answer may not be straightforward

Will it pay to be large in the EU steel industry? The answer may not be straightforward

The EU steel industry faces major challenges in the shape of rising prices for raw materials, fierce competition from international producers, and global overcapacity. Niccolò Pisani and Emilio Riva explain that the reaction to these problems has often been to advocate increased market concentration. However, the disruptive influence of artificial intelligence and growing anti-globalisation sentiment, epitomised by Donald Trump’s decision to impose a […]

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    Explaining the electoral debacle of social democratic parties in Europe

Explaining the electoral debacle of social democratic parties in Europe

Social democratic parties have experienced a sharp drop in support in several countries across Europe, underlined by the defeat of the German Social Democrats in last year’s German federal elections and the collapse of the Socialist Party in the French presidential and legislative elections. James F. Downes and Edward Chan present data on the role that the financial crisis […]

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Macedonia name dispute: Problem solved?

An agreement has been reached in the long-running name dispute between Greece and Macedonia. Thimios Tzallas writes that although the agreement is still subject to approval by the parliaments of both countries, Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev has sent a strong message to Brussels in advancing the country’s case for EU membership.

The long-running disagreement over what to call ‘the […]

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    We need to talk (more) about deliberative democracy in the EU

We need to talk (more) about deliberative democracy in the EU

Criticism of the EU’s ‘democratic deficit’ has become increasingly prominent since the financial crisis. Firat Cengiz writes that democracy in the EU would benefit from methods allowing citizens to participate more directly in policymaking. She argues for a form of deliberative democracy to be implemented at the European level and provides some practical suggestions for how this could be […]

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    Austria’s right-wing government at six months: What’s the record so far?

Austria’s right-wing government at six months: What’s the record so far?

Austria’s government was sworn in six months ago on 18 December. Manès Weisskircher discusses the domestic record of the new government, noting that so far, its support has remained stable. The government’s biggest domestic hurdle has not been mobilisation against new socioeconomic or migration policies, but rather opposition to the reversal of a smoking ban in restaurants.

Sebastian Kurz with […]

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    Book Review: Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe edited by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger

Book Review: Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe edited by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger

In Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe, editors Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger bring together contributors to consider the possible implications of Brexit for the futures of Europe and the European Union. Available to download here, the book’s interdisciplinary approach makes clear the difficulties of predicting the potential outcomes of an unfolding process while nonetheless outlining a number of different scenarios and possibilities in […]

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    Boycotts are more likely to be effective in industries which are highly competitive

Boycotts are more likely to be effective in industries which are highly competitive

One of the most fundamental aspects of our market society is that consumers should have the ability to vote with their feet and to not buy certain products if they do not wish to. But when are these boycotts effective in causing corporations to change their ways? In new research, Georgy Egorov and Bard Harstad find that boycotts should […]

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A crisis made in Italy

The decision of Italy’s President, Sergio Mattarella, to veto Giuseppe Conte’s choice of finance minister prompted much discussion about the legitimacy of Mattarella’s actions and the impact Italy’s membership of the Eurozone has on the country’s democracy. Michael Wilkinson argues that however much the pressure on Italy appeared to stem from global financial markets or European constitutional conventions, it […]

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    Bulgarians in London: A community of strength, but one hidden in the shadows

Bulgarians in London: A community of strength, but one hidden in the shadows

Many Bulgarians have moved to the UK since the early-2000s, but as Maria Koinova notes, little research has been conducted on their views on life in Britain. Drawing on a new survey of Bulgarians in London, she writes that the Bulgarian community is notably different from the way it has been portrayed in the British media. It has many […]

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    Why public sector outsourcing is less efficient than Soviet central planning

Why public sector outsourcing is less efficient than Soviet central planning

Since the 1990s, public sector outsourcing has evolved through competitive tendering, partnership working (particularly via Public Finance Initiatives), strategic-commissioning and prime-contracting. Each of these iterations has promised better public goods and services for less cost. Their practice, however, has frequently been marked by rising costs and lower service quality. Abby Innes explains why.

The logic of outsourcing is that market-based […]

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Colliding worlds: Donald Trump and the European Union

Donald Trump’s decision to impose steel and aluminium tariffs on EU states has raised fears of a trade war developing. Michael Cottakis writes that the dispute not only reflects a difference in approaches to trade, but a clash of two world views. He argues that a rupture between the EU and the US would represent a death knell for […]

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    What are the prospects for Poland’s rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz?

What are the prospects for Poland’s rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz?

Although Polish rock star-politician Paweł Kukiz’s political grouping is an unstable construct, lacking organisational and programmatic coherence, it remains the Polish government’s only potential coalition partner and could still emerge as king-maker after the country’s next parliamentary election. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that the key to its survival and future success is still Mr Kukiz’s continued credibility as an ‘anti-system’ […]

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    What Italy’s political crisis told us about populism in Europe

What Italy’s political crisis told us about populism in Europe

The political crisis in Italy that emerged after Italian President Sergio Mattarella vetoed Giuseppe Conte’s choice of finance minister quickly gave way to a compromise. But what did the affair tell us about populist politics in Italy and Europe? Ben Margulies writes that while Mattarella got his way in the end, his actions risked bringing about the very thing […]

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    Book Review: Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum

Book Review: Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine by Anne Applebaum

In Red Famine: Stalin’s War on Ukraine, Anne Applebaum offers a new comprehensive account of the Holodomor: the famine that led to the deaths of millions of Ukrainians through starvation in the early 1930s. Drawing on archival documents, written and oral testimonies and historical scholarship, this is a valuable addition to our understanding of this devastating and long-neglected event, reccommends Vlad Onaciu. 
If you are interested in […]

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    Refusing to dance to a Brexit tune: How the EU has misinterpreted Britain’s vote to leave

Refusing to dance to a Brexit tune: How the EU has misinterpreted Britain’s vote to leave

Britain has made numerous mistakes over Brexit, but the European Union’s record also needs to be analysed. Tim Oliver addresses some of the things the EU has been accused of getting wrong about Brexit. In this post, he looks at how the EU has misinterpreted Brexit.

Brexit has been a learning experience for all involved. British and EU negotiators have found […]

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We are all Ordo-liberals now

Both the French and German governments have recently expressed a desire to avoid budget deficits. Bob Hancké examines the history of a ‘dangerous idea’ – Ordoliberalism, or the belief that balanced budgets produce growth.

At what was probably the most unpropitious moment in recent economic history to make the claim, US President Richard Nixon declared that we ‘are all Keynesians […]

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