austerity

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    Can only Eurosceptics oppose austerity? How divisions over integration have replaced the left/right divide in the European Parliament

Can only Eurosceptics oppose austerity? How divisions over integration have replaced the left/right divide in the European Parliament

How do economic platforms interact with support for European integration? Harmen van der Veer and Simon Otjes write that the dynamics within the European Parliament have undergone a shift since the beginning of the Eurozone crisis. Whereas in previous periods the key divide in the Parliament centred on left/right issues, opposition to European integration has now become intertwined with […]

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    Wolfgang Schäuble: “Europe will only work if the rules are the same for smaller and bigger member states”

Wolfgang Schäuble: “Europe will only work if the rules are the same for smaller and bigger member states”

Germany has had a central role in shaping the policies that have been implemented to address the Eurozone crisis and the persistent economic problems faced by European countries in its aftermath. Following a recent lecture at LSE, Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, took questions from LSE staff and students on the need for rules to be applied consistently across […]

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    Debunking myths: Why austerity and structural reforms have had little to do with Ireland’s economic recovery

Debunking myths: Why austerity and structural reforms have had little to do with Ireland’s economic recovery

Ireland was one of the countries hardest hit by the financial crisis, however it has emerged with a strong recovery and now boasts the fastest pace of economic growth of any country in the Euro area. But what explains the Irish recovery and could it act as a model for other Eurozone states? Aidan Regan writes that contrary to […]

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    Why the lump of labour fallacy helps explain some countries being more anti-austerity than others

Why the lump of labour fallacy helps explain some countries being more anti-austerity than others

Why do citizens in some countries oppose austerity policies more forcefully than citizens in other states, even when the impact of such policies on living standards is relatively similar? Achim Kemmerling presents a psychological explanation for this variation in opinions across Europe. He argues that countries with a stronger belief in the ‘zero-sum’ nature of labour markets are more […]

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    EU governments must avoid scapegoating the public sector for Europe’s economic problems

EU governments must avoid scapegoating the public sector for Europe’s economic problems

How have different European countries implemented austerity measures since the financial crisis? Andrea Müller, Irene Ramos-Vielba, Werner Schmidt, Annette Thörnquist and Christer Thörnqvist write on developments within four countries: Germany, Spain, Sweden and the UK. They argue that there is little evidence to suggest that the failure to modernise the public sector in these countries was a key driver […]

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    The ECB should focus on the threat of deflation rather than maintaining austerity

The ECB should focus on the threat of deflation rather than maintaining austerity

The European Central Bank will hold its latest policy meeting today. Ahead of the meeting, David Woodruff writes that while growth has resumed in the Eurozone, there are still serious problems across the single currency area, with unemployment at exceptionally high levels in several countries. He argues that the ECB’s primary focus should be on preventing deflation, and that […]

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Public spending cuts in Spain have been more severe in those areas under the control of regional governments

Spain has pursued an austerity programme as part of its response to the financial crisis. Jacint Jordana compares spending cuts in areas under the control of regional governments, including the bulk of health and education spending, with areas controlled at the national level, such as pensions and welfare. He argues that due to a 2009 law on decentralised public finances, […]

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    Land value taxation could help to finance low-carbon infrastructure projects in cities suffering from austerity budgets

Land value taxation could help to finance low-carbon infrastructure projects in cities suffering from austerity budgets

Many cities across Europe have had budgets for local services and infrastructure projects cut as a result of the financial crisis. Blanca Fernandez writes on the potential for land value taxation, in which taxes are collected on the basis of the value of land rather than simply on property, to help fund low-carbon infrastructure in cities. She argues that land […]

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Ireland’s decision to retain the Seanad is not the end of the country’s political reform process

On 4 October the Irish electorate voted against the abolition of Ireland’s upper house of parliament, the Seanad, in a referendum. John Fitzgibbon assesses the outcome of the referendum, noting that the campaign was largely framed around the idea of ensuring the political class received its fair share of cutbacks in the context of austerity policies. The fact that voters […]

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The financial crisis means that Europe will need to look beyond the public sector to provide its healthcare needs

The financial crisis has led to public spending cuts across most European countries. Richard B Saltman and Zachary Cahn write that even if current levels of health spending are maintained, public healthcare systems will increasingly come under strain due to projected rises in healthcare costs. They argue that the only solution left for European governments is to increase the contribution […]

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The threat of Geert Wilders winning snap elections is likely to be enough to force a compromise on the Netherlands’ 2013 budget

In 2012, the Netherlands held snap elections following disagreement between Mark Rutte’s government, and Geert Wilders’ right-wing PVV over the country’s budget. Adam Evans writes that one year on from the elections, Rutte is once again facing difficulty negotiating support for the 2013 budget. He argues however that with the PVV enjoying high polling ratings, the prospect of forcing another […]

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European social scientists should seek to critically engage with populism rather than simply attacking or idealising it.

Since the beginning of the Eurozone crisis, a number of populist movements have gained support in European countries. Giorgos Katsambekis and Yannis Stavrakakis assess the nature of populism, arguing that the dichotomy between a ‘moderate centre’ and ‘dangerous’ populist movements in countries like Greece does not stand up to scrutiny. They write that the austerity policies pursued by mainstream parties […]

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Europe’s austerity policies may have created less unemployment in countries with liberalised labour markets.

Austerity policies have been linked to rising unemployment in European countries, but what effect have policies aimed at liberalising labour markets had during the crisis? Alessandro Turrini finds that contrary to expectations, austerity policies may have been responsible for creating more unemployment in countries with stronger employment protection legislation. One potential reason for this is that while countries with more […]

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Book Review: Philosophy and Resistance in the Crisis: Greece and the Future of Europe

This book is about the global crisis and the right to resistance, about neoliberal biopolitics and direct democracy, about the responsibility of intellectuals and the poetry of the multitude. Using Greece as an example, Costas Douzinas argues that the persistent sequence of protests, uprisings and revolutions has radically changed the political landscape. This new politics is the latest example of […]

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Why Portuguese parties have survived austerity, whereas Greek parties failed

Greece and Portugal have been two of the hardest hit countries by the Eurozone crisis, however the political consequences of the crisis have been radically different in each state. While the economic problems in Greece led to the country’s two major political parties losing substantial support, Portugal’s largest parties have largely retained their appeal. Alexandre Afonso assesses the reasons behind […]

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The DGB’s proposals for a new ‘Marshall Plan’ for Europe may mark the beginning of a discussion on the concrete alternatives to austerity.

For nearly five years, austerity has been touted as the only way to tackle the effects of the Eurozone’s financial crisis. Steve Coulter profiles a new initiative from the German trade union confederation, the Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund, which aims to leverage Europe’s idle private capital via a ‘European Future Fund’. This fund would focus on green investment, as well as training, […]

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The rise of foodbanks in Germany is increasing the commodification of poverty without addressing its structural causes

The past two decades have seen a massive rise in the number of foodbanks in Germany, often linked to the country’s welfare reforms. But what are the consequences of foodbanks, beyond simply helping those in need? Stefan Selke argues that the foodbank movement is in fact a backwards-looking policy that sees the solution to social problems in local neighbourhoods, and […]

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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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    Why the 2014 European Parliament elections will be about more than protest votes

Why the 2014 European Parliament elections will be about more than protest votes

European Parliamentary elections are due to be held in May 2014. Simon Hix and Christophe Crombez look ahead to the campaign, noting that the elections will not only provide an opportunity for Europe’s citizens to express their opinions over the handling of the Eurozone crisis, but will also allow them to take an active role in the selection of the […]

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After six years of austerity, Ireland’s coalition government has little room to manoeuvre.

One of the first countries to be seriously affected by the Eurozone crisis, after six years, Ireland may now be at risk of ‘austerity fatigue’. Theresa Reidy writes that facing increasing opposition to austerity, Ireland’s coalition government now clings together in faint hope that an economic miracle is around the corner. The financial crisis brought political upheaval to countries across […]

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