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    Matteo Renzi’s transition to power is a gamble not just for his party, but for the Italian political system as a whole

Matteo Renzi’s transition to power is a gamble not just for his party, but for the Italian political system as a whole

Last week Italian prime minister Enrico Letta resigned, with the general secretary of the Partito Democratico, Matteo Renzi, expected to take over as the country’s new PM. Arianna Giovannini and James L. Newell assess Renzi’s transition to power and the stakes for both his party and the wider situation in Italy. They note that although Renzi was the obvious successor […]

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Book Review: Party patronage and party government in European democracies

The eurozone debt crisis and subsequent economic reforms introduced across Europe have helped to expose endemic levels of corruption and party patronage in countries such as Greece. Party patronage and party government in European democracies uses more than 600 expert interviews to explore the nature of party patronage across fifteen European democracies. For Sofia Vasilopoulou, one of this timely book’s […]

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Turkey’s ongoing protests may yet lead to a backlash from the government’s supporters and a new ‘Turkish winter’

As street protests in Turkey continue, and the government’s response has begun to harden, many are now talking about a coming ‘Turkish spring’. Burak Kadercan warns against such an analysis of these events, arguing that the protestors have no collective vision of change, and that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan remains a relatively popular leader. He writes that if the ruling AKP […]

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Romanian politics in 2012 has been marked by a rocky cohabitation between Victor Ponta’s government and President Traian Basescu.

In Romania, this year has seen the resignation of one government, a vote of no-confidence in another, an attempt to change the electoral system and efforts by the government to impeach the sitting President. Cristina Bucur looks over political developments in Romania during 2012, finding that they have been characterised by constitutional infighting and an often difficult political cohabitation between […]

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Five minutes with Guy Verhofstadt, President of the ALDE Group and Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Co-President of the Greens/European Free Alliance – “There is no alternative to a federal Europe”

In their new book, ‘For Europe’, Guy Verhofstadt and Daniel Cohn-Bendit outline a manifesto for the creation of a fully federal Europe, complete with a new European constitution. In an interview with EUROPP editors Chris Gilson and Stuart A Brown, they discuss their manifesto, arguing that the current eurozone crisis leaves EU Member States with no alternative but to pursue […]

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Cultural differences may explain why riots and violent protests against austerity have occurred in Greece, but not in Spain.

While rioting and violent protests have been a frequent occurrence on the streets of Greek cities since the start of the debt crisis, Spain has not yet experienced similar scenes. Aikaterini Andronikidou and Iosif Kovras assess why this is the case, noting that the two countries have very different cultural attitudes toward anti-system politics. This partly reflects the historical transitions […]

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Five minutes with Lord Boswell of the UK’s House of Lords’ EU Committee – “We have some arguably existential crises in the European Union”

The UK’s House of Lords’ EU Committee aims to hold the UK government to account for its actions at the EU level, and also considers EU related documents prior to decisions being made on them. In an interview with EUROPP editor Chris Gilson, Committee Chairman Lord Boswell discusses how the Eurozone crisis has affected the work of the House of […]

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Invest in brains, not buildings, to raise scientific output and impact

Which is more valuable to the creation of scientific knowledge, high quality scientists or first-class facilities? Fabian Waldinger looks at the dramatic effects of the Nazi expulsion of Jewish scientists and the Allied bombing of university buildings and discovers that brains had more impact than buildings. At the moment, many countries such as Brazil, South Korea, and especially China, are […]

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Five minutes with Paul Sum on the political situation in Romania: “Romanians not only lack confidence in their governing institutions, many hold disdain for them.”

On Sunday, Romanian President Traian Basescu narrowly survived an impeachment referendum after voter turnout fell below 50 per cent, the level required for the vote to be valid. In an interview with EUROPP editors Stuart A Brown and Chris Gilson, Paul Sum of the University of North Dakota details the factors behind the political crisis, assesses the EU’s role in […]

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The Greek government’s target of zero public sector layoffs and the troika’s of 150,000 over ten years are both ultimately self-defeating.

The new Greek government recently announced that there would be no layoffs in the public sector, flying in the face of the country’s agreements with the IMF and the ECB to implement public administration reforms. For Kevin Featherstone, the futility of this target is matched by the troika’s (the ECB, EU, and IMF) demand for 150,000 public sector job cuts […]

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Book Review: Governing Ireland: From Cabinet Government to Delegated Governance by Eoin O’Malley and Muiris MacCarthaigh

The structures of Irish government were once considered reliably stable and efficient, but the economic crash of 2008 swept away all such sureties. How did those in government fail to foresee the challenges and avert a crisis that has undermined the state in many respects? Liz Carolan finds that Governing Ireland maintains a considered, confident and probing air, collecting together the personal and surprisingly outspoken analysis of […]

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With the ruling party’s legislative tsunami, Hungary may now be sleepwalking into an authoritarian state.

Hungary is a member of the European Union, but the country is sleepwalking into an authoritarian state, argue Tamas Dezso Czigler and Izolda Takacs. In their second of three articles for EUROPP, they argue that the new governing coalition has overhauled the country’s electoral and judicial system, violated the independence of the Hungarian central bank and invaded citizens’ private lives. […]

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New elections in Greece seem increasingly likely, further damaging the country’s credibility

Sofia Vasilopoulou and Daphne Halikiopoulou reflect on last week’s elections in Greece, finding that voters have deserted the more centrist parties that have been popular in the past, in favour of parties on the extreme right and left. Divisions between parties over Greece’s bailout and austerity mean that the formation of a coalition government is unlikely; new elections in June are […]

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EU and international support for Bosnia and Herzegovina must go hand in hand with further internal reforms

Bosnia and Herzegovina has sought greater integration with the EU for the best part of a decade, but the country has been found wanting due to internal problems such as corruption and human rights. Maria-Antoaneta Neag argues that the country’s new government has made some promising moves towards further reforms which may be cause for cautious optimism within the EU. […]

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With Mario Monti’s technocratic government, it is not just the idea of party government which is being damaged in Italy, but the very idea of the political party’s role as an indispensable agent of democracy.

Silvio Berlusconi was Italy’s longest-serving prime minister since Benito Mussolini, and his resignation was a turning point in modern Italian history. Duncan McDonnell argues that his successor Mario Monti’s government marks an era of ‘democracy without choices’. He believes that Monti’s technocratic government damages the very idea of the political party’s role as an indispensable agent of democracy.   Party government […]

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Romania’s recent protests have become a social movement calling for the dignity of the people in the face of an unaccountable government.

While originally sparked by the government’s plan to partially privatize the health-care system, Clara Volintiru argues that the recent protests and demonstrations in Romania are ultimately not only about the reform of social security systems and austerity measures, but also have the aim of achieving greater government transparency and accountability.   Remus Prata lives in the small village of Baia de […]

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Book Review: Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth Century Europe by Jan-Werner Müller

Jan-Werner Müller presents a major account of political thought in twentieth century Europe. Müller argues that the Second World War was pivotal in shaping the democratic values so familiar in the European community. Although the author carefully considers the most familiar thinkers alongside those now forgotten, Bill Kissane feels that the book still tells only half the story. Contesting Democracy: Political Ideas in Twentieth Century Europe. […]

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Recent political developments mean that Greece is no longer on the brink of economic collapse. But the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF will be keeping a close watch for some time to come.

The recent crisis of the Greek economy, and the threat of its withdrawal from the Eurozone, was only averted by the rejection of a referendum on the EU bail-out and the resignation of the country’s prime minister. Kevin Featherstone argues that, while the situation has now stabilised, instability and uncertainty still remain. European and global economic institutions will be keeping […]

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Recent events in Europe and the Middle East have challenged the coalition government to revisit its engagement with Europe.

Despite initial fears of Euroscepticism on the continent after the election , the coalition government’s relationship with Europe has on the whole, been productive. Paul Adamson argues that while the government’s more recent policy of relatively pragmatic disengagement initially signaled an end to the ‘European honeymoon’, the fiscal crisis and events in Libya may yet see a stronger leadership role […]

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