Stuart Brown takes a look at the week in Brussels blogging

Syria and the European neighbourhood

On Thursday, the UK’s participation in any military intervention in Syria was effectively ruled out following a vote against David Cameron’s government in the House of Commons. Chris Dillow at Stumbling and Mumbling calls Cameron’s defeat a “tragic failure” which “suggests he knows little about politics and history”. Alex Massie, writing at his Spectator blog, takes a different line, arguing that the House of Commons has “cut off its nose to spite its face” over the issue. He notes that by rejecting both the government motion, and the amendment put forward by the opposition, the UK parliament has essentially “voted to have no policy at all”.

David Cameron, Credit: The Prime Minister's Office (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

David Cameron, Credit: The Prime Minister’s Office (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Open Europe have a rundown of responses to the vote in European newspapers. They also list the current position of each EU member state on taking part in any military action – although the UK will presumably now have to be removed from the ‘in favour’ column following last night’s result. For those countries, including France and Denmark, who may still take part, the European Council on Foreign Relations has a list of eight things which should be considered before European states become involved.

On the broader picture, Christian Henderson writes that any airstrikes against Syria must be backed by a UN resolution if they are to be considered legal under international law – something that appears highly unlikely due to opposition from Russia and China. Project Syndicate also includes a contribution from former EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, who argues that there can be no path to peace in Syria without effective involvement from Iran.

The EU centre and the crisis

Away from Syria, Mats Persson critiques the idea that the EU budget could be used to make contributions towards a third Greek bailout. Also on the crisis, Hans-Werner Sinn argues that the European Central Bank (ECB) is now the “real hegemon” of the Eurozone, and that national parliaments have been placed in a position where they have no real option but to accept ECB policies on bank restructuring.

Meanwhile, Simon Wren-Lewis at Mainly Macro writes that weak regulations over the amount of equity banks are required to hold may be a reflection of the power the ‘bank lobby’ holds over politicians in western countries.

Across Europe

Nonna Myer, writing at Policy Network, asks whether France is ‘moving to the right’ following a poll in which a third of respondents indicated that they agreed with the policies of the Front National. Ahead of next month’s German elections, the Economist previews this Sunday’s televised debate between Chancellor Angela Merkel and her rival Peer Steinbrück.

On a completely different subject, Craig Willy takes a look at the percentage of young adults still living with their parents. According to the figures quoted, Denmark has the lowest percentage of young adults still living at home, while Slovakia and Slovenia have the highest percentages.

And finally…

To mark the UN’s ‘International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances’, the Oxford University Press blog has an interview with Emmanuel Decaux and Olivier de Frouville, who have been closely involved in the UN’s attempts to combat the problem.

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Note:  This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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