The EUROPP team take a look at the week in Brussels blogging

Across Europe

Italy was plunged into crisis this week after ministers from Silvio Berlusconi’s PdL party indicated their intention to resign from Enrico Letta’s government.  Charlemagne’s notebook has an overview of the crisis, which ended with the Italian Prime Minister winning a vote of confidence after a last minute u-turn by Berlusconi. Open Europe also look at the potential next steps, arguing that whatever happens, Berlusconi has been dealt a blow to his authority.

Enrico Letta (Credit: Enrico Letta, CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Enrico Letta (Credit: Enrico Letta, CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Elsewhere, Austria held elections on Sunday, with the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and centre-right People’s Party (ÖVP) maintaining a majority of seats. The Economist has a rundown of the results, noting that the real story may be the 30 per cent of voters who supported Eurosceptic parties.

The European Citizen discusses today’s referendum in Ireland on abolishing the country’s upper house of parliament, the Seanad. The article argues that although the idea of reducing the number of Irish politicians has resonance with the electorate, reform might be a better course of action than outright abolition.

The EU centre and the crisis

Simon Tilford at the Centre for European Reform assesses the prospects for economic recovery in the Eurozone. Despite the single currency area exiting recession in the second quarter of 2013, he argues that this may do more harm than good if it ‘emboldens policy-makers to persevere with their current strategy’. Meanwhile, Joshua Chaffin at the FT’s Brussels Blog writes that the Greek government are planning to drastically cut the budget allocated for the country’s EU presidency, which begins in January.

Ahead of next year’s European Parliament elections, Julian Priestley writes at Policy Network on the potential rise of populist parties in the elections, and strategies which mainstream centrist parties could use to prevent this.

The European neighbourhood

Judy Dempsey at Strategic Europe assesses Germany’s relations with Russia. She argues that Angela Merkel will need ‘good ideas, persistence, and fortune’ if she is to woo Eastern neighbourhood countries and groups within Russia away from Vladimir Putin. The FRIDE blog also looks at EU-Russian relations, and the various policies that might help the EU to foster democracy in the country.

On a completely different subject, Jeppe Strandsbjerg at e-international relations writes on the somewhat overlooked role of cartography and the organisation of political space in international relations.

And finally…

Andrew Hammel at German Joys has a light-hearted comparison between coverage of insect attacks in Germany and Texas.

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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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