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

The EU centre and the crisis

Daniel Gros at Project Syndicate takes issue with the idea that Germans have become more Eurosceptic since the start of the Eurozone crisis. He notes that German nostalgia for the Deutsche Mark has declined significantly over the past decade, with far fewer Germans supporting a return to their former currency.

Credit: capelati (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Credit: capelati (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Craig Willy looks at Europe’s long-term prospects, arriving at the (somewhat depressing) conclusion that Europe may need to go through a Soviet Union-esque collapse before it can solve its problems. Open Europe also draw attention to a row between Germany and the European Commission over EU citizens claiming benefits in other EU countries.

Elsewhere Paul Craig, writing at Policy Network, discusses potential reforms aimed at addressing the EU’s ‘legitimacy crisis‘. He argues, among other points, that member states implementing joint-decisions they disagree with is not necessarily a problem for EU legitimacy. He justifies this by noting that all members choose to join the EU voluntarily because they believe the loss of autonomy in certain areas is a price worth paying for being ‘part of the club’.

Across Europe

Ireland held a referendum last week on abolishing its upper house of parliament, the Seanad, with voters rejecting the proposal by a small margin. Muiris MacCarthaigh at the PSA blog gives an overview of the result and the implications for political reform in the country.

In Spain, Jacint Jordana at Agenda Pública asks why federalism has never been considered a serious option. Given the regional disparities between territories in Spain, such as Catalonia and the Basque Country, federalism arguably offers a natural solution.

Meanwhile, the Strategic Europe blog compiles four responses from experts on whether Silvio Berlusconi’s political career is effectively over following his U-turn in the Italian Senate last week. James Walston also writes on Berlusconi, arguing that despite his authority over the Italian centre-right being severely weakened, the former Italian Prime Minister is “down, but not out”.

The European neighbourhood

On 3 October a boat carrying migrants from Libya to Italy sank off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa, killing around 300 people. Mary Dejevsky at the Spectator’s Coffee House blog argues that there is a degree of hypocrisy in the reaction of Europeans to the tragedy given public opinion does not favour a more liberal immigration policy.

William Schabas at the OUP blog writes on the eradication of capital punishment across states in Europe, Africa and the rest of the world. He notes that Belarus is the only state in Europe which still regularly carries out executions, while in North Africa executions have declined substantially since the Arab Spring.

On Syria, Nicholas John Wheeler at the Conversation points to progress in the process of destroying the country’s chemical weapons, but notes that a key concern is that the fragile consensus between the United States and Russia over the issue could weaken. The e-International Relations blog also has an interview with Professor Steven Walt on the Syria crisis, together with some recent developments in international relations theory.

And finally…

Andrew Hammel at German Joys makes a semi-serious case for why following national news is a waste of time.

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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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