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

The EU centre and the crisis

This week a study commissioned by the European Commission suggested that there is little evidence for so called ‘welfare tourism’ taking place within the EU. Open Europe write that while benefit tourism may not be a major problem at present, there is no reason to remove existing safeguards in countries such as the UK.

François Holland, Credit: Rémi Jouan (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

François Holland, Credit: Rémi Jouan (CC-BY-SA-3.0)

On the same issue, Bobby Duffy at the Conversation takes a detailed look at the nature of public opinion on immigration, while the Strategic Europe blog features responses from five experts to the question ‘Does Europe want immigrants?

Away from the issue of immigration, Jonathan Birdwell at Policy Network argues that the EU should reframe its role in Europe as a ‘democracy watchdog’ in light of the challenges the Eurozone crisis poses for European democracy. Meanwhile Simon Wren-Lewis uses the Eurozone as an example of ‘how not to run fiscal policy’.

Across Europe

The Economist reviews another bad week for French President François Hollande, after his Socialist Party lost a symbolic local by-election to Marine Le Pen’s Front National in southern France.

Gavin Rae at Beyond the Transition writes on the recent struggles of another politician, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, the Mayor of Warsaw, who faced a referendum this week aimed at removing her from office. Although 90 per cent of those voting supported removing her from office, the referendum did not meet the necessary turnout threshold to be valid.

Elsewhere Agenda Pública have a discussion on the topic of torture in Spain. The article states that since 2004 the European Court of Human Rights has criticised Spain on six occasions for failing to sufficiently investigate allegations of torture.

The European neighbourhood

Jolyon Howorth at the e-international relations blog assesses the run up to the December European Council summit on the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. He argues that the EU risks slipping into irrelevance as a global actor if it fails to strengthen its co-operation over defence and foreign policy issues.

Stefan Meister at the European Council on Foreign Relations blog states that the EU needs a ‘reality check on Russia’. The article claims that the EU’s approach to relations with the country has become too preoccupied with Vladimir Putin’s political regime, and neglects other complex issues which characterise Russian politics.

Meanwhile, Jan Wouters and Sanderijn Duquet at the OUP blog take a comprehensive look at the EU’s attempts to strengthen relations with states in the Middle East and North Africa during the ‘Arab Spring’.

And finally…

José Graziano da Silva and Achim Steiner write at Project Syndicate on the scale of global food waste. They note that around 1.3 billion metric tonnes of food are wasted every year around the world, the equivalent of around ten trillion bananas.

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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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