To mark the end of the year, we’ve compiled a list of our five most popular posts from 2013. We wish all our readers a Happy New Year and we look forward to bringing you more articles in 2014!

1. Five minutes with Ulrich Beck: “Germany has created an accidental empire”

Are we now living in a German Europe? In an interview with EUROPP’s editors, Ulrich Beck discusses German dominance of the European Union, the divisive effects of austerity policies, and the relevance of his concept of the ‘risk society’ to the current problems being experienced in the Eurozone. Read the article here.

2. The growing economic and ideological breach between Northern and Southern EU countries is pushing Europe towards a perfect storm

Southern European countries have been hardest hit economically by the Eurozone crisis. Using Eurobarometer data, Sonia Alonso notes that this economic disparity has also had a significant effect on public attitudes. Citizens in Southern European countries now have substantially less trust in government, trust in political parties, and satisfaction with democracy than those in the North. She argues that allied with shifting political attitudes, this breach is likely to lead to increasingly polarised views, creating a new economic and territorial cleavage between north and south. Read the article here

3. Contrary to popular opinion, Europe has not seen a sharp rise in far-right support since the start of the crisis

A common theory is that voters are more likely to transfer their support to far-right political parties during periods of economic crisis. Cas Mudde argues that despite the widespread popularity of this idea, there is little evidence that Europe has actually experienced a shift to the far-right since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008. He notes that more than a quarter of the EU’s 28 Member States have no far-right party of any standing, and of the countries which do have notable far-right parties, there is a fairly even split between those which have experienced an increase in support and those which have not. Read the article here.

4. Quantitative easing does not address the fundamental problems underpinning struggling western economies

Quantitative easing has been adopted by a number of central banks in the wake of the global financial crisis. John Doukas takes an in-depth look at the effects of quantitative easing, arguing that it not only fails to increase real economic activity, it also increases unemployment and encourages outsourcing to developing countries that offer higher rates of return. He concludes that economic growth and job creation should be the priority of western governments and not of central banks. Read the article here.

5. Terrorism is almost always morally unjustified, but it may be justified as the only way of preventing a “moral disaster”

Can terrorism ever be morally justified? Igor Primoratz writes on the nature of terrorism and whether it is possible to defend terrorist attacks in isolated cases. He argues that definitions of terrorism cannot be based on the identity of those resorting to it and must therefore be extended to include ‘state terrorism’. He concludes that while terrorism is almost always unjustified from a moral perspective, under specific, extreme conditions, terrorist acts may be defended on account of the “moral disaster” they prevent or stop. Read the article here

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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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