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

The European neighbourhood

Jan Techau at Strategic Europe writes on ‘Europe’s five deadly sins’ in the Ukraine conflict. He outlines what he views as the key strategic blunders Europe has made during the crisis, most notably ‘underestimating the attractiveness of its own model to millions of Ukrainians’. Sticking with the list format, Andrew Wilson at the UCL SSEES Research Blog has a list of ‘ten things you should know about Crimea’.

Angela Merkel and Vitali Klitschko at the EPP congress (Credit: EPP, CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Angela Merkel and Vitali Klitschko at the EPP congress (Credit: EPP, CC-BY-SA-3.0)

Meanwhile Charlemagne’s notebook covers the meeting between Ukraine’s new Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk and EU leaders in Brussels, noting that “Russia gambled everything on trying to prevent Ukraine from signing a trade pact with the European Union… but Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine have hastened the very processes he was trying to block.”

Away from Ukraine, Susanne Gratius at the FRIDE blog takes a look at the situation in Venezuela. The EU has stressed the need for a peaceful resolution following three weeks of protests which have led to at least 17 deaths. She argues that the EU should not assume the role of mediator without first gaining the support of other Latin American countries.

The EU centre and the crisis

The European People’s Party (EPP) congress started in Dublin this week, with the EPP selecting Jean-Claude Juncker as their candidate for President of the European Commission. The FT’s Brussels Blog has a brief overview of events, which included speeches by Ukraine’s Yulia Tymoshenko and Vitali Klitschko.

While the upcoming European Parliament elections have generated significant interest, the EU’s course will be led by other factors, writes Olaf Cramme at Policy Network. He argues that although the newly elected European Parliament and the appointment of a new European Commission will be widely covered in the media, the real issues facing Europe are the continuing fallout from the Eurozone crisis, the UK’s future EU membership, and instability in Eastern Europe.

Elsewhere, Ewan Munro at the Manchester Policy Blogs discusses a recent speech in Manchester by former Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, who called for EU members to come together to confront major external challenges. In addition to focusing on the bigger picture and on the future, he called for stronger leadership within the EU and a united front on the upcoming ‘global battle’ for values of global norms.

Across Europe

At Project Syndicate, Edoardo Campanella writes that Europe’s middle-aged workers will be adversely affected by the economic dynamics of the future. With the continuing rapid increases in technology and innovation, workers will need to have constantly updated skills, which favours younger workers. He argues that European politicians should allow for a more flexible older labour force.

Meanwhile, Open Europe deconstructs some of the key points from an immigration report recently released by the UK Government. They explain that it is very difficult to quantify the impacts of migration on the local economy, including for migrants from the EU. Nevertheless, the general trend follows that there can be negative effects in the short term, on average no effects in the medium term and positive effects in the long term.

Also on the UK, Philip Gannon at the PSA Blog notes the evolution of the US-UK relationship in recent years. While the UK has traditionally been seen as the link between the US and the rest of the EU, this role may be evolving, with the UK working in more in concert with other European countries, through the EU, rather than with the US.

And finally…

What is the purpose of law? Raymond Wacks at the OUP Blog asks whether law is based more on rules and norms established by societies or on universal morality. He concludes that while the answers to such questions may be unclear, legal philosophy can lend important insights on how we think of ourselves.

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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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