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

European Parliament elections

In the last week of campaigning before the European Parliament elections on 22-25 May, Charlemagne’s notebook covers disagreements between Marine Le Pen of the Front National and UKIP’s Nigel Farage. Both parties are expected to finish either first or second in their respective national votes, but the two leaders have clashed following UKIP’s refusal to join a Eurosceptic alliance after the elections.

Credit: European Parliament (CC-BY-SA-ND-NC-3.0)

Credit: European Parliament (CC-BY-SA-ND-NC-3.0)

On the wider picture, Dimitris Papadimitriou and Sotiris Zartaloudis at the Manchester Policy Blogs argue that if Eurosceptic parties make large gains in the elections the blame should ultimately be attributed to the poor decision-making which characterised Europe’s handling of the Eurozone crisis.

Elsewhere, Juan Antonio Pavon Losada at European Public Affairs takes a look at the European Parliament election campaign in Spain, while Hugo Dixon at Policy Network addresses the UK’s ‘in/out’ question over continued EU membership, arguing that the case for the UK staying in has never been stronger. Open Europe also note that there is a paradox in UK polling, with UKIP’s support rising, but a recent poll indicating that 54 per cent of British voters would opt to stay in the EU in comparison to only 37 per cent who would vote to leave.

Finally, Seán Hanley at the UCL SSEES Research Blog assesses how the European elections are likely to play out in Eastern Europe, and what the results might say about the enduring differences between Western and Eastern Europe.

The European neighbourhood

On Sunday two disputed ‘self-rule’ referendums were held in eastern regions of Ukraine. Andrew Wilson at the European Council on Foreign Relations writes that independent polling raises doubts about the results of the referendums, which showed strong support for independence from Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk.

Richard Youngs at Strategic Europe assesses whether some degree of federalisation in Ukraine could help solve the crisis. He argues that the dangers of federalisation largely stem from the Russian tactics it might enable, rather than from the concept itself. Meanwhile Judy Dempsey, also at Strategic Europe, compiles responses from several foreign policy experts on the question of whether the European Parliament elections can ‘save the EU’s foreign policy’.

And finally…

Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne at Policy Network take a look at the impact of new technology on employment, with future technological developments likely to make many professions obsolete.

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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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