To mark the end of the year we’ve compiled the top five EUROPP articles from 2015 (measured by visits).

A tragic accident at a Bucharest nightclub resulted in 32 people losing their lives and triggered a series of events that culminated in the resignation of Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta on 4 November. Ponta was already under significant pressure to quit following corruption allegations, but had resisted handing in his resignation until now. Why this change of heart? Dan Brett provides a comprehensive analysis of the situation and points out that, for Ponta, resigning over an accident he could not be blamed for was the easiest way out. Despite Ponta’s resignation, widespread anger at perceived political corruption has ensured protests have continued on the streets of Romanian towns and cities, with even the country’s popular President Klaus Iohannis potentially in the firing line.

Within individual countries there is usually a good understanding of how parties differ from one another on economic issues, but how do parties in different European countries compare? Would Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats lie to the right of Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party in Spain? Is the British Labour Party to the left of other centre-left parties in Europe? Based on data from expert surveys, Ryan Bakker, Seth Jolly and Jonathan Polk map the left/right positions of political parties from 14 eastern and western European countries. They write that while this comparison gives a good indication of party competition across Europe, future research will also allow for European parties to be compared on non-economic dimensions and with parties in other parts of the world such as North America.

How would a British exit from the EU affect the UK’s economy? Swati Dhingra, Gianmarco Ottaviano and Thomas Sampson outline the economic consequences of a Brexit, writing that reduced integration with EU countries is likely to cost the UK economy far more than is gained from lower contributions to the EU budget.

stefaniewalterThe Greek bailout referendum resulted in a clear victory for the ‘No’ side, but what explained the choices made by voters? Ignacio Jurado, Nikitas Konstantinidis and Stefanie Walter present results from a detailed survey conducted in Greece the day before the referendum was held. Among the findings, they note that voting intention was heavily influenced by partisan narratives concerning the likely consequences of the referendum, with a majority of Yes supporters believing a Grexit would occur following a No vote, but only a small percentage of No supporters believing this to be true.

Studies on the growth of Muslim populations in western Europe often focus on the role of immigration, but every year an increasing number of citizens in western European countries also make the decision to convert to Islam. Esra Özyürek writes on the challenges faced by German converts, noting that Germany’s Muslim communities have adopted a variety of different approaches aimed at integrating into German society without giving up their religious beliefs.

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Note: Articles give the views of the authors and not the position of EUROPP – European Politics and Policy or the London School of Economics. Featured image credit: Colin Knowles (CC-BY-SA-2.0)

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