current-affairs

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    Austerity politics, global neoliberalism, and the official discourse within the IMF

Austerity politics, global neoliberalism, and the official discourse within the IMF

Is austerity a ‘dream come true’ for neoliberals, or did the global financial crisis force policymakers to question neoliberalism’s core principles and change direction? Focusing on speeches by members of the International Monetary Fund, Kevin Farnsworth and Zoë Irving find little to suggest that the fundamental assumptions of neoliberalism have been displaced.

It is now over ten years since the […]

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    Why the European Parliament’s campaign to increase voter turnout could do more harm than good

Why the European Parliament’s campaign to increase voter turnout could do more harm than good

Ahead of the 2019 European elections in May, the European Parliament has launched a campaign to increase voter turnout. Nils Napierala argues that while this is clearly needed given the low turnout at the last elections in 2014, the campaign runs the risk of fuelling Eurosceptic sentiments by focusing too much on the EU’s successes and not on the […]

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    What the ratification of the Prespa Agreement means for Greek politics

What the ratification of the Prespa Agreement means for Greek politics

The Prespa Agreement resolving the long-running Macedonia name dispute between Athens and Skopje was ratified in the Greek parliament on 25 January. Nikolaos Tzifakis explains that with a majority of Greek citizens opposed to the agreement, the issue stands to have a significant impact on the Greek parliamentary elections due to be held later this year.

On 25 January, the Greek […]

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    France and Germany will dominate the EU after Brexit – but they won’t go unchallenged

France and Germany will dominate the EU after Brexit – but they won’t go unchallenged

How will Brexit affect the delicate balance of power in the EU? Ulrich Krotz and Joachim Schild argue that it will boost Franco-German power – but this will not go unchallenged by other EU members, especially the Visegrád bloc and the newly assertive Hanseatic League.

The effects of Brexit will be felt beyond the United Kingdom. The unprecedented exit of a key member state […]

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    European Parliament election preview: Romania’s EU elections will be a battleground for reformist forces

European Parliament election preview: Romania’s EU elections will be a battleground for reformist forces

The 2019 European Parliament elections will be held on 23-26 May. Ahead of the elections, we will be previewing the contest in all 27 EU states (assuming the UK leaves in March). In the first article of the series, Bianca Toma and Alexandru Damian discuss the elections in Romania, which will offer an opportunity for reformist groups to put […]

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Enlargement and exit: The origins of Article 50

While it is sometimes compared to a federal superstate, the European Union is different from most federations in that it contains an exit clause: Article 50, which lays out the procedure under which the United Kingdom is currently seeking to withdraw from the EU. But how did Article 50 come to be? Based on a new study, Martijn Huysmans […]

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    The discredited economic vision at the root of France’s ‘gilets jaunes’ problem

The discredited economic vision at the root of France’s ‘gilets jaunes’ problem

The ‘gilets jaunes’ protest movement which began in France at the end of 2018 has become an outlet for French citizens to express their anger at rising costs of living. Alan Kirman writes that the movement is a reaction to measures that have hurt the poor while benefiting the wealthy and large firms.

At the end of the month of […]

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    Assessing the revival of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans

Assessing the revival of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans

Several efforts aimed at giving greater impetus to the EU enlargement process in the Western Balkans took place in 2018, but without securing substantive results. Anna Nadibaidze outlines some of the major challenges that remain for the process as the EU seeks to balance its aspirations for influence in the region against concerns over what future enlargement might mean […]

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Can Robert Biedroń save the Polish left?

The Polish left-wing politician Robert Biedroń is planning to launch a new political movement in February, ahead of parliamentary elections due to be held later this year. Aleks Szczerbiak explains that as Poland’s most popular and charismatic left-wing politician, Biedroń’s initiative stands a good chance of achieving short-term success. But the grouping’s longer-term prospects are much more questionable, and […]

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    Is Luigi Di Maio right about French policies in Africa? Paradoxes and dilemmas of Françafrique

Is Luigi Di Maio right about French policies in Africa? Paradoxes and dilemmas of Françafrique

Italian Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio has generated controversy in France by suggesting the country is preventing the economic development of Africa and thereby contributing to the flow of refugees into Europe. But how fair is this characterisation of French policies across the continent? Douglas Yates presents a detailed account of French involvement in Africa, noting that there […]

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    How the electoral success of radical right parties normalises public expressions of support for them

How the electoral success of radical right parties normalises public expressions of support for them

Support for radical right parties is often assumed to carry a degree of social stigma, which means that individuals are likely to privately support them but refrain from stating such support to others. But does this hold true once a party enters a national parliament? Drawing on a new study, Vicente Valentim illustrates that once a radical right party […]

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    Mapping the conflict between EU member states over reform of the Eurozone

Mapping the conflict between EU member states over reform of the Eurozone

The Eurozone crisis prompted extensive reform efforts, but what kind of conflict existed among EU member states during the negotiations of these reforms? Using newly collected data on member states’ positions during the negotiations, Fabio Wasserfallen and Thomas Lehner show that states were divided along one distinct conflict structure: the conflict between advocates of fiscal transfer versus fiscal discipline. […]

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An assassination in Poland: Charity and political hate

On 13 January, Paweł Adamowicz, the Mayor of Gdańsk, was fatally stabbed during a charity event. Helena Chmielewska-Szlajfer writes that while the attacker reportedly had a history of mental illness, the reaction to the murder has uncovered deep political divisions that now exist in Polish society.

Paweł Adamowicz, the Mayor of Gdańsk, was fatally stabbed on Sunday while standing on […]

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    New tricks for an old hand: Getting Brexit through Parliament

New tricks for an old hand: Getting Brexit through Parliament

Theresa May’s government won a confidence vote on Wednesday, 24 hours after the Prime Minister’s plan for Brexit was rejected. Benjamin Martill and Leo von Bülow-Quirk argue that amidst the confusion that now hangs over the process, there are three avenues available: to make piecemeal modifications to the initial Brexit agreement in the hope of winning parliamentary support, to […]

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The slow death of Hungarian popular sovereignty

Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, is often accused of promoting a form of ‘illiberal democracy’, where governance is rooted in the popular support of a majority of the country’s citizens, but without a strong guarantee of minority rights and the rule of law. Lise Esther Herman argues that this criticism, which has been put forward by many of Orbán’s […]

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    Strengthening the rule of law in the Western Balkans: Why should the EU care?

Strengthening the rule of law in the Western Balkans: Why should the EU care?

One of the main conditions set by the EU for aspiring members in the Western Balkans is to strengthen the rule of law, but the success of these efforts has so far been relatively limited. Drawing on a new study, Tena Prelec explains some of the major challenges that exist in the region and outlines why promoting the rule […]

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    How Karl Polanyi can help us understand the threat posed by populism

How Karl Polanyi can help us understand the threat posed by populism

Populist politicians frequently champion direct democracy, yet other actors view populists as a threat to the democratic system. Ben Margulies draws on the work of Karl Polanyi in attempting to resolve this contradiction. He explains that populists typically believe democracy should be a vehicle for the people’s will, but crucially the people may never have the chance to change […]

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    Breached or protected? The ‘principle’ of consent in Northern Ireland and the UK government’s Brexit proposals

Breached or protected? The ‘principle’ of consent in Northern Ireland and the UK government’s Brexit proposals

The UK government published a policy paper this week that attempts to counter unionist concerns about the Withdrawal Agreement and its potential impact on Northern Ireland’s place in the United Kingdom. Underpinning this paper is the government’s commitment to ‘maintain absolutely the principle of consent’. Katy Hayward and David Phinnemore explain the origins and significance of this concept in the contemporary politics of […]

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The gilets jaunes: The good, the bad and the ugly

The gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement in France currently has no affiliation with established political parties. As Anne Daguerre explains, this lack of a clear political platform has given rise to debates on the French left over whether the movement should be welcomed as a force for progressive politics or viewed with suspicion as an emanation of the populist […]

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Brexit: On being more or less semi-detached

In less than three months, the United Kingdom is set to leave the European Union. Martin Westlake writes that despite Brexit, internal and external forces are driving European states towards ever closer relations. The UK will remain an integral part of an ever-closer Europe, whatever the fine detail of its relations with the EU.

The European continent is covered by […]

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