EU institutions, government and politics and enlargement

In the European Parliament, radical-right MEPs focus more on giving speeches than doing work that has direct policy impact.

It has been widely predicted that Eurosceptic and far-right parties will be relatively successful in 2014’s European Parliamentary elections. But how do those that are present currently participate in the Parliament? Drawing on a study of MEPs, Marley Morris finds that while radical-right members are often the least likely to draft reports, they are the most likely to give speeches […]

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The rise of redistributive politics in the EU is setting limits on the completion of Economic and Monetary Union

One of the key areas of controversy in responses to the Eurozone crisis has been the notion of transferring financial resources from prosperous economies in the North to struggling economies in the South. Ramūnas Vilpišauskas argues that this issue has effectively put redistributive politics at the forefront of debates over the Eurozone crisis. One of the consequences of this development […]

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Book Review: The Passage to Europe

Given the current economic crisis, and questions about the legitimacy of the European Union, what is the future of European integration? As the EU faces its most serious economic and political test, Luuk Van Middelaar’s account of its history asks us to reconsider the forces that underpin the EU, hold it together and drive it forward. Renaud Thillaye finds that […]

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The problems faced by Greece’s public sector are such that the sudden closure of ERT may have been the least bad option.

Last week, with almost no warning, the Greek government closed the national broadcaster, ERT, putting over 2,700 jobs at risk. Kevin Featherstone argues that while the way the announcement was made raised justifiable concerns, the central objective should be broadly welcomed. The case typifies the problems in achieving serious public sector reform: indeed, it may be the only way to […]

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Designing a new UK-EU relationship and how it could be achieved

The Eurozone crisis has brought the EU’s division into two types of membership into relief, with the euro member states moving closer towards deeper fiscal and economic union, and the others, such as the UK, who remain in the single market with no wish to join the Eurozone, at risk of becoming ‘second class’ states. Damian Chalmers, Simon Hix and […]

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Decisions made by consensus in the Council of the European Union emerge from the coalition-building behaviour of individual governments.

Despite the use of qualified majority voting, a high percentage of decisions in the Council of the European Union are still made by consensus. Frank Häge outlines a model which can potentially explain this phenomenon. He argues that the high numbers of decisions made by consensus are in fact an unintended by-product of coalition building within the Council: states band […]

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Croatia should draw on universities to build its capacity for evaluating the use of EU funds.

Croatia is due to become the 28th member state of the European Union on the 1st of July. Ahead of the country’s accession, Simona Milio writes on efforts to build Croatia’s capacity for evaluating its use of EU funds. All EU member states that receive Cohesion Policy funding are required to have a strong evaluation system in place, yet the […]

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    Why the 2014 European Parliament elections will be about more than protest votes

Why the 2014 European Parliament elections will be about more than protest votes

European Parliamentary elections are due to be held in May 2014. Simon Hix and Christophe Crombez look ahead to the campaign, noting that the elections will not only provide an opportunity for Europe’s citizens to express their opinions over the handling of the Eurozone crisis, but will also allow them to take an active role in the selection of the […]

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European broadsheets pay regular attention to the European Parliament between EU elections

The European Parliament is often accused of being distant from EU citizens, both geographically, and in its decision making. Many have also accused it of lacking newsworthiness, but is this actually the case? Katjana Gattermann has closely examined broadsheet news coverage of the European Parliament. She finds that, while not independent from the domestic arena, there is a steady and […]

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Leaving the EU will not only fail to secure what Eurosceptics desire but would likely make the UK’s position worse

Seamus Nevin argues that the UK would still be strongly influenced by the EU even if it were to leave, contrary to what many Eurosceptics imagine. Moreover, it would find itself with much less power on the outside, which is important when considering that the EU is far from perfect and in need of reform. To ensure a bright future, the UK must be at the […]

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In the wake of the EU brokered agreement, Serbs in Northern Kosovo are more likely to pursue pragmatic co-existence with Pristina

On 19 April, the EU brokered a deal to normalise relations between Serbia and Kosovo. This deal has been opposed by leaders in the majority Serb area of Northern Kosovo, but this view may not be shared by the population, argues Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik. She writes that the potential for EU membership and a pragmatic coexistence with Kosovo means that North […]

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The EU’s fading influence over Turkey is weakening the country’s democratic reform processes.

The EU and Turkey have been in dialogue over the country’s potential accession since the 1980s. As Firat Cengiz notes, however, the EU’s influence has diminished following the accession of Cyprus in 2004, and the on-going Eurozone crisis. She argues that fading EU influence is weakening current reform processes aimed at drafting a new constitution and recognising the cultural and […]

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Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of the European Union

The EU is becoming increasingly important and present in the lives of Europeans, at the same time as myths and misunderstandings about the institution and its role are on the rise. With contributions from over sixty specialists, Giulia Pastorella finds the Oxford Handbook of the European Union to be a key survey of scholarly work on the ‘unidentified political object’ […]

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European integration constrains party competition in the member states

Kyriaki Nanou and Han Dorussen describe their research into the effects of European integration on electoral competition in the EU’s member states. Their analysis considers how parties have changed their positions over time in nine distinct policy domains with varying degrees of regulation at the European level. They find that the distance between party policy positions has decreased in those […]

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The EU should consider a strategic pause with Moscow to give it time to strengthen its own position.

In the two decades since the end of the Cold War, Europeans and the EU have struggled to find common ground in their relations with Russia, and generally failed in attempts to promote modernisation. Jana Kobzova argues that it is time for the EU to re-assess its relations with Russia. Instead of hesitating between engagement and containment of its biggest […]

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A wider debate on how Europe shapes British policy making is now needed.

The UK’s forty-year relationship with the EU and its predecessors has seen a significant integration of EU policies into the UK’s institutional culture. Janice Morphet looks at how the UK has implemented EU legislation in recent decades, finding that there has been little public discussion of their potential implications. She argues that it may now be time to promote a […]

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Poor economic performance may leave the UK with no choice but to join the euro if it wishes to remain in the EU.

In light of the Eurozone crisis, many commentators in the UK maintain that the Eurozone and the EU are doomed. Recalling the UK’s desire to remain apart from embryonic attempts towards European integration in the 1950s, Tim Bale argues that, should the euro survive, the UK may be unable to resist further integration. With a relatively poor outlook for growth […]

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Debates over the EU’s Working Time Directive epitomise the conflict between neo-liberal and centre-left visions of Europe.

The EU’s Working Time Directive has long been an object of controversy, with politicians in the United Kingdom in particular voicing concerns over its potential impact on British workers. Dionyssis G. Dimitrakopoulos assesses the implementation of the directive in the UK, arguing that it exemplifies wider debates over neo-liberal and centre-left visions of Europe. The renewed attention to the European […]

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    The ‘Norwegian model’ would be a poor alternative to EU membership for the UK

The ‘Norwegian model’ would be a poor alternative to EU membership for the UK

Norway is not a member of the European Union, but participates in the single market and other areas of the integration process as a member of the European Economic Area. Erna Solberg, the Prime Minister of Norway, outlines the main elements of the Norwegian system and the lessons it may hold for other European countries. She argues that while Norway’s […]

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Margaret Thatcher maintained a difficult relationship with Europe, but she was far from a figurehead for Euroscepticism.

The funeral of Margaret Thatcher, the former British Prime Minister, is due to be held in London today. Reassessing her impact on Britain’s relationship with Europe, Iain Begg argues that she maintained a far more nuanced position on Europe than is commonly recognised. The image of a staunchly Eurosceptic Prime Minister is at odds with her support for the single […]

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