EU Politics

Is politics becoming one of the ECB’s biggest problems?

An unusually high number of members (10 out of 25) of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council will be replaced by the end of this year. But could the rise of Eurosceptic parties across Europe have an impact on these appointments? Corrado Macchiarelli and Mara Monti explain that keeping the ECB free from political interference may now constitute one […]

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    What Brexit has taught Italy about its own prospects of leaving the EU

What Brexit has taught Italy about its own prospects of leaving the EU

If other countries were to follow the UK in voting to leave the EU, then Italy would be one of the most likely candidates. But what impact has Brexit had on Italian public opinion? Drawing on findings from a new survey, Gianluca Piccolino, Davide Angelucci and Pierangelo Isernia find that among supporters of the Five Star Movement/League government, Brexit […]

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    Book Review: The Left Case Against the EU by Costas Lapavitsas

Book Review: The Left Case Against the EU by Costas Lapavitsas

In The Left Case Against the EU, Costas Lapavitsas makes the case that the European Union is beyond left-wing reform, as evidenced by the EU’s response to the Eurozone crisis; left-wing contestation must instead be undertaken locally. While more convinced by Lapavitsas’s appraisal of the EU than his proposals for reclaiming the national political space, David Hollanders nonetheless finds this an expedient, informed and lucid […]

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Five key trends from the 2019 European Parliament elections

European Parliament elections were once famously characterised as ‘second order national elections’, but were the 2019 elections different? Felix Wiebrecht and James F. Downes write that although the results were shaped by the distinct features present in each of the 28 states taking part, there were at least five key trends visible across Europe.

Elections to the European Parliament have […]

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    Seven key stories about the most ‘European’ EP election ever

Seven key stories about the most ‘European’ EP election ever

The 2019 European Parliament elections were like no other: like no other European Parliament election before, and like no other democratic exercise in the world. In fact, it is probably the first time that we may call it a singular European Parliament election because so many of the trends that shaped it are pan-European, write Michael Bruter and Sarah Harrison, […]

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    The battle for Europe’s future: The next European Parliament will be more fragmented independently of Brexit

The battle for Europe’s future: The next European Parliament will be more fragmented independently of Brexit

This week’s European Parliament elections are a battle for Europe’s future. In this blog, Thierry Chopin, Nicolò Fraccaroli, Nils Hernborg and Jean-Francois Jamet examine the evolution of political cleavages ahead of the vote and the potential impact of Brexit on their result. They argue the next European Parliament will be more fragmented independently of Brexit.

Political cleavages – that is, the key dividing […]

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    Ideology in times of crisis: Is the left-right divide still relevant in the European Parliament?

Ideology in times of crisis: Is the left-right divide still relevant in the European Parliament?

The composition of the European Parliament is often discussed with reference to the balance of power between parties on the left and right of the political spectrum. But given the rise of new parties that define their ideology based on their support for or opposition to European integration, is this left-right divide still relevant? Drawing on a new study, […]

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    Book review: Le nouvel empire: L’Europe du vingt et unième siècle [The New Empire: Europe of the 21st Century] by Bruno Le Maire

Book review: Le nouvel empire: L’Europe du vingt et unième siècle [The New Empire: Europe of the 21st Century] by Bruno Le Maire

In Le nouvel empire: L’Europe du vingt et unième siècle, Bruno Le Maire offers his take on the future of Europe. Published shortly before this week’s European Parliament elections, the book sets out a case for constructing European political unity not through the creation of a federal Europe, but over time, on the foundation of national sovereignties. Gijs de […]

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    ‘Gendering’ the EU budget? Why gender equality should play a greater role in EU budget negotiations

‘Gendering’ the EU budget? Why gender equality should play a greater role in EU budget negotiations

Coverage of EU budget negotiations typically focuses on the contributions of individual member states and the trade-offs required to secure an agreement. But as Firat Cengiz writes, EU budget decisions can also significantly affect structural inequalities facing EU citizens. There is a clear case for making the issue of gender equality a more visible part of the EU budgetary […]

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    Green principled pragmatism: How the EU combines normative and consequentialist motivations in its climate policy

Green principled pragmatism: How the EU combines normative and consequentialist motivations in its climate policy

The EU is often viewed as a key global actor in efforts to tackle climate change, but are the EU’s actions motivated by altruistic concerns for the environment or rather by pragmatic political and economic motivations? Franziskus von Lucke writes that while EU climate policy does contain some clear normative elements, there have also been tangible political and economic […]

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    European Parliament election projections may be underestimating support for Eurosceptic and Green parties

European Parliament election projections may be underestimating support for Eurosceptic and Green parties

Predicting the outcome of European Parliament elections is an exceptionally difficult task, not only because the vote covers multiple countries, but also because voters may vote differently to the way they would in national elections. Nicolò Fraccaroli and Nils Hernborg present a model that can compensate for deficiencies in European election polling, noting that current election projections could be […]

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    The future of ‘Eurorealism’: Prospects for the European Conservatives and Reformists after the May 2019 elections

The future of ‘Eurorealism’: Prospects for the European Conservatives and Reformists after the May 2019 elections

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) accounted for the third largest group of MEPs in the 2014-19 European Parliament. But the long-term prospects for the ECR are unclear, not least because its largest member – the UK’s Conservative Party – will no longer be present following Brexit. Martin Steven explains that despite facing stiff competition from a new group […]

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    How the EU can prevent an East-West divide developing between its members

How the EU can prevent an East-West divide developing between its members

The EU member states of Central and Eastern Europe find themselves at a crossroads. As Alina Bârgăoanu and Clara Volintiru write, strategic realignments by the EU to cope with various geopolitical challenges could carry the risk of an East-West divide developing between EU states. They argue that any reform efforts pursued at the EU level must be as inclusive […]

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    EU government negotiations and political ‘signals’ to national parliaments

EU government negotiations and political ‘signals’ to national parliaments

When national governments negotiate EU policies, are they influenced by the actions of their national parliaments back home? Drawing on a new study, Sara Hagemann, Stefanie Bailer and Alexander Herzog demonstrate that they are: when national parliaments have formal powers to oversee and restrict the positions of governments, there are significantly higher numbers of opposing votes and formal policy […]

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    Why non-performing loans are still putting the European Banking Union at risk

Why non-performing loans are still putting the European Banking Union at risk

Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratios in countries like Italy, Portugal and Spain have started to decrease sharply, but as Corrado Macchiarelli, Renato Giacon, Andromachi Georgosouli and Mara Monti write, this has received relatively little media attention in comparison to previous fears over the accumulation of NPLs in the EU. They explain that despite the lack of headlines about NPLs, one […]

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    Why more needs to be done to help weaker organisations bid for EU funding

Why more needs to be done to help weaker organisations bid for EU funding

The EU is considered to be the world’s largest public donor and it has claimed to use public funds to promote the participation of organised interests in public policy. Drawing on a new study, Michele Crepaz and Marcel Hanegraaff illustrate that despite claims of balance in how funding is distributed, organisations with larger resources and more experience of making […]

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    Discretion and agency loss: What factors shape the selection of European Parliament rapporteurs?

Discretion and agency loss: What factors shape the selection of European Parliament rapporteurs?

Party group coordinators in the European Parliament are responsible for selecting ‘rapporteurs’, who have an important role in parliamentary committees. But how do coordinators make these decisions? Presenting findings from a new study, Lukas Obholzer, Steffen Hurka and Michael Kaeding illustrate that coordinators are more likely to select like-minded individuals as rapporteurs rather than MEPs who reflect the views […]

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    Beyond Operation Sophia: What role for the military in migration policy?

Beyond Operation Sophia: What role for the military in migration policy?

As a response to the migration crisis in 2015, the EU established ‘Operation Sophia’, a naval mission intended to disrupt established human smuggling networks in the Mediterranean. The mandate for Operation Sophia is due to expire at the end of this month, yet with divisions among member states, there is no agreement on whether it will be extended. Julia […]

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    What the rise of radical nationalism tells us about the debate between postfunctionalism and liberal intergovernmentalism

What the rise of radical nationalism tells us about the debate between postfunctionalism and liberal intergovernmentalism

Postfunctionalism and liberal intergovernmentalism are considered to be two of the ‘grand theories’ of European integration. In a recent article, Andrew Moravcsik, who developed the liberal intergovernmentalist model in the 1990s, has critiqued postfunctionalism, arguing that the politicisation of European integration has little effect on policy outcomes. Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks write that the rise of radical nationalism […]

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    Lost in transmission: Why few interest groups have the capacity to properly link citizens with EU policymakers

Lost in transmission: Why few interest groups have the capacity to properly link citizens with EU policymakers

Interest groups can potentially help alleviate the EU’s democratic deficit by acting as a ‘transmission belt’ between citizens and EU policymakers. However, as Adrià Albareda demonstrates, many of the interest groups active at the EU level lack the organisational capacity and member involvement to perform this function in practice.

The European Union has a long standing democratic deficit problem due […]

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