EU Politics

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    Does differentiated integration improve the democratic legitimacy of the European Union? Evidence from the 2015 Danish opt-out referendum

Does differentiated integration improve the democratic legitimacy of the European Union? Evidence from the 2015 Danish opt-out referendum

The principle of differentiated integration, under which states participate in EU policies selectively, has become a core feature of the European Union. But little is known about the attitudes of citizens toward this form of integration. Drawing on a new study of Denmark’s 2015 referendum on the country’s opt-out from EU Justice and Home Affairs cooperation, Frank Schimmelfennig and […]

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    Business interest groups are the main customers of political consultancies in the EU

Business interest groups are the main customers of political consultancies in the EU

Political consultancies account for almost 10 per cent of the organisations present on the EU’s ‘Transparency Register’, which registers companies and individuals involved in lobbying the EU’s institutions. In a new study, Oliver Huwyler takes a closer look at the clients of these consultancies. He finds they are mostly firms and business associations, but that they rely on “hired […]

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    The essence of free movement is not that it brings Europeans together, but that it allows them to move apart

The essence of free movement is not that it brings Europeans together, but that it allows them to move apart

Free movement of persons is conventionally seen as a means to promote European integration. A closer look at its dynamics suggests it should be reassessed. Gareth Davies argues that a policy whose fundamental goal is to allow people to choose where to live is really a mechanism for social fragmentation, allowing Europeans to cluster into groups of the like-minded.

Charles […]

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    What would it take for Scotland to rejoin the EU as an independent state?

What would it take for Scotland to rejoin the EU as an independent state?

If Scotland voted for independence, it would probably apply to rejoin the EU. Despite its unique history, it would have to follow the normal path to EU accession, says Anthony Salamone. Scots are not keen on the euro and fisheries would be a flashpoint. While the Scottish government would be well-advised not to seek opt-outs of the kind the UK […]

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Brexit may make EU trade policy more progressive

The conventional wisdom amongst many commentators has been that Brexit will render EU trade policy more protectionist, as the Union will be losing one of its more liberal member states. Ferdi De Ville and Gabriel Siles-Brügge argue that this is not necessarily the case. Instead, they highlight how the EU could render its trade policies more progressive by insisting on more stringent ‘level […]

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    A question of trust: Intra-party delegation in the European Parliament

A question of trust: Intra-party delegation in the European Parliament

Much of the European Parliament’s work rests on negotiations within parliamentary committees, as well as other informal negotiations that take place behind closed doors. But what determines the selection of the MEPs who participate in these negotiations? Drawing on a new study, Fang-Yi Chiou, Bjørn Høyland and Silje Synnøve Lyder Hermansen illustrate that loyalty to the leadership of the […]

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    Why ‘greening’ the EU’s institutions remains far from straightforward

Why ‘greening’ the EU’s institutions remains far from straightforward

In response to the increasing salience of climate change, there have been renewed efforts to enhance the green credentials of the EU’s institutions. As Tobias Tesche writes, these efforts include proposals for the European Central Bank and European Investment Bank to take climate change into greater consideration when making decisions. Yet not all of these proposals have been well […]

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    There is a good reason for EU banks to hold their own country’s sovereign debt

There is a good reason for EU banks to hold their own country’s sovereign debt

The so called ‘moral suasion’ hypothesis indicates that governments may implicitly force their domestic banks to hold a larger chunk of government bonds when they experience stress. But is this reason to shift responsibilities from national to supranational institutions? Orkun Saka argues that there is in fact a good reason for EU banks to hold their own country’s sovereign […]

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Taking stock of Christine Lagarde’s challenges at the ECB

Lorenzo Codogno and Mara Monti argue that Christine Lagarde’s challenges at the helm of the ECB remain daunting, despite smooth sailing during her first press conference and a notably different communication style. Issues will emerge from different sources, not least the ECB’s problematic relationship with political actors, but she appears well equipped to address these as they arise.

Christine Lagarde’s […]

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    The proposed reform of the European Stability Mechanism must be postponed

The proposed reform of the European Stability Mechanism must be postponed

Eurozone finance ministers reached a preliminary agreement on a reform of the European Stability Mechanism in June, but failed to conclude it last week. The reform is now set to be discussed during the European Council meeting on 12-13 December. Shahin Vallée, Jérémie Cohen-Setton, Paul De Grauwe and Sebastian Dullien write that the proposal should not be endorsed in […]

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    Lessons from Article 50: Why exit clauses should include penalties for the seceding state

Lessons from Article 50: Why exit clauses should include penalties for the seceding state

If Article 50 enabled Brexit, does this mean that exit clauses make secessions from a political union more likely? Drawing on a new study, Martijn Huysmans and Christophe Crombez demonstrate that exit clauses which incorporate penalties for the seceding state can lead to more efficient exit decisions. They argue that further research into exit clauses might help enable efficient […]

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    The misuse of CAP funds in Central and Eastern Europe is a symptom of corruption, not a cause

The misuse of CAP funds in Central and Eastern Europe is a symptom of corruption, not a cause

An investigation published by the New York Times has raised concerns about the misuse of EU Common Agricultural Policy funding in several states in Central and Eastern Europe. Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni and Philip Schnattinger argue that although the report should be welcomed, it provided a misleading impression of the wider issues with land distribution in post-communist Europe. The misuse of […]

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    Is the legislative expansion of the European Union grinding to a halt?

Is the legislative expansion of the European Union grinding to a halt?

The amount of legislation a political system produces is an important indicator of its performance. Yet as Dimiter Toshkov explains, when it comes to the adoption of new legislation, the last European Parliament and Commission were among the least productive in recent history. He argues that a less political and more pragmatic Commission may be more successful in finding […]

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    Why differentiated integration and disintegration will shape post-Brexit Europe

Why differentiated integration and disintegration will shape post-Brexit Europe

Brexit promises not only to have a major impact on British politics, but also on the nature of European integration. Drawing on a new book, Jarle Trondal, Stefan Gänzle and Benjamin Leruth explain why processes of differentiated integration and disintegration could play a greater role in the EU following Brexit.

The United Kingdom is set to become the first member […]

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    Post-crisis banking in the euro area and Greece: How can a pan-European banking sector be created?

Post-crisis banking in the euro area and Greece: How can a pan-European banking sector be created?

Banks in the euro area have stabilised since the financial crisis, but as Eleni Louri-Dendrinou and Petros Migiakis write, their profitability has not improved to the degree experienced in other countries such as the Nordics or the United States. With the post-crisis macro-economic environment now deteriorating, they argue it is vital policymakers focus on the creation of a genuine […]

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    The fiscal stimulus that is not: Why there is no fiscal expansion in sight for the Eurozone

The fiscal stimulus that is not: Why there is no fiscal expansion in sight for the Eurozone

Euroland or Neverland? Lorenzo Codogno argues that constrained monetary policy calls for a greater role for fiscal policy in supporting the Eurozone economy, as former ECB President Mario Draghi recently suggested. Yet of the three potential routes that could be taken in this regard, none seem destined to be implemented. Leaving aside structural issues, which may well prolong current […]

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The danger of personalised power in the EU

The EU has frequently been caricatured as a ‘faceless bureaucracy’, where rules and procedures take precedence over powerful personalities. Yet this depersonalisation of power has recently been challenged by the emergence of some visible, decisive figures. Jonathan White argues that while this may be seen as a welcome improvement by some observers, when power is located in a small, […]

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    What to expect from Christine Lagarde’s presidency of the European Central Bank

What to expect from Christine Lagarde’s presidency of the European Central Bank

Christine Lagarde will officially take over from Mario Draghi as the new President of the European Central Bank today. Sebastian Diessner explains that while Lagarde is widely expected to pursue similar policies to her predecessor, the politics surrounding her presidency may play out very differently.

The Eurozone’s monetary policy has become more contested and politically salient than almost ever before. In […]

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    Conflict minerals policy shows the EU can and does learn from the mistakes of others

Conflict minerals policy shows the EU can and does learn from the mistakes of others

The EU’s Conflict Minerals Regulation, which will come into force in 2021, aims to restrict the trade of minerals that are mined via forced labour and used to finance armed conflicts. As Dirk-Jan Koch and Olga Burlyuk explain, the EU attempted to learn from the mistakes of earlier legislation in the United States that had sought to tackle the […]

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    Labour markets and optimum currency areas: Lessons for the euro area from China and the US

Labour markets and optimum currency areas: Lessons for the euro area from China and the US

As a large currency union, the euro area sits between the two extremes of the US – with its high labour mobility and fully fledged federal fiscal union – and China – with its low labour mobility and central fiscal capacity. Corrado Macchiarelli and Fotis Mitropoulos write that while the US is normally regarded as a benchmark for integration […]

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