European Neighbourhood

Turkey’s anti-abortion stance could risk its future relations with the EU.

Following Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent statements against abortion and the use of Caesarian sections, Gül Aldıkaçtı Marshall examines the politics of reproduction in the country. She argues that his statements reflect a desire to encourage population growth for economic reasons, but that many of the same aims could be met by increasing the participation of women in the labour […]

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The 50th anniversary of Algerian independence is an opportunity to take stock of the country’s recent past and the actions of its government

Algeria recently celebrated its 50th year as an independent state. As part of EUROPP’s coverage of the European neighbourhood, Natalya Vince assesses the current regime’s track record and questions whether the celebrations still hold any relevance for Algerians in 2012. Commemorating half a century of independence was always going to be more problematic for the Algerian state than the 2004 […]

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Diplomacy is the only real way forward in the Syrian conflict. Military intervention could make the situation even worse.

With the failure of the Annan Plan in Syria, the situation looks increasingly bleak. But Syria in 2012 is very different from Libya in 2011, and Western leaders should resist the temptation for military intervention writes Chris Brown. Instead of calling for intervention, leaders like François Hollande need to support the diplomacy of the Arab League and other non-Western countries. […]

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Turkey may now be on the road to joining the EU, but it also should question whether membership is still is in the country’s interest.

According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, 47 per cent of Turks view European Union (EU) membership as ‘desirable’. Now, the EU is signalling to Turkey that it is ready to build a new bridge leading towards the country’s accession.Edel Hughes assesses whether this new attempt is truly promising. Last month’s visit by European Union (EU) Commissioner for Enlargement Štefan Füle […]

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Five minutes with Azerbaijani political activist Yegana Hajiyeva: “Opposing the regime in Azerbaijan is difficult and dangerous.”

Last month, Azerbaijan hosted the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest. In an interview with EUROPP editors Chris Gilson and Julian Kirchherr, the Azerbaijani political activist Yegana Hajiyeva argues that the event has been a tool of change in Azerbaijan. However, many challenges remain before the country can become a democracy. Competition favourite Loreen triumphed for Sweden at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest […]

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In the upcoming elections, Egyptians have been given a non-choice between candidates that are both likely to uphold the neoliberal policies of the past two decades.

Nearly a third of all Egyptians live below the poverty line, and the unemployment rate is as high as 25%. As part of EUROPP’s coverage of the European neighbourhood, Jason Hickel argues that the Freedom and Justice Party is set to reproduce more of those policies which led to the country’s economic demise; Egypt’s deregulated market capitalism only benefits the […]

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The EU must actively engage with Azerbaijan and hold it to its commitments. Otherwise it risks being a tacit supporter of an autocracy.

The EU is now trying to put democracy back into the heart of its foreign policy. Yet, the EU and its member states seem to have greater concern for their own energy interests than engaging with Azerbaijan’s near-autocratic regime. Jana Kobzova, Leila Alieva and Dan Kennedy call for the EU to pursue a “hug and hold” strategy with Azerbaijan –close […]

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The 2012 Eurovision Song Contest can be a tool for change in Azerbaijan.

This month, Azerbaijan will host the Eurovision Song Contest. The Azerbaijani dissident blogger Emin Milli believes this is a great opportunity for the country: He calls upon the participants to voice public criticism of the Azerbaijan government’s human rights violations and to demand the release of political prisoners. This week, 42 countries will be participating in the 57th Eurovision song […]

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The road to professionalism for local Arab media after the Arab Spring will undoubtedly be very long and thorny.

The Arab Spring has transformed the scope of traditional media in North Africa and the Middle East. Fatima El-Issawi is leading an LSE research project on ‘Arab Revolutions: Media Revolutions’. As part of EUROPP’s coverage of the European neighbourhood, she explains how the project aims to find out what changes the Arab Spring might bring to the media in the Middle East. […]

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Book Review: An Island in Europe: The EU and the Transformation of Cyprus

Next month, Cyprus will undertake the Presidency of the Council of the European Union marking a momentous occasion in the country’s history. The unresolved dispute between Cyprus’s Greek and Turkish constituents, however, continues to overshadow progress made on other fronts. George Kyris values the timeliness and well-structured essays featured in An Island in Europe although he feels parts of the book would […]

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New elections in Greece seem increasingly likely, further damaging the country’s credibility

Sofia Vasilopoulou and Daphne Halikiopoulou reflect on last week’s elections in Greece, finding that voters have deserted the more centrist parties that have been popular in the past, in favour of parties on the extreme right and left. Divisions between parties over Greece’s bailout and austerity mean that the formation of a coalition government is unlikely; new elections in June are […]

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Five minutes with Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: “I think Europe should start voting online”

Estonia was the first nation in the world to hold legally binding general elections over the Internet. In an interview with EUROPP editors Chris Gilson and Julian Kirchherr Estonia’s Foreign Minister Urmas Paet recommends e-voting to other Member States of the European Union as well, arguing that it is convenient and increases turnout, particularly among the young. How would you […]

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Europe is struggling to play a meaningful role in the Syria crisis

What role can the European Union play in the Arab awakening? Julien Barnes-Dacey argues that the case of Bashar al-Assad shows that short of military intervention Europe maintains a limited ability to shape its Southern neighbourhood. For the time being it remains a fairly insignificant political actor in the unfolding Syria crisis. If the example of Libya served to bolster […]

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In their row over gas prices, Russia has no reason to make concessions to Ukraine. There is little to suggest that an end to the conflict is in sight.

Relations between Russia and Ukraine are at a new low after serious gas shortages in Europe this winter. Olga Shumylo-Tapiola argues that the interests of Ukrainian oligarchs will continue to put pressure on the government to demand lower prices, a demand that Russia is unlikely to acquiesce to. The only long term solution is for Ukraine to do more to reduce […]

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By building up the private sector and free market economies, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will help to foster democracy in the Arab Spring countries.

In his second article, Thomas Mirow, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) argues that one of the most pressing economic problems in the Arab Spring countries is the lack of an independent and competitive private sector. With cautious privatization and the building up of the free market economy, the EBRD hopes to foster democracy by building up […]

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Recent events in Europe and the Middle East have challenged the coalition government to revisit its engagement with Europe.

Despite initial fears of Euroscepticism on the continent after the election , the coalition government’s relationship with Europe has on the whole, been productive. Paul Adamson argues that while the government’s more recent policy of relatively pragmatic disengagement initially signaled an end to the ‘European honeymoon’, the fiscal crisis and events in Libya may yet see a stronger leadership role […]

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