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B. T.


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Articles by B. T.

Populist party supporters: Informed, uninformed or misinformed?

1 day ago

Supporters of populist parties are often portrayed as politically naïve or misinformed, but to what extent does this image reflect reality? Drawing on a new study, Stijn van Kessel, Javier Sajuria and Steven M. Van Hauwaert present evidence that populist party supporters are not less informed than supporters of other parties. However, supporters of right-wing populist parties had a greater tendency to give incorrect answers to political knowledge questions, suggesting there are key differences between the characteristics of left-wing and right-wing populist voters.
Extant research shows that supporters of populist radical left-wing and right-wing parties make conscious choices: they generally support these parties because they agree with their positions. Yet, populist party supporters are

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Next Generation EU (NGE): The Commission’s Covid-19 recovery package

2 days ago

The European Commission has proposed a €750 billion package of grants and loans to aid the EU’s recovery from Covid-19. Iain Begg explains that much will now depend on whether the proposal can secure the backing of the so called ‘Frugal Four’ of Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden.
‘Solidarity is back’, according to Manfred Weber (leader of the centre-right European People’s Party in the European Parliament) in his immediate response to the proposals announced on 27 May by Ursula von der Leyen for an ambitious recovery package, to be known as ‘Next Generation EU’ (NGE).
Her plan builds on the proposal put forward the previous week by France and Germany for a €500 billion recovery fund to provide grants to regions and sectors most severely affected by the crisis. The new

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Who pays for Covid-19? Assessing seven potential options

2 days ago

The Covid-19 pandemic has motivated huge levels of spending from governments across the world. But once the pandemic is over, how will these measures be paid for? Arvind Ashta assesses the feasibility of seven potential options.
While statistics on the daily number of infections and deaths caused by Covid-19 are available from many sources, there is absolute silence on the bill that is being prepared to finance all the emergency action. On 13 March, the EU provided its thoughts on coordinated economic measures and followed this up on 2 April and 22 April with further statements, all while pointing out that the EU’s budget is rather small. Elsewhere, India just announced that it would spend 266 billion dollars (10% of its GDP) on stimulus measures. All of this begs the question: where will

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As long as economic growth remains the EU’s main objective, it will not be well prepared for health threats

3 days ago

The Covid-19 outbreak has prompted a variety of proposals for improving the EU’s capacity to tackle future pandemics. Charlotte Godziewski argues that while there has been much discussion about technical reforms, there has been little attention paid to the role that economic and political ideologies have in shaping health outcomes. We cannot talk about better equipping EU states to face health threats without talking about the underlying norms guiding the EU’s actions.
Globalisation poses important public health challenges. Covid-19 is a case in point. The EU’s response to this crisis has been the object of vehement criticism. One of the steps to improvement suggested in a recent EUROPP article, is the creation of a strong, Europe wide public health authority. This, according to the

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Italian debt and Covid-19: How do financial markets diagnose Europe’s underlying condition?

4 days ago

What do financial markets make of the economic impact from the Covid-19 pandemic? Iain McMenamin, Michael Breen and Juan Muñoz-Portillo track how the markets have judged the risk of an Italian default since the start of the crisis. They write the market response appears to have been driven in part by the level of solidarity shown from other EU states.
One of Europe’s sickest political economies is sadly also one of the countries that is suffering most from the pandemic. Italy has a debt that is one-third larger than its economy; its economy has hardly grown in the era of Europe’s single currency; and its political elites have not come up with a credible plan to improve the country’s prospects. As the virus ripped through northern Italy and deaths escalated, investors quickly became more

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Book Review: Democracy Beyond Elections: Government Accountability in the Media Age by Gergana Dimova

6 days ago

In Democracy Beyond Elections: Government Accountability in the Media Age, Gergana Dimova examines the impact that the rise of the media age has had on government accountability, focusing on the cases of Germany, Bulgaria and Russia. This is an important and timely contribution to the revitalisation of democracy studies, writes Georges Kordas, and shows how accountability can be a tool for citizens but also wielded by those in power.
Democracy Beyond Elections: Government Accountability in the Media Age. Gergana Dimova. Palgrave. 2020.
Democracy and its attributes have been a growing topic since the beginning of the 1990s. Post-communist democratic transition offered researchers the chance to observe how new-born democracies could manage their institutions and responsibilities. Despite the

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The EU’s southern member states have set the stage for European debt mutualisation

9 days ago

The Covid-19 outbreak has led to renewed calls for debt mutualisation in the Eurozone. Luuk Molthof writes that while it seemed inconceivable member states would commit to genuine debt sharing prior to the crisis, the pandemic has proven to be a game-changer. He argues Italy and Spain have successfully portrayed northern member states as lacking in European solidarity, framing the adoption of joint debt instruments as the primary prerequisite for saving the European project.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Europe is not just confronted with a health crisis but also with an economic crisis of an unprecedented scale. During a video summit on 23 April, EU leaders agreed to a €540 billion rescue package and instructed the European Commission to draw up a proposal for a recovery fund to help

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How Covid-19 is deepening democratic backsliding and geopolitical competition in the Western Balkans

10 days ago

Several countries in the Western Balkans have responded to the Covid-19 outbreak with draconian measures that entail a further erosion of democracy, writes Natasha Wunsch. She argues the pandemic is shining a spotlight on the impact of geopolitical competition in the Western Balkans, where authoritarian forces are undermining the EU’s democracy promotion efforts.
The Western Balkans are facing dire economic and social consequences related to the Covid-19 outbreak, with the region’s weakened economies, underdeveloped healthcare systems and tense state-society relations struggling to cope with the consequences of extended lockdowns even as case numbers remain low. Yet it is the political impact of the Covid-19 crisis that is of greatest concern.
For the region’s authoritarian-minded leaders,

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Who said that Germans have no sense of irony?

11 days ago

On 5 May, Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled that the European Central Bank’s Public Asset Purchasing Programme could be incompatible with the German Constitution. Waltraud Schelkle writes there is a deep sense of irony in the ruling: the German Court questions the legal foundations of the ECB’s independence but is actually prevented from succeeding by the constitutional fortifications of the ECB’s independence on which the German government always insisted.
The ruling of the German Constitutional Court on the ECB’s bond purchasing programme on 5 May 2020 has been largely received with shock, not awe. Even inside Germany, senior judges expressed their ‘horror’ when contemplating the precedent that it sets. Even the usual critics have come to the rescue of the ECB’s policy mandate because

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Comparing European reactions to Covid-19: Why policy decisions must be informed by reliable and contextualised evidence

11 days ago

How meaningful, reliable and useful are the comparisons being made by the media and politicians of the impact of Covid-19 on different EU member states? Linda Hantrais examines how the value of comparisons for policymaking within the EU can be improved. She argues that analysis of information about the numbers of Covid-19 cases, deaths and policy measures should take account of the reasons for variations in national and regional policy responses, and their outcomes.
The media and politicians at EU and national levels use information about the numbers of cases and deaths from Covid-19 to construct league tables and to identify best policy practice in curbing the spread and severity of the pandemic. We know that variations in reported Covid-19 death rates may be attributable to differences

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Democracy experts should seek a central role in shaping the post-coronavirus order

12 days ago

The Covid-19 outbreak has substantially increased the presence of experts in national politics. As Sam van der Staak writes, however, experts on democracy have so far had relatively little involvement in government responses to the pandemic. He argues that once the crisis shifts beyond the immediate disaster-control phase, democracy experts should seek a central role in shaping what comes next.
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has catapulted previously unknown experts to the political centre stage. Virtually all western governments have formed expert bodies overnight to provide advice on emergency measures.
Britain’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), France’s Comité Scientifique COVID-19, and Italy’s Comitato tecnico scientifico (CTS) are already household names

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Book Review: Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football by Tobias Jones

13 days ago

In Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football, Tobias Jones immerses himself in the culture of Italian football ultras, exploring the rituals of different ultra groups, their infamous links with violence and contemporary far-right politics alongside the enduring left-wing identities of some ultras. Jones is an expert and sympathetic guide through this world, showing ultra culture to be as much about complex issues of belonging as it is about the love of the game, writes John Tomaney.
Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football. Tobias Jones. Head of Zeus. 2019.
In Ultra: The Underworld of Italian Football, Tobias Jones charts a way of life reviled by polite society. Although football hooliganism and ultra culture can be found in many societies, it takes a distinctive form in Italy. As a

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Europe as ideological resource: How far right parties can benefit from European integration

15 days ago

Far right parties typically oppose the European Union, yet European integration has paradoxically provided the far right with funding, visibility and a higher degree of credibility and respectability. Drawing on the case of the French Rassemblement National, Marta Lorimer explains how the EU may have inadvertently facilitated the success of some of its strongest critics.
Far right parties are strong critics of the European Union, however, they also benefit enormously from the process of European integration. The European Parliament elections’ low salience and proportional system of voting has made it easier for them to gain seats. As members of the European Parliament, they have had access to important financial resources. As MEPs, they have also had opportunities to build transnational

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Public demand for technocratic expertise rises in times of crisis. What does this mean for democracy?

16 days ago

Independent experts have played a prominent role in the responses of European governments to the Covid-19 outbreak. But while there appears to have been broad public support for the involvement of experts in policymaking during the crisis, are there potential implications for democracy? Drawing on a new book, Eri Bertsou presents five lessons learned from research on technocratic politics and the role of independent experts in democratic systems.
During this time of crisis, the role of independent experts has been at the centre of the political response in nations around the world. Governments have leaned on scientific expertise, such as the prominent role of Dr Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in the US response to the pandemic, or

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Can greater central bank accountability defuse the conflict between the Bundesverfassungsgericht and the European Central Bank?

17 days ago

Germany’s constitutional court recently ruled that asset purchases conducted by the European Central Bank could be incompatible with the German constitution. As Sebastian Diessner explains, the subsequent rift has prompted calls for greater accountability in ECB decision-making, potentially with representatives from Germany’s central bank, the Bundesbank, being obliged to explain ECB decisions in the Bundestag. He writes that while there should be no illusions that such a measure could defuse the conflict entirely, an honest debate about central bank accountability in Europe is long overdue.
The recent ruling of the German federal constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) with regard to asset purchases by the European Central Bank (ECB) has stunned even seasoned observers of European

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The Airbus lesson: How new companies can be generated to aid Europe’s post-Covid reconstruction

17 days ago

Covid-19 has given rise to a heated debate within the EU over debt mutualisation. Drawing lessons from the creation of Airbus, Daniele Archibugi argues the EU would be better served by focusing on how member states could pool their resources to create new companies capable of competing in emerging sectors.
If the European Union is truly aiming at reconstruction, it would be better to quarrel less over the various forms of debt (be they the European Stability Mechanism or the Eurobonds) needed to increase liquidity, and instead think about investment plans.
More than half a century ago, Airbus started its business. The initiative came from the French and German governments, who subsequently managed to involve Britain and Spain as well. The purpose of the new venture was more than difficult:

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Why inflation is not lurking in the shadows

18 days ago

In a recent op-ed in the FT, economist Stephen Roach suggested a future of stagflation as a combined result of the increasing brittleness of supply chains and the pent-up consumer demand caused by the lockdown. But he is wrong, Bob Hancké suggests. The real world is considerably more complicated.
A few days ago, Stephen Roach, erstwhile of JP Morgan, author of several books on the world economy, and economist at Yale University, published a remarkable op-ed in the FT. He sketched a future of stagflation as a result of the increasing brittleness of supply chains that we discovered during and after the Covid-19 crisis and the pent-up consumer demand that the lockdown imposed. The moment, he suggested, that citizens are allowed to go shopping again as they did a few months ago, even a single

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VE Day and the Covid-19 outbreak: Two historical moments that have shaped the world

19 days ago

The 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) was marked on 8 May against the backdrop of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Effie G. H. Pedaliu writes that much like the end of the Second World War, Covid-19 will constitute a landmark moment, with future historians likely to draw a line between life before and life after the pandemic.
The difference between the commemorations for Victory in Europe Day in 1995 and 2020 could not be starker. The commemorative events in 1995 for the 50th anniversary of VE Day were a glorious affair. The Cold War had ended, 9/11 had not happened, Princess Diana was alive, the weather in London was warmer than the Mediterranean, Dame Vera Lynn sang ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ outside Buckingham Palace, nearly 15,000 veterans paraded, the Queen Mother wiped

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Book Review: The Oxford Handbook of Spanish Politics edited by Diego Muro and Ignacio Lago

20 days ago

The Oxford Handbook of Spanish Politics, comprising 41 chapters by renowned scholars and edited by Diego Muro and Ignacio Lago, makes a hugely valuable contribution to understandings of the country through its consistent analysis of contemporary Spanish politics and governance in a comparative European context, rather than in isolation. The veritable wealth of excellent material and analysis in the volume makes the handbook the most comprehensive and up-to-date account of Spanish politics available, writes Caroline Gray.
The Oxford Handbook of Spanish Politics. Diego Muro and Ignacio Lago (eds). Oxford University Press. 2020.
Following the transition to democracy of the late 1970s and early 1980s, Spain rapidly established itself as a consolidated democracy, albeit one which has come to

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How the EU can better protect the rule of law in its member states

22 days ago

The EU is in the process of adopting a new regulation to help protect the rule of law in member states. Drawing on the cases of Hungary and Poland, Nanette Neuwahl and Charles Kovacs argue that the proposed regulation would be a valuable addition, but that a somewhat revised litigation strategy of the European Commission could also help defend EU values.
Since 2010, the EU has been confronted with the question of what to do when a member state moves, through free elections and without coercion, towards authoritarian rule and systemic breaches of the very values underlying the EU. The root causes of this problem have been in the extension of the EU into Eastern Europe and in the history and culture of the new member states.
Eight Central European countries joined the EU in 2004, accepting

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What Ireland tells us about the politics of ‘places that don’t matter’

23 days ago

The Irish general election in February saw Sinn Féin win the highest share of the vote. John Tomaney and Niamh Moore-Cherry write that while Sinn Féin’s success captured the headlines, the election also underlined the extent to which geographical inequalities can be rapidly and unexpectedly politicised. With Covid-19 reinforcing inequalities between Irish regions, there is now a growing need for power to be dispersed to local and regional levels.
The 2020 Irish general election was narrated as Ireland’s populist moment, fracturing the governing duopoly of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, disorienting the entire political system. The results have been viewed as an expression of a new class politics, but they also configure a new political geography in Ireland.
According to Andrés Rodríguez-Pose,

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Covid-19: Should EU states share the economic burden?

24 days ago

The Italian economy has been left in a particularly vulnerable position by the Covid-19 outbreak. Jasper Doomen examines how the EU could attempt to share the economic burden of the crisis. He argues that while there are grounds for some form of solidarity, attempts to bring the member states together could equally end up pushing them further apart.
One of the European countries that has been hardest hit by the spread of Covid-19 is Italy. Alongside the healthcare problems, the outbreak has had a dire effect on the country’s economy, as a result of which it has appealed to other EU member states, stressing the need for solidarity between them. How should the European Union respond to such an appeal?
Solidarity between the member states is an important principle in EU law (Treaty on the

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Poland’s presidential election: Will the government collapse?

25 days ago

Poland’s government is in danger of losing its parliamentary majority following a bitter dispute over the timing of the country’s presidential election, writes Aleks Szczerbiak. But although the decomposition of the governing camp could herald a major political re-alignment, it is difficult to see a stable alternative administration emerging in the current parliament.
The Polish government, led by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, is facing its biggest political crisis since it came to office in autumn 2015, precipitated by a dispute over whether the forthcoming presidential election should go ahead in spite of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The election was originally scheduled for 10 May, with a second round run-off a fortnight later between the two leading candidates if

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Preparing for the roll-back of Covid-19 emergency legislation: What needs to be done?

26 days ago

The Covid-19 pandemic has led many countries across the world to pass emergency legislation, but is there a danger that this legislation could lead to a permanent loss of civil liberties? Franklin De Vrieze explains what has to be done to prepare for the roll-back of these measures.
In response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, over 100 countries have passed emergency laws or declared states of emergency. By curtailing civil liberties on a massive scale, there is a serious risk of creating an unintentional wave of authoritarianism.
While confronting the coronavirus crisis will take extreme measures, protecting democratic space and civil liberties requires extreme caution. A key risk today is that emergency measures will not be repealed in good time, nor implemented in a proportionate

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Book Review: Sharing the Burden: The Armenian Question, Humanitarian Intervention and Anglo-American Visions of Global Order by Charlie Laderman

27 days ago

On 24 April each year, many communities across the world come together to commemorate the mass killing of the Armenian people of the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Grant Golub reviews Sharing the Burden: The Armenian Question, Humanitarian Intervention and Anglo-American Visions of Global Order, in which Charlie Laderman shows how the US and British responses to the atrocities were intimately tied up with the changing role of the United States in the international order. 
Sharing the Burden: The Armenian Question, Humanitarian Intervention and Anglo-American Visions of Global Order. Charlie Laderman. Oxford University Press. 2019.
In the spring of 2011, President Barack Obama was considering whether the United States should join a NATO military intervention in Libya. An armed uprising

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New survey evidence: A majority of the British public supports giving permanent residency to frontline health workers

29 days ago

There have been calls for frontline health workers in the UK to be given permanent residency to acknowledge their role in the fight against Covid-19. Mollie Gerver, Patrick Lown and Dominik Duell present evidence from a new survey which indicates a majority of the British public would support this proposal.
The spread of Covid-19 has led to increasing strains on health services, and an increasing need for health workers. According to a House of Commons report from last year, “overall, 13.1% of NHS staff say that their nationality is not British.” While 65,000 (5.5%) of these are EU nationals who currently have leave to remain and work in the UK, many of the remaining health workers are immigrants with only a temporary right to remain.
To prevent any loss of workers during the pandemic due

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An institutional mismatch: Why ‘taking back control’ proved so appealing in the Brexit debate

April 30, 2020

‘Taking back control’ was a key element of the Leave campaign’s case for Brexit, but why did the principle find such resonance among the British public? Drawing on a new study, Susanne K Schmidt writes that it is important to recognise some core features of the UK polity that contrast with the EU’s political system. These institutional differences formed the foundations for Britain’s decision to leave.
The political process leading to the Leave vote in the UK’s EU referendum was fraught with contingencies. If David Cameron had not promised a referendum, if the tabloids had not been so nationalistic, or if austerity measures had not hit social spending to the extent they did, the picture today could be very different. Many analyses have focused on political preference formation and the

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Moral dilemmas in times of crisis: Could Covid-19 lead to a more compassionate form of politics?

April 29, 2020

The Covid-19 outbreak has pushed European healthcare systems to their limits. Those at the frontlines have been forced to make grim decisions about which patients merit treatment and which will have to be turned away. Katerina Glyniadaki asks whether the moral challenges posed by the crisis may ultimately foster a greater sense of compassion and solidarity in European politics.
In the midst of the worst global pandemic in recent history, an increasing number of Covid-19 patients across the world do not have access to the critical care they need. Despite the rapid rise in demand, the available essential healthcare services remain finite. Even in countries with highly developed healthcare systems, such as Italy, Spain or the US, there have been dire shortages in intensive care beds, oxygen

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The other pandemic: How global leaders have failed to counter the spread of fake news and conspiracy theories about Covid-19

April 28, 2020

The spread of fake news and conspiracy theories has been a key concern during the Covid-19 outbreak. Drawing on survey research in Romania, Alina Bârgăoanu and Loredana Radu explain that the inability of global leaders to tackle the spread of false narratives illustrates the shift toward a so called ‘G-Zero world’, in which there is a growing vacuum in global governance.
The Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented in terms of its quasi-simultaneous global reach. Awareness as to the global reach of health and economic problems is building at a faster or slower pace. Less articulated is the awareness that there is a global contagion of rumours, conspiracies, fake news and other deadly narratives.
We argue that this global information contagion is unprecedented, too, and reflects a failure of

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Brexit: Simply an omnishambles or a major policy fiasco?

April 28, 2020

The UK’s referendum on EU membership in 2016 set off a chain of political events that can best be described as an ‘omnishambles’. But how did the country end up at this point, and what explains the approach pursued to implement Brexit following the result? Jeremy Richardson and Berthold Rittberger present their own overview of the Brexit saga, distinguishing between the idiosyncratic processes and the more general trends that led to the referendum and its aftermath.
Political satire and the reality of politics have been hand in glove in Britain for a long period. For example, the political satire TV series, The Thick of It, captured perfectly the serial chaos of elite politics in Britain. One 2009 episode featured the Minister for the (fictional) Department of Social Affairs and

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