Saturday , October 19 2019
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B. T.

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Articles by B. T.

A new take on ‘whatever it takes’?

2 days ago

Outgoing ECB President Mario Draghi recently expressed support for a closer fiscal union in the Eurozone, including cross-border fiscal transfers. As Iain Begg writes, these statements have reinvigorated the debate between advocates for risk sharing and proponents of risk reduction. Draghi’s predecessor, Jean-Claude Trichet, has defended Draghi and his proposals against criticism from other former central bankers, but resistance from several key member states remains daunting.
Is the macroeconomic policy mix in Europe attuned to the evolving needs of the economy? In what could be interpreted as a valedictory interview for the Financial Times, reported on 29 September 2019, Mario Draghi called on governments to make greater use of fiscal policy to stimulate the Eurozone economy and to work

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Five lessons from Kosovo’s parliamentary elections

2 days ago

Kosovo held parliamentary elections on 6 October. Blerim Vela outlines five key lessons that can be learned from the vote, which saw opposition parties make substantial gains.
Election Day in Kosovo went by without any major incidents that could harm the electoral process, despite a narrow race between Kosovo’s political parties. The preliminary results showed that voters had punished the established parties in power and given their support instead to two main opposition parties. This article identifies five key lessons from the elections which shed light on Kosovo’s political system and its future.
The results
Vetëvendosje (Self-determination) won most votes with just over 25 per cent in a head to head race with other parties, although its lead over the second party, the Democratic

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The US-China trade war: Risks and opportunities for the EU and the United Kingdom

3 days ago

The trade war between the United States and China has already had an impact on European economies. And as Robert Basedow explains, with the conflict centred on global economic and political leadership, it is unlikely to be resolved in the foreseeable future. This will create important challenges and opportunities for both the EU and the UK in the coming years, as geopolitical considerations and power politics come to play a greater role in the world economy.
The world’s two biggest economies – the United States and China – have been engulfed in a trade war for the last couple of years. Like most Western countries, the United States denounces China for stealing US intellectual property, criticises it for engaging in unfair competition on world markets through subsidies and State-Owned

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Is the resurgence of Europe’s far-right a cultural or an economic phenomenon?

4 days ago

There has been a spectacular rise in support for far-right parties in Europe over the last two decades, but what has driven this electoral success? Drawing on new research, Vasiliki Georgiadou, Lamprini Rori and Costas Roumanias demonstrate that different types of far-right party have benefitted from different factors: economic insecurity has helped increase support for ‘extremist right’ parties, while cultural factors have been associated with the growth of the ‘populist radical right’.
In a recent study, we find robust evidence that both economic insecurity and social backlashes are associated with rises in the vote shares for far-right parties in Europe. We distinguish between two different groups of parties, those that are part of the ‘extremist right’ (ER) and those that are part of

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Polish election recap: A victory for Law and Justice, but the party may find governing more difficult than before

4 days ago

Law and Justice won Poland’s election on 13 October, increasing their vote share and maintaining a majority in the lower house of the Polish parliament, the Sejm. However, as Aleksandra Sojka explains, the party may nevertheless find itself in a weaker position following the loss of its majority in the upper house, the Senat.
On 13 October, the dominant position of Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość – PiS) over Polish politics was put to the electoral test. The main choice was whether the right-wing nationalist government of PiS should continue their radical reform of the Polish state, its economy and politics. Their rise to power in 2015 marked a break with the previous period of liberal centre-right government by Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska – PO), which was in government

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Why the EU should open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia

5 days ago

The EU is expected to make a decision this week on whether to open accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. Frank Schimmelfennig and Ulrich Sedelmeier explain that EU enlargement policy has suffered from diminished credibility, both in terms of the EU’s promise of membership and its willingness to implement sanctions for non-compliance. The decision over Albania and North Macedonia offers a crucial opportunity to restore this credibility.
Just as a global Danish brewery recently changed its advertising slogan from ‘probably the best beer in the world’ to ‘probably not the best beer in the world’, the European Union’s enlargement policy seems to be undergoing a similar change. In the context of the eastern enlargements of the 2000s, enlargement was widely regarded as the

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What to expect from the 2019 Swiss federal elections

6 days ago

Switzerland will hold federal elections on 20 October. Sean Mueller explains that the vote will once again demonstrate the high level of stability that exists within the Swiss party system.
You may be forgiven for not knowing what happens on 20 October, for not much will in fact happen. The Swiss will vote for a new parliament, yes, and a few weeks later this new parliament will elect a new government. Given that neither parliament nor government can be dissolved or dismissed ahead of schedule, the members of both can stay in office until autumn 2023. But while such security of tenure could raise the stakes, the stability of the party system and other factors lower them. For neither is representative democracy the only game nor are parties the only players in town.
What’s at stake?

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Book Review: Why Not Default? The Political Economy of Sovereign Debt by Jerome Roos

7 days ago

In Why Not Default? The Political Economy of Sovereign Debt, Jerome Roos explores why sovereign defaults have been an undesirable last option by systemically unpacking the structural characteristics of the contemporary debt market. This is a fresh and painstakingly researched approach that raises vital questions for economists, political scientists and policymakers to address in the era of relatively low cost, yet mounting, sovereign debt, writes Aleksandr V. Gevorkyan.
Why Not Default? The Political Economy of Sovereign Debt. Jerome Roos. Princeton University Press. 2019.

In Why Not Default? The Political Economy of Sovereign Debt—a book based on his doctoral dissertation—Jerome Roos systematically unpacks the structural characteristics of the contemporary debt market. Leveraging

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Polish election preview: Are Law and Justice heading for a majority?

9 days ago

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party has a significant polling lead ahead of the country’s elections on Sunday. Ben Stanley previews the contest, writing that the polls indicate the party is currently on course to secure a comfortable majority. Should they fall short of a majority, however, there would be substantial uncertainty about what would come next.
To the long-term observer of Polish politics, it feels as if every election is routinely described as “the most important since 1989”. But this time, that cliche fits the occasion. Since 2015, the incumbent populist-nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party has pursued a path of reform that has taken Poland away from the model of liberal democracy that provided the normative point of orientation for the countries of Central and Eastern

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EU families feel more welcome in Scotland than they do in the rest of the UK

10 days ago

In the 2016 EU referendum, 62% of Scottish voters backed Remain, but do the experiences of EU families living in Scotland differ from those living elsewhere in the UK? Drawing on new research, Marie Godin and Nando Sigona find evidence that despite Brexit uncertainty, EU families living in Scotland feel they belong to the national community to a greater extent than in other parts of the UK.
‘I want to get out of this lunatic asylum’, says Sarah*, a Scottish mother of five married to a Danish citizen. To her, the Brexit vote felt like a personal rejection and a threat for her mixed-nationality family. Since the referendum, she has been longing for ‘one place in the world that would just say: “You can definitely stay here, all of you. There won’t be any problem”. That would really help’, she

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Five minutes with António Costa Pinto on Portugal’s election: “Left-wing voters preferred the renewal of the previous agreement to a single Socialist majority”

11 days ago

The Socialist Party (PS) finished in first place in Portugal’s election on 6 October, ahead of the Social Democratic Party (PSD). In an interview with EUROPP’s Managing Editor Stuart Brown, António Costa Pinto explains what the result means for Portugal, and how the country’s next government might differ from the incumbent left-wing administration that has been in power since 2015.
The Socialist Party won the election, but will the party be disappointed that it failed to win a majority in Parliament?
One of the consequences of the success of the parliamentary agreements between the Socialist Party of António Costa, the Left Bloc (BE) and the Communist Party (PCP), who have supported the PS Cabinet over the last four years, is that this political alliance has changed the attitudes of the

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Who will win the Polish election?

12 days ago

It is almost certain that Law and Justice will emerge from Poland’s parliamentary election this Sunday as the largest grouping, but far from clear if it will retain its overall majority, writes Aleks Szczerbiak. If the governing party secures a second term, it will entrench and push ahead with its reform programme, while any alternative coalition government is likely to be weak and unstable.
On 13 October, Poland will hold a parliamentary election which is likely to be one of the most important and consequential since the collapse of communism in 1989. During the last four years, the current government, led by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, has come under heavy fire from its political opponents for allegedly undermining democracy and the rule of law in its approach to the

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A not so silent revolution: The new power of old divides in European politics

13 days ago

The traditional left-right divide which shaped political competition across Europe in the post-war period is increasingly being supplanted by new patterns of competition. Drawing on the experience of the 2019 European Parliament elections, Anja Durovic, Caterina Froio, Gilles Ivaldi, Sarah de Lange, Nonna Mayer and Jan Rovny explain that one of the more interesting developments is the way that old divides have taken on new meaning in European politics. Urban-rural, education and gender divisions are now key elements in the split between urban cosmopolitanism, represented by Green or Liberal parties, and more peripherally concentrated nativist traditionalism, represented by the radical right.
After the 2019 European Parliament elections, many observers breathed a sigh of relief. Turnout

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Book Review: Democracy and Prosperity: Reinventing Capitalism through a Turbulent Century by Torben Iversen and David Soskice

14 days ago

In Democracy and Prosperity: Reinventing Capitalism through a Turbulent Century, Torben Iversen and David Soskice add to current debates concerning the relationship between democracy and capitalism by arguing that they mutually support each other and enable resilience through turbulence and crisis. This is a welcome contribution to scholarship exploring the ‘crisis of democratic capitalism’, writes M Kerem Coban, and offers a unique and provocative framework that will be much discussed in the years to come. 
Democracy and Prosperity: Reinventing Capitalism through a Turbulent Century. Torben Iversen and David Soskice. Princeton University Press. 2019.

Is democracy compatible with (advanced) capitalism? And how has (advanced) democracy maintained resilience? In Democracy and Prosperity:

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Lessons from pre-Brexit Britain: What makes for effective norm advocacy in the EU’s international cooperation policies?

16 days ago

The next decade will see renewed efforts from the EU to address a number of pressing global trends by strengthening international partnerships. Yet the EU will also be faced with the challenge of building cooperation within Europe in the aftermath of Brexit. Sebastian Steingass examines British participation in EU norm advocacy in international development cooperation prior to the Brexit referendum. He writes that Britain’s role in shaping the EU’s aid and international development policies exposes overlooked channels of norm advocacy and contestation in the EU more generally.
As resentment between Britain and the rest of the EU dominates the debate in the context of Brexit, it is easily overlooked that the relationship between Britain and the EU has been a fruitful one. Despite the

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How the European Union’s Court of Justice may end up having the last word over a hard Brexit

17 days ago

If the UK fails to secure a Brexit deal with the EU by the end of this month, then it is obliged under the so-called Benn Act to request an extension to the process. But what if the government manages to bypass the Benn Act and take the country out of the EU without a deal? Robert Basedow explains that in this scenario it would likely fall upon the EU’s Court of Justice to rule on the legality of the UK’s departure. A hard Brexit that breaches the British constitution would equally breach Article 50 TEU and be void under European law.
The British government and the European Union seem unlikely to agree on a modified withdrawal agreement to ensure an orderly exit of the United Kingdom from the EU on 31 October. Despite its rhetoric and new proposals, the current British government appears

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Whatever happened to the Westminster Model? The ‘Italianisation’ of British politics

18 days ago

The UK was once viewed by political scientists as embodying a distinct majoritarian form of politics – the ‘Westminster Model’ – that stood in contrast to the ‘consensus’ democracies found elsewhere in Europe. Several of the countries in the latter group, such as Italy, were often assumed to be inherently prone to instability in comparison to the UK. Yet as Martin J. Bull explains, politics in Westminster now has some striking similarities with the Italian approach that once invited scorn from British observers.
In an interview with the Radio 4 Today programme on 26 September, veteran Conservative politician, Nicholas Soames (who recently had had the whip withdrawn for voting against the legislation of the government of Boris Johnson) decried both the failure to vote through a Brexit deal

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Why is Poland’s Law and Justice party still so popular?

19 days ago

Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party has a lead in the polls ahead of the country’s parliamentary election on 13 October. Aleks Szczerbiak writes that despite intense domestic and international criticism, the party remains popular because it is trusted on the socio-economic issues that voters care most about.
Poland’s parliamentary election on 13 October is likely to be one of the most important and consequential since the collapse of communism in 1989. During the last four years, the current government, led by the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, has come under heavy fire from its political opponents for allegedly undermining democracy and the rule of law in its approach to the judiciary, media, public appointments and civic rights.
It has also been in an ongoing conflict with the

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Christine Lagarde is not a progressive choice for ECB president

19 days ago

Christine Lagarde, the former Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, is expected to take over from Mario Draghi as the next President of the European Central Bank. David Hollanders argues that although Lagarde has been viewed by some observers as a progressive choice, there is little reason to believe she will produce a meaningful shift in the ECB’s approach.
Mario Draghi has received a mildly positive press in neo-Keynesian circles. He arguably saved the euro with his ‘whatever it takes‘ speech and he pushed through Quantitative Easing. His successor, Christine Lagarde, might even be seen as progressive, or so at least Lagarde suggests herself by pledging she will ‘paint the ECB green’. The progressive mantel of Lagarde, however, does not stand up to scrutiny, just as

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Austria’s snap election: Kurz is back and so are the Greens

20 days ago

Austria went to the polls on 29 September after a major political scandal led to the fall of the previous government. The centre-right ÖVP, led by Sebastian Kurz, won the election and further increased their vote share. Jakob-Moritz Eberl, Eva Zeglovits and Hubert Sickinger write that despite securing a clear victory, the election saw the ÖVP’s campaign engine stutter for the first time since Kurz took over the party leadership. In the end, however, none of the country’s opposition parties could generate enough momentum to mount a serious challenge.
Austria’s last parliamentary election in October 2017 resulted in a clear shift rightward with the centre-right People’s Party (ÖVP) and the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ) forming a coalition for the third time in Austria’s history. The ÖVP’s

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Book Review: Social Mobility and its Enemies by Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin

21 days ago

In Social Mobility and its Enemies, Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin offer a thought-provoking assessment of the state of social mobility in Britain. In the context of much social and political change and rising levels of inequality in Britain, this book is able to dispel the myth of meritocracy and suggest evidence-informed avenues for achieving a fairer society for all, writes Ross Goldstone. 
Social Mobility and its Enemies. Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin. Pelican. 2018.
Find this book: 
Have you ever wondered why those at the top tend to come from the same backgrounds? Or how severe the social mobility crisis in Britain really is—and what has, and continues to, cause it? If so, then Lee Elliot Major and Stephen Machin’s recent contribution to the Pelican Books series, Social

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EMU reform preferences: Is there a consensus between French and German MPs?

23 days ago

Agreement between France and Germany is seen as a prerequisite for any substantial reform of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union, but how feasible is it to find consensus positions between members of the French and German parliaments? Drawing on a new study, Sebastian Blesse, Pierre C. Boyer, Friedrich Heinemann, Eckhard Janeba and Anasuya Raj demonstrate that when it comes to the future of the EU and the Eurozone, ideological differences matter more than national differences between French and German representatives. However, for EMU-related policies and reform options, there is a strong and robust difference between parliamentarians of both countries even if they belong to the same party family.
The dramatic years of the euro area debt crisis have yielded substantial learning effects.

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How LGBT rights became a key battleground in Poland’s election

24 days ago

LGBT rights have played a prominent role in the run-up to Poland’s election on 13 October. Lukasz Szulc writes that the ruling Law and Justice party has attempted to shore up its support by taking a harsh line on the issue, and while LGBT rights will probably not stay high on the party’s agenda after the election, it will take a long time to reverse the negative effects for Poland’s LGBT citizens.
Picking a vulnerable group of people, demonising them and convincing your voters that you will protect them from the threat the group allegedly poses has long been a proven strategy for electoral success. This, at least, seems to be the golden rule for the currently in power conservative and populist Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland.
Ahead of the 2015 parliamentary elections, PiS – then in

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Bulgaria highlights the difficulties that lie ahead for Laura Kovesi as the EU’s chief prosecutor

25 days ago

Laura Codruta Kovesi, the former chief prosecutor of Romania’s National Anticorruption Directorate, is expected to be approved as the new head of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office. Iveta Cherneva argues that the lack of media freedom in countries like Bulgaria will make it exceptionally difficult for Kovesi to uncover crimes involving EU funding.
When the news hit that Laura Kovesi was to become the EU’s top prosecutor, anti-corruption activists across Europe applauded loudly. One could hear the applause also in Bulgaria – a small EU country facing issues with EU funds misappropriation and theft, as well as freedom of the press – a place where Kovesi’s work is much needed.
Defined institutionally, Kovesi’s office has “the competence to investigate, prosecute and bring to judgment

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Why the radical right is no longer the exclusive domain of older, male voters

26 days ago

The typical radical right voter is often assumed to be older and male, with conservative views on women’s and LGBT rights. Drawing on a new study, Caroline Marie Lancaster writes that this assumption should now be reassessed. She finds evidence that there has been a particularly striking increase in the number of radical right voters who also support gender equality and LGBT rights.
Today’s European radical right is rife with contradiction. Once the electoral home of working-class men, disillusioned with the decline of industry and the rapid entry of women into the labour force, the radical right of the mid-2010s has rebranded in the face of a new enemy – Muslim immigration.
Previously patriarchal parties now discuss women’s and LGBT rights as being fundamental to Europe’s identity.

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Understanding the two faces of solidarity in the Eurozone and migration crises

27 days ago

The principle of ‘solidarity’ was a key feature of debates during the Eurozone crisis and the migration crisis, but the way in which the term was used differed in both cases. Drawing on a new study, Stefan Wallaschek explains that while the concept of solidarity is often assumed to be owned by actors on the left of the political spectrum, this is not necessarily the case, particularly as different meanings of solidarity are linked to different crises.
What do the euro crisis and Europe’s migration crisis have in common? It is not only the lack of core state power at the supranational level, but the fact that both crises share a public appeal to solidarity. President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, argued in his State of the Union address in 2018 that solidarity is needed

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Book Review: The First Marx: A Philosophical Introduction by Douglas Burnham and Peter Lamb

28 days ago

In The First Marx: A Philosophical Introduction, Douglas Burnham and Peter Lamb bring together Marx’s early writings in order to shape them into a distinct political philosophy. This is a diligently and rigorously researched work, writes Tarique Niazi, that will serve as a must-have primer for both early and advanced students and scholars of Marx.
The First Marx: A Philosophical Introduction. Douglas Burnham and Peter Lamb. Bloomsbury. 2019.
Find this book: 
The First Marx is an ambitious attempt at the ingenious reconstruction of Karl Marx as authors Douglas Burnham and Peter Lamb pore through voluminous sources to pick up the fragments of Marx’s early writings to sculpt him into a philosopher. Chronologically they concentrate on his oeuvre spanning the 1830s-40s, in particular tapping

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Can the liberals become the new pivotal political family of EU politics?

September 20, 2019

Ursula von der Leyen recently unveiled her proposed candidates for the next European Commission. Angelos Chryssogelos explains that one of the less observed features of the list was the empowerment of liberal politicians, continuing a trend toward a stronger liberal presence in EU decision-making. However, for the liberals to take on a central role in EU politics, they will need to upgrade their organisation and coordination capacities, which still fall short of their rivals.
The structure of the new European Commission, as announced by its president Ursula von der Leyen, is a snapshot of Europe’s new political balance of power. An obvious change in this regard is that the plurality of new commissioners does not belong to the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP), for the first time

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The David Cameron memoirs: No apology, no atonement, no courage

September 19, 2019

In a new book, David Cameron details his time as UK Prime Minister and his reaction to losing the country’s referendum on EU membership. George Kassimeris writes that future historians are unlikely to be any kinder to Cameron than today’s political commentators, and his unwillingness to offer an apology for the turbulence that followed the referendum will do little to restore his reputation.
It is now easy to forget, with everything that has gone on over the last three years, that David Cameron used to be a brilliant politician. On 7 December 2005 in his first dispatch box encounter, as opposition leader, with Tony Blair halfway through an exchange during Prime Minister’s Questions, Cameron suddenly pauses for 3 full seconds, then looks directly at Blair and says to the ecstatic delight of

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Is the EU headed for a ‘Southern Irish’ backstop in the case of a hard Brexit?

September 18, 2019

Some members of the UK government have hinted that the country may unilaterally refrain from introducing controls at the border with the Republic of Ireland in the case of a hard Brexit. Robert Basedow explains that if this were to occur, it would constitute a serious challenge for the EU and its single market. Customs authorities on the continent may have to enforce a ‘Southern Irish backstop’ and check that goods coming from Ireland are indeed of Irish rather than British or third country origin.
The most contested provision of the draft withdrawal agreement negotiated between the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) is the so-called backstop. The withdrawal agreement foresees that the UK stays in the EU’s single market for a two-year transition period after formally leaving

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