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Shadow battles and empty spaces: What the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan tells us about disinformation and digital history

1 day ago

The military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh has generated headlines across the world. Yet as Elise Thomas explains, a parallel battle has also been fought between the two sides online. She argues that better research is required to understand the spread of disinformation during armed conflicts, particularly as material is often removed by social media sites before it can be documented by researchers.
In 2020, armed conflicts are frequently accompanied by a ferocious battle being played out online for control over the narrative. Social media has emerged as a key vector for influencing the perceptions of ordinary people around the world, but also and perhaps more importantly for shaping international media coverage. Cash-strapped media organisations

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Why issue-based strategies won’t help Trump win re-election

2 days ago

The US presidential election on 3 November will be watched closely in Europe. Drawing on recent survey evidence, Davide Angelucci, Lorenzo De Sio, Morris P. Fiorina and Mark N. Franklin illuminate the challenge facing Donald Trump in his bid for re-election. There are currently no divisive issues on which Trump stands to win more support from independents and Democrats than he stands to lose from his own support-base, while on issues for which goals are widely shared, Trump lacks credibility compared to Joe Biden.
As the 2020 US presidential election campaign draws to a close (and with most polls reporting a 10-point Biden lead in popular vote intentions), Donald Trump is focused on values, not issues; character, not policies. Some Republican strategists despair at Trump’s

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Sclerotic soft law: Understanding the role of the Minsk Group in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

3 days ago

The decades-old dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh has been reignited, with forces fighting for the two sides engaged in intense fighting since the end of September. Christopher R. Rossi writes that the recent escalation might prompt a reassessment of the ‘soft law’ approach embodied by the Minsk Group, which was formed from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 1992 to mediate over the conflict.
Did the metaphor ever aptly fit? The ‘frozen conflict’ between the ethnically Armenian and Christian inhabitants of the breakaway enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh and the Muslim-majority neighbouring Azerbaijan has once again melted. A torrent of cross-border hostility not seen for a quarter-century burst forth in late

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How European integration breaks the link between demand for social spending and its supply

4 days ago

How does European integration affect the welfare state? Drawing on a new study, Tobias Tober highlights two conflicting effects that the integration process generates in relation to welfare spending. While economic integration increases popular demand for social spending, political integration decreases its supply, effectively breaking the link between social policy preferences and social policy output.
For decades, a prominent line of critique has held that the European integration process is strongly biased towards economic interests and neglects the social policy dimension. Proponents of this view argue that the asymmetry between market-making and market-correcting efforts has resulted in a European agenda of labour market deregulation and privatisation. These authors claim that

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Book Review: Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration – And Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy and Our Lives by Danny Dorling

4 days ago

In Slowdown, Danny Dorling challenges the idea that we are living through an era of unprecedented economic and technological acceleration, instead putting forward an argument in favour of the inevitability and desirability of deceleration. Published in the midst of a global pandemic, Dorling’s insightful and persuasive book is a well-timed forecast that the storm will eventually subside and humankind will advance towards an era of peace and stability for all, writes Theo Curtis. 
Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration – And Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy and Our Lives. Danny Dorling. Yale University Press. 2020.
In Slowdown: The End of the Great Acceleration – And Why It’s Good for the Planet, the Economy and Our Lives, Danny Dorling, Professor of Geography at Oxford

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Interview with Manmit Bhambra: “Young people throughout Europe have a more liberal, more open and inclusive sense of identity”

7 days ago

In the wake of global protests against racism and police brutality, Europeans have been called to address racial injustice across the continent. In an interview with EUROPP’s Managing Editor, Manmit Bhambra discusses what it means to be European in today’s Europe, and the crucial role of young people in shaping an anti-racist future.
Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, recently stated that far too many people living in Europe still equate being European with being white. Can racism ever be addressed without first tackling issues of identity and resolving what it means to be ‘European’?
Europe is increasingly multicultural; we see new waves of migration from different parts of the world, there are second and third generation young people growing up in a

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Turkey’s actions in the Mediterranean call for the projection of EU power, not mediation

8 days ago

In recent months, tensions have escalated between Greece and Turkey over gas reserves and maritime rights in the Eastern Mediterranean. Hans Kribbe argues that while the EU typically gravitates toward the role of an impartial mediator in external conflicts, the present situation in the Mediterranean calls for a different response.
“After the Cold War, the world wasn’t black and white anymore, it was a Picasso painting”, admiral Cem Gurdeniz, chief architect of Turkey’s Blue Homeland strategy, said in 2006. The admiral had a nose for how the world had changed. Until then, he explained, Turkey’s foreign policy could be summarised in just three words: “Whatever NATO decided”.
However, slowly NATO had become an obstacle, according to Gurdeniz, an admirer of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of

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Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh: The Azerbaijani perspective on the route to peace

9 days ago

Since the end of September, the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh has been reignited. Rovshan Ibrahimov and Murad Muradov present the Azerbaijani perspective on the roots of the current escalation and the way forward to a peaceful resolution.
Between 1988-94, in the shadow of the break-up of the Soviet Union, Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war within the borders of Azerbaijan. The outcome was the occupation of the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh – where there was at that time and remains today an ethnic Armenian majority – and an additional seven neighbouring districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh where Azerbaijanis had always constituted an overwhelming majority. As a result of the invasion, 600,000 ethnic Azeris lost their homes and became

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How populism emerged from the shadow of neoliberalism in Central and Eastern Europe

9 days ago

Hungary and Poland have pursued a notably ‘populist’ approach to the economy in recent years, which has begun to spread to other countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Mitchell A. Orenstein and Bojan Bugarič argue that Central and Eastern European states’ dependence on foreign capital initially constrained them to follow neoliberal economic policies following their democratic transition. After the global financial crisis, populist parties began to break from this consensus, embracing a populist agenda which includes an economic programme built on a conservative developmental ‘statism’.
Since 2008, Hungary and Poland have developed a distinctive populist economic programme, which has begun to spread to other Central and Eastern European countries. What is it? Where did it

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Reviving a different type of competition to develop the European economy

10 days ago

Several EU leaders have set their sights on curbing the power of big tech firms in Europe. Patrick Kaczmarczyk writes that it is unlikely the United States will accept this without the threat of retaliation. Due to its export-led model, the EU is vulnerable to such pressures. It is time for the EU to embrace a different theory and model of development, one that rethinks the idea of competition for its own sake.
With France and the Netherlands joining calls to curb the power of (mostly US-based) big tech firms in the European Union, it is likely that Washington will pressure Brussels not to impose any meaningful restrictions on its protégés. The threat to retaliate, for example via tariffs on EU imports, gives the US leverage, as the Eurozone – due to its dominance by Germany –

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Interview with Daniela Haarhuis: “Security can’t be achieved through the violation of human rights”

11 days ago

The growth of new technology is having an increasing impact on security policy, yet the pace of technological change also has important implications for human rights. In an interview with EUROPP’s Managing Editor, Daniela Haarhuis discusses how governments and citizens can seek to resolve the paradox between human rights and security politics.
Security and human rights issues are closely related, but there is occasionally a lack of clarity in how academics approach the two topics. How can we make better sense of the links between security and human rights?
Security must aim to protect human rights. Security can’t be achieved through the violation of human rights. Does this claim reflect the political reality? Absolutely not. However, this should not prevent us as academics from

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Book Review: Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism by Mareile Pfannebecker and J.A. Smith

11 days ago

In Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism, Mareile Pfannebecker and J.A. Smith address the problems in the prevailing discourse on work and outline how exactly we can put a post-work future into practice. As 2020 has witnessed the reshaping of work and workplaces due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this thought-provoking book offers a valuable starting point for envisaging a future post-work world, writes Anupama Kumar.
Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism. Mareile Pfannebecker and J.A. Smith. Zed Books. 2020.
In Work Want Work: Labour and Desire at the End of Capitalism, Mareile Pfannebecker and J.A. Smith ask how exactly we can put a post-work future into practice.
The authors present three distinct strands of thought on why the current

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The UK and the EU: Another two-level game

14 days ago

The prospects for a post-Brexit trade deal between the UK and the EU look increasingly bleak following talks between EU leaders on 15 October. Bob Hancké attempts to make sense of the negotiations.
Finally, the gloves are off. French president Macron, a bit more preoccupied with containing a new outbreak of Covid-19 than with Brexit, has turned the tables and told Boris Johnson to ‘go whistle’. If the UK wants a Brexit agreement before the end of the year, it is going to have to accept the EU’s conditions, point final. UK waters should remain open for EU (especially French) fishing boats, the UK should accept it will have to dynamically ratchet up environmental and social standards if it wants to trade with the EU, and state aid should be contained to the level acceptable within the

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Why rapid integration policies for refugees may harm long-term integration into the labour market – especially for women

14 days ago

National governments typically implement a range of policies to help integrate refugees into the labour market. Drawing on a new study, Vilde Hernes, Jacob Arendt, Pernilla Joona Andersson and Kristian Rose Tronstad show that policies focused on rapid self-sufficiency for newly arrived refugees may hamper the development of stable labour-market integration in the long-term. This effect is particularly prominent in the case of women.
Integrating refugees into the labour market has proven to be a challenge in all Western European countries, and there is a persistent employment gap between native-born citizens and refugees. To address these challenges, many governments design specific integration policies to deal with some of the obstacles that refugees encounter on their path to

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Lessons from EMU: Understanding the trade-offs between procedural and substantive accountability

16 days ago

The EU is frequently criticised for lacking democratic accountability. Mark Dawson and Adina Maricut-Akbik draw a distinction between ‘procedural accountability’, which focuses on whether actors follow the correct procedural steps in reaching a decision, and ‘substantive accountability’, which assesses the value of a policy decision itself. They argue there should be greater attention paid to the potential trade-offs associated with each approach, particularly in light of the notably procedural form of accountability that has been adopted in the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union.
Academic and political debates about accountability in the European Union tend to be frustrating. In many ways, we know what is wrong with democratic accountability in the EU and how to fix it. We are aware

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The median voter is dead – long live political moderation!

17 days ago

Ever since the financial crisis, centrist and establishment politics has been suffering a deepening loss of legitimacy and voter loyalty in Europe and the United States. The median-voter strategy of the Blair and Clinton years has been criticised for good reason, writes Richard Bronk. But might political moderation be about to make a comeback as the world faces up to unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts?
The vote for Brexit and the election of Donald Trump in 2016 seemed to confirm the ascendency of what Jonathan Hopkin calls ‘anti-system politics’ – also reflected in the recent startling success of new challenger parties across the EU. But have we been too ready to read the last rites over political moderation?
Still dominant in Canada, New Zealand, Scandinavia and much of

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Why the EU’s enlargement process is running out of steam

18 days ago

On 6 October, the European Commission released its enlargement reports, tracking the progress of countries aiming to join the EU. Florian Bieber writes that while the reports were longer than ever, the details drown out the bigger picture. He argues the reporting process should be reformed to better outline priorities, highlight the causes of problems, and make concrete proposals for the next steps in the accession process.
The release of the EU’s enlargement reports has moved from being a top event for the countries involved to a non-event, in thousands of pages. Declining interest in enlargement is not the only reason for this – it also reflects the reporting process itself.
For years, the annual reports on what used to be called ‘progress’ towards EU membership were much

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Book Review: The Case for Scottish Independence: A History of Nationalist Political Thought in Modern Scotland by Ben Jackson

18 days ago

In The Case for Scottish Independence: A History of Nationalist Political Thought in Modern Scotland, Ben Jackson offers a new history of the political and theoretical debates that have provided the intellectual foundations for Scottish nationalism as a social and political movement. This is a hugely important contribution to British political history and a work that will doubtlessly become part of the canon on Scottish politics, writes Jennifer Thomson. 
The Case for Scottish Independence: A History of Nationalist Political Thought in Modern Scotland. Ben Jackson. Cambridge University Press. 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought devolution to the forefront of British politics. The different policies that the four separate nations of the United Kingdom have adopted to fight the

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Can member states override the Court of Justice of the EU?

21 days ago

Rulings made in the Court of Justice of the European Union often generate controversy in the member states, but how can national governments respond to decisions they disagree with? Drawing on a new study, Olof Larsson explains the use of ‘overrides’, where laws are changed following a ruling to bring them more in line with what national politicians want.
According to many scholars, the member states of the EU are essentially trapped in a legal system they no longer control. Important policy decisions are systematically determined by unelected judges at the Court of Justice of the European Union, and not by elected politicians. Other scholars, like myself, argue that while the EU Court has a lot of power, the member states retain powerful means by which to influence the Court and

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Big shifts: Lessons from the 1980s for the labour market after Covid-19

22 days ago

The economy-wide restructuring that set in after the crisis of the 1970s harbours some important lessons for the imminent post-Covid world, Bob Hancké argues. Many industrial sectors that provided working class families with stable incomes disappeared, taking the life chances of those left behind with them. But that did not happen everywhere and understanding the origins and consequences of the different adjustment paths can help avoid a second generation of losers from economic restructuring.
The post-Covid world is a place that has little in common with the economy eight months ago. In many countries, large parts of the small-company, often unproductive, service sectors are kept alive solely through subsidies, cheap loans and grants that are almost certain to disappear when the

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Why peace looks a long way off in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

22 days ago

At the end of September, conflict erupted between forces fighting for Armenia and Azerbaijan, reviving a decades-old dispute over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. Armine Ishkanian argues that while it remains to be seen if a diplomatic solution can be found, there seems little prospect of peace emerging in the short-term.
In the early morning of 27 September, Azerbaijan launched large-scale military operations along the entire line of contact (approximately 180 km) of Nagorno-Karabakh, an unrecognised state in the South Caucasus with a population of about 150,000 people. A week on, this is now an all-out war which involves numerous parties, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno Karabakh, and Turkey. Armenians are vastly outnumbered both in terms of population size (Armenia has a

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Assessing Next Generation EU

23 days ago

The unprecedented fiscal package adopted by the European Council this summer – dubbed Next Generation EU – is vital for the recovery of the euro area, write Lorenzo Codogno and Paul van den Noord. However, they estimate that the creation of a Eurobond and permanent fiscal capacity at the centre would have been a more powerful means to mitigate the impact of the crisis.
The magnitude of the Covid-19 shock to economic activity in the Eurozone and elsewhere is unprecedented in post war history. The OECD, for instance, currently expects the Eurozone economy to shrink by 7.9% in 2020, almost twice the contraction in 2009. Yet the macroeconomic policy responses have been equally unprecedented, both at the national and pan-European levels. Most significantly, the Covid-19 pandemic finally

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How European Administrative Networks aid the implementation and enforcement of EU policies

24 days ago

European Administrative Networks are networks of national actors who interact to improve the implementation and enforcement of EU policies. Drawing on new research, Dorte Sindbjerg Martinsen, Reini Schrama and Ellen Mastenbroek illustrate the role and structure of these networks, together with some of their key limitations.
Despite being the core executive of the European Union, the European Commission has limited competences when policies are to be implemented and enforced in the member states. To compensate for this executive deficit, the Commission employs an extensive set of tools to monitor and ensure compliance with EU rules. Infringement procedures are undoubtedly the best known and most researched among these tools.
European Administrative Networks (EAN) are an increasingly

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Extended solidarity? The social consequences of Covid-19 for marginalised migrant groups in Germany

25 days ago

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in sweeping changes across European societies. But what has it meant for the most vulnerable? Cecilia Bruzelius and Nora Ratzmann present an assessment on the impact on marginalised groups of migrants in Germany and identify some potential long-term trends that may result from the crisis.
The Covid-19 pandemic has radically exposed inequalities, evidenced for example in differentiated access to (quality) health care, conditions for mobility and greater volatility of jobs in certain labour market segments. Moreover, the instinctive return to the ‘national’, whereby individual state governments became principal actors in fighting the virus’ spread on their national territories and resurrected hard borders, has highlighted transnational inequalities

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Book Review: The Economics of Belonging: A Radical Plan to Win Back the Left Behind and Achieve Prosperity for All by Martin Sandbu

26 days ago

In The Economics of Belonging: A Radical Plan to Win Back the Left Behind and Achieve Prosperity for All, Martin Sandbu seeks to address the extent to which many citizens of western democracies feel ‘left behind’ by recent economic changes, proposing a detailed plan for creating a just economy where everyone can belong. While finding this a highly readable and carefully argued book that offers a number of persuasive policy prescriptions, John Tomaney questions whether it provides a fully convincing programme for the left-behind. 
If you are interested in The Economics of Belonging, you can listen to a podcast of author Martin Sandbu discussing the book at an LSE event, recorded on 17 June 2020. 
The Economics of Belonging: A Radical Plan to Win Back the Left Behind and Achieve

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Why MPs do not represent everyone equally well

28 days ago

Disproportionate numbers of politicians within national parliaments are male, affluent and belonging to the ‘native’ majority of their country. But while the composition of a parliament may not reflect the composition of society, does this affect the representation of citizens’ views? Drawing on new research in Germany, Lea Elsässer, Svenja Hense and Armin Schäfer demonstrate that the views of particular groups are consistently underrepresented in policymaking, with much of this effect likely to stem from the social background of MPs.
Parliaments of western representative democracies have never been a mirror image of society. Legislators are disproportionately male, affluent, and belonging to the ‘native’ majority of a country. But while women and some ethnic and racial minorities

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The EU’s Turkey challenge

29 days ago

EU leaders will discuss relations with Turkey at a special European Council meeting that begins today. The discussion follows escalating tensions in recent months between Turkey and Greece over gas reserves and maritime rights. Luigi Scazzieri explains that while the EU is keen to encourage Turkey to pursue a diplomatic solution to resolve its differences with Greece, there is little unity between the member states on how a better EU-Turkey relationship can be achieved.
Relations with Turkey will be one of the main issues on the agenda when European leaders meet this week. In recent months, Ankara has clashed with Greece and Cyprus, disputing their maritime boundaries and sending research ships escorted by military vessels to explore for hydrocarbons and assert its own extensive

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‘It’s not a French-German Europe’: How small creditor states stand up for their interests in the EU

September 30, 2020

It is often assumed that if both France and Germany support an EU proposal, it is likely to be implemented. Yet as Magnus G. Schoeller explains, this is not always the case. Drawing on a new study, he documents the success of smaller ‘creditor states’ in blocking Franco-German initiatives within Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union.
EU leaders recently agreed on a 750bn euro recovery package to fight the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis. The larger share of the jointly borrowed money shall be distributed to member states as grants (390bn) rather than loans (360bn). Apparently, the EU needed another crisis to set up a new stabilisation mechanism. When two years earlier France and Germany proposed a genuine Eurozone budget to stabilise the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), the

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Assessing the political impact of Covid-19 in Italy

September 29, 2020

Italy was the first country in Europe to experience a major Covid-19 outbreak and remains one of the hardest hit by the crisis. Giovanni de Ghantuz Cubbe examines the consequences of the pandemic for domestic Italian politics, as well as the country’s relationship with the EU.
Covid-19 reached Italy in the second half of January. The real crisis began, however, between February and March, as the number of infections dramatically increased. How did the Italian political authorities react?
Following the official positions of the Italian government, we can identify two distinct phases. In the first one (fase uno), the government released a huge number of measures, decrees and administrative orders to limit the spread of the virus. Rigid restrictions were introduced, which included not

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Anatomy of a wage subsidy

September 28, 2020

Last week, the UK introduced a wage subsidy scheme that has strong similarities with the German Kurzarbeit (‘short work’) programme. Bob Hancké, Toon Van Overbeke and Dustin Voss argue that much in the UK’s approach is misguided. The German scheme works, they write, because it has three critical elements that are wholly or mostly absent in the UK. It would be a surprise, therefore, if it worked as intended – even leaving aside the potentially prohibitive shift in costs from government to employers.
The new UK wage subsidy scheme (the Job Support Scheme or JSS), introduced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on 24 September, tries to balance the cyclical short-term problems of an economic downturn with the longer-term structural problems of adjusting to the emerging new economy. As our

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