Thursday , December 3 2020
Home / Blog Team (page 45)

Blog Team



Articles by Blog Team

Lukashenko, Putin and the protests: Why Belarus is being pulled further into Russia’s orbit

2 days ago

For almost four months, protesters have taken to the streets of Belarus demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko. Oleg Chupryna argues that with Lukashenko increasingly reliant on Vladimir Putin’s support, there is a risk Belarus could be pulled further under the influence of Russia.
Belarus has witnessed months of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, following presidential elections on 9 August which are widely perceived to have suffered from electoral fraud. Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years, is often dubbed by western media as ‘Europe’s last dictator’. But on this occasion, his heavy-handed response to the protests has largely had the opposite effect of that intended.
Thousands of people continue to protest on a daily basis, while at

Read More »

What to expect from Sunday’s legislative elections in Romania

3 days ago

Romania will hold legislative elections on 6 December. Sergiu Gherghina previews the vote, writing that while the ruling National Liberal Party is likely to stay in power, the elections will represent a number of firsts for the country.
Romanians will go to the polls this Sunday, the fourth time they have been called to vote in an election in a little over 18 months. This time, it will be legislative elections on the ballot, following presidential and European elections in 2019, and local elections earlier this year. The previous three elections demonstrated a consistent pattern that is unlikely to change in the forthcoming legislative elections. The ruling National Liberal Party (PNL), which currently holds power in a minority government, will continue their term in office, but

Read More »

Scotland’s European debate will need greater depth in the years ahead

4 days ago

Although Europe is a major aspect of Scotland’s political conversation, the focus is principally on Brexit and matters narrowly deemed to affect Scottish interests, writes Anthony Salamone. Instead, he argues that building a meaningful European debate in Scotland, regardless of its constitutional future, will require greater depth and an appreciation of the realities of Scotland’s place within Europe.
Europe has been at the core of Scotland’s politics for some time. EU membership was a central aspect of the 2014 independence referendum. Brexit has since transformed the constitutional debate. The prospect of a new independence referendum after next spring’s Scottish Parliament election is real, and Europe would feature prominently in the campaign once more – now, in the significantly

Read More »

Book Review: Great Judgments of the European Court of Justice: Rethinking the Landmark Decisions of the Foundational Period by William Phelan

4 days ago

In Great Judgments of the European Court of Justice: Rethinking the Landmark Decisions of the Foundational Period, William Phelan offers a new account of European legal integration, showing how the novel doctrines of the European Court of Justice fundamentally transformed interstate relations on the European continent. This is a highly persuasive and stimulating study, writes Jacob van de Beeten, that will prompt EU legal scholars to reflect on the role that the EU’s laws and institutions will play in a changing geopolitical environment. 
Great Judgments of the European Court of Justice: Rethinking the Landmark Decisions of the Foundational Period. William Phelan. Cambridge University Press. 2019.   
In the conventional textbook understanding of European integration, the European

Read More »

Evidence from Germany: Does anger increase support for political leaders?

7 days ago

When politicians make visible displays of anger, does it help or hinder their chances of winning support from voters? Drawing on a survey experiment in Germany, Lena Masch explains that displays of anger can have a significant impact on how voters view politicians, but that this effect is highly context-dependent.
With the rise in populist parties across Europe, the importance of emotional appeals in politics has gained considerable scientific interest. Politicians might express their emotions strategically during election campaigns to gain voters’ support and win elections. Expressions of anger are likely to be beneficial for politicians of the opposition and particularly populist parties since they are suitable for challenging the status quo. Previous studies have suggested there

Read More »

Germany’s silent rebalancing has been undone by Covid-19

8 days ago

Low German wages are often cited as a key contributing factor to imbalances in the Eurozone. Donato Di Carlo and Martin Höpner demonstrate that while nominal unit labour cost growth in Germany consistently undershot that of other Eurozone countries in the first decade of the euro, the country has undergone a ‘silent rebalancing’ following the financial crisis. Unfortunately, this incomplete process is likely to be reversed by the shock from Covid-19.
The history of the euro has been punctuated by external shocks. Just as the financial crisis signalled the end of the first decade of the single currency, the outbreak of Covid-19 has now ended the second phase of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). Given the major implications the pandemic is likely to have, it is worth taking

Read More »

How citizens react when other European leaders discuss their country

9 days ago

When EU leaders discuss developments in other member states, it often attracts substantial attention in the media. But how do these statements affect the attitudes of citizens toward the EU and issues like austerity? Drawing on a new study, Alessandro Del Ponte illustrates how the rhetoric adopted by EU leaders may inadvertently offend or galvanise the public in neighbouring states.
Citizens often learn through the media what European leaders say about their home country. For example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously exhorted Italians to ‘do their homework’, referring to the need for economic austerity. Meanwhile, the former President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, invited Italians to ‘work more’, ‘be less corrupt’, and more ‘serious’. The Dutch

Read More »

Putting ‘off-balance-sheet fiscal agencies’ under the control of the European Parliament could help democratise Eurozone governance

10 days ago

The Eurozone’s system of governance is often accused of lacking democratic legitimacy. Andrei Guter-Sandu and Steffen Murau write on the role of ‘off-balance-sheet fiscal agencies’, such as the European Investment Bank, European Stability Mechanism and Single Resolution Fund. They argue that the use of these institutions and mechanisms effectively constitutes a ‘fiscal ecosystem by stealth’ and that if this system were to be put under the control of the European Parliament, it could offer a channel for enhancing legitimacy.
This year has brought about fundamental changes of governance in the Eurozone. On 5 May, the German Constitutional Court ruled against the ECB’s Public Sector Purchase Programme (PSPP) – its flagship post-crisis asset purchasing programme – by arguing that the

Read More »

Taking stock of ‘election season’ in the Eastern Partnership countries

11 days ago

Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine have all held elections in October and November. Clara Volintiru and Sergiu Gherghina write that while the elections broadly represented a success story for the EU’s efforts to promote democratic values in the region, they also showcased the continued importance of clientelistic practices in the three states.
This autumn has been election season in the Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries. Local elections in Ukraine, which began with a first round of voting on 25 October, were followed by presidential elections in Moldova on 1 and 15 November, where Maia Sandu defeated the incumbent pro-Russian President, Igor Dodon. Meanwhile in Georgia, two rounds of parliamentary elections were scheduled for 31 October and 21 November, resulting in a majority for the

Read More »

Book Review: Experiences of Academics from a Working-Class Heritage by Carole Binns

11 days ago

In Experiences of Academics from a Working-Class Heritage, Carole Binns draws on interviews with fourteen tenured academics from a working-class background to reveal the complexities faced by individuals who have experienced social mobility in academia. Suggesting that a diversification of the academic workforce could be a valuable addition to the widening participation agenda, this book contributes to understanding lived experiences of social mobility and the social class inequalities that shape entry into ‘elite’ occupations, writes Ross Goldstone. 
Experiences of Academics from a Working-Class Heritage: Ghosts of Childhood Habitus. Carole Binns. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. 2019.
In Experiences of Academics from a Working-Class Heritage: Ghosts of Childhood Habitus, Carole

Read More »

Criminalising search and rescue activities can only lead to more deaths in the Mediterranean

14 days ago

Search and rescue activities have provided life-saving assistance to migrants in the Mediterranean, but they have also been portrayed by some actors in Europe as a ‘pull factor’ that encourages more migrants to attempt dangerous crossings. Eleanor Gordon and Henrik Kjellmo Larsen argue that efforts to criminalise the provision of search and rescue services by private vessels, together with the alleged use of ‘pushbacks’ to encourage boats to return to shore, can only lead to more deaths.
There are increasing reports of asylum seekers and other migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean being ‘pushed back’ from Europe’s shores. This follows six years of European governments attempting to rid the Mediterranean of Search and Rescue (SAR) capabilities, assuming they constitute a

Read More »

Transparency about risks and consistent messaging may reduce vaccine scepticism

15 days ago

Following news of two successful trials, there is now growing optimism that Covid-19 vaccines may soon be able to bring the pandemic under control. But how can public scepticism about new vaccines be addressed? Barry Eichengreen, Cevat Giray Aksoy and Orkun Saka write that perceptions of government inaction or political interference with trials and regulatory approval may foster doubts about safety.
Monday, 9 November brought welcome news from Pfizer about the successful Phase 3 trial of what appears to be a 90 per cent effective COVID-19 vaccine. Stock markets reacted with elation, seeming to declare the COVID-19 crisis over.
Challenges lie ahead, of course. There is the challenge of manufacturing the vaccine, which will have to be applied in two doses. There then is the further

Read More »

What the Wirecard scandal reveals about the state of German financial supervision

15 days ago

The Wirecard scandal has evolved into the largest case of accounting fraud in German post-war history. Dustin Voss examines the role of BaFin, the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority. He argues that with Germany’s transition from a bank-based to a capital-market based financial system, regulators failed to beef up BaFin’s powers to meet the challenges of 21st century internationalised finance.
It’s the stuff of Hollywood movies. A little-known payment processing company from Munich growing into a financial market behemoth, replacing Commerzbank in the prestigious DAX30, even daring to acquire Germany’s financial crown jewel, Deutsche Bank. That is, until people started asking an uncomfortable question: where’s the money?
Since then, not so pleasant headlines have been dominating

Read More »

Why public consultations on EU regulations may come too late to make a difference

16 days ago

Public consultations are often held when EU institutions draft new regulations. Yet as Rik Joosen explains, the involvement of interest groups at earlier stages of the process may limit the influence of these public consultations on the rules that are agreed.
EU institutions are increasingly developing ways to engage with societal interests during their policymaking. One way interested actors can provide input is through public consultations. In a recent study based on two novel datasets, I found that participating in consultations on regulation may, however, be too little too late. Many consultation texts are drafted with the help of a select number of interest groups, even before consultations allow for broader interests to have any impact. This initial influence makes

Read More »

From rising star to shooting star: Where next for Italy’s Five Star Movement?

17 days ago

Italy’s Five Star Movement held a congress on 14-15 November to determine the party’s future. The congress came after disappointing regional election results and a sustained decline in opinion polls since the last Italian general election in 2018. Maria Giovanna Sessa and Giacomo Riccio write that the party must decide whether to embrace its position as a mainstream political actor or to reclaim its anti-system credentials.
On 20-21 September, Italians voted in a constitutional referendum to reduce the country’s parliament by roughly a third of its size. The amendments were approved by just under 70 per cent of voters, who were persuaded by the prospect of cost-savings and added efficiency.
Although the referendum counted on the support of the main governing and opposition parties,

Read More »

What the Pegida movement tells us about divisions within German society

18 days ago

Six years after its emergence in the eastern German state of Saxony, the far-right populist movement ‘Pegida’ still polarises German politics and society. Sabine Volk argues that the movement’s continued popularity highlights the stark divisions that persist within Germany.
In October, the Dresden-based far-right populist group “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the Occident” (Pegida) celebrated yet another anniversary. For six years now, the protest movement has been known for its regular street demonstrations against immigration and Islam, the German government and political establishment, as well as the liberal press and public.
Pegida has contributed to Dresden’s image as a city with a ‘Nazi problem’, as well as to the increasing polarisation of German society,

Read More »

Book Review: Me, Not You: The Trouble with Mainstream Feminism by Alison Phipps

18 days ago

In Me, Not You, Alison Phipps builds on Black feminist scholarship to investigate how mainstream feminist movements against sexual violence express a ‘political whiteness’ that can reinforce marginalisation and oppression and limits the capacity to collectively achieve structural change and dismantle violent systems. This short and accessible book challenges us to think deeply about how the politics of woundedness, outrage and carcerality are embedded within the feminist movement and our own organising, writes Lili Schwoerer, and serves as another encouragement to explore and engage with alternative imaginaries.
Me, Not You: The Trouble with Mainstream Feminism. Alison Phipps. Manchester University Press. 2020.
Me, Not You, authored by Alison Phipps, Professor of Gender Studies at

Read More »

Common currency, common identity? How the euro has fostered a European identity

21 days ago

Does European institution building in key areas of national sovereignty go hand in hand with the emergence of a common identity among European citizens? Drawing on a new study, Fedra Negri, Francesco Nicoli and Theresa Kuhn show that the introduction of the euro has fostered a European identity, leading to a small but significant decrease in the share of people who identify only with their nation and not with the EU.
Over the past few decades, the European Union has acquired important powers in policy areas that are intrinsically linked to national sovereignty. Indeed, the supranational Court of Justice of the European Union (1952), the EU Customs Union (1968) and the Schengen Area (1985) can be seen as the first building blocks of a set of European core state powers. More recently,

Read More »

John Hume and the EU’s role in the Northern Ireland peace process

22 days ago

The Northern Irish politician John Hume, who was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998, died in August this year. Giada Lagana explains how Hume used the European Parliament to help bridge divisions and facilitate peace in Northern Ireland.
In the early 1980s, the European Parliament was the sole forum where elected representatives from both parts of Ireland and the United Kingdom could sit and work together, thereby taking the edge off their conflicting views about Northern Ireland. Organised in political groups rather than national delegations, the Parliament established itself as the first political arena where actors could overcome some of the usual obstacles to engagement associated with the Northern Ireland conflict.
The evolution of the European Parliament after

Read More »

Understanding the role of political knowledge in support for fiscal solidarity

23 days ago

It is often assumed that citizens with higher levels of political knowledge will evaluate political arguments in a more rational way than other citizens. But is this really the case? Drawing on a new study, Klaus Armingeon finds little evidence for the idea citizens with greater political knowledge displayed a more rational approach toward fiscal solidarity during the Eurozone crisis.
There is a simple and convincing idea that motivates everyone from teachers of civic education to political activists carefully putting their arguments to the general public: citizens who are well informed and have substantial political knowledge will evaluate political arguments in a rational way. If arguments contradict previous beliefs and decisions, these choices will be revised.
Unfortunately,

Read More »

Poland’s abortion ban protests are a harbinger of a wider social movement

24 days ago

Since 22 October, protests have taken place across Poland against a court ruling which established a near-total ban on abortion. Helena Chmielewska-Szlajfer and Roch Dunin-Wąsowicz argue that the protests are the beginning of a wider social movement channelling the grievances of women and the LGBTQ community, as well as other marginalised groups.
Until recently, women in Poland had the right to legally terminate pregnancies in three cases – if the pregnancy was the result of a crime, if it threatened the life of the mother, or if the pregnancy wasn’t viable. On 22 October, Poland’s contested and controversial Constitutional Court deemed the last case (the so-called embryo-pathological reason) unconstitutional. In practice, this means that only a handful of abortions will now be

Read More »

The Biden era: What can Europe expect from America’s new President?

25 days ago

With the election of Joe Biden as the next President of the United States, the transatlantic relationship is set to enter a new era. Effie G. H. Pedaliu examines what Biden’s presidency will mean for the EU and the post-Brexit UK.
What can the EU expect realistically from a Biden presidency? An awful lot really. At a minimum, decorum, civility and predictability in a world of growing uncertainty. Anything more than this will depend, ultimately, on Europe. It can no longer expect the US to act as a deus ex machina to cure its woes.
The EU’s wish list when it comes to a Biden administration is on the long side. The transatlantic relationship is not only about NATO, but also about economics. The combined size of the US and EU economies shape the global economy. Therefore, the first

Read More »

Book Review: Me the People: How Populism Transforms Democracy by Nadia Urbinati

26 days ago

In Me the People: How Populism Transforms Democracy, Nadia Urbinati examines populism as a form – and deformation – of representative democracy. This is a rich work, brimming with ideas about the nature of representative government, how we conceive of it and how populism interacts with these, writes Ben Margulies, and is recommended to university students and scholars seeking to learn more about democratic and populist theory.
Me the People: How Populism Transforms Democracy. Nadia Urbinati. Harvard University Press. 2019.
Populism is more than an ideology or an object of study; it is the news. So it is not surprising that scholars writing about populism face a problem common to journalists: trying to find a new angle on a topic everyone is talking about. For political scientists

Read More »

What drives regulation in the aftermath of financial crises?

28 days ago

The financial industry may distort post-crisis policy interventions in their favour by colluding with policymakers, write Orkun Saka, Yuemei Ji and Paul De Grauwe.
Financial crises are an endemic feature of market economies. The negative effects of these crises on national economies have generally been severe, leading to banking collapses, recessions and marked increases in government debt levels (Reinhart and Rogoff, 2009). Invariably this leads governments to intervene in one way or another either to ease the damage that the crises may impose upon middle-class voters (Chwieroth and Walter, 2019) or to respond to the anti-finance sentiment emerging in the society by increasing the regulations to a socially-desired level (Dagher, 2018). Alternatively, politicians may take advantage

Read More »

Do European elections enhance satisfaction with EU democracy?

29 days ago

Elections carry the potential to increase citizens’ satisfaction with democracy. As Carolina Plescia, Jean-François Daoust and André Blais explain, previous research has shown that this effect is apparent among those who take part in national elections, rather than abstain, and among voters who back ‘winners’ rather than ‘losers’. Drawing on original panel data collected during the 2019 European Parliament elections in eight countries, they demonstrate that while electoral participation and backing a winning party do increase satisfaction with EU democracy, this effect does not materialise among citizens with an exclusive national identity.
A key argument in favour of holding elections is that people will accept (and consent to) a political authority when they have been given the

Read More »

US presidential election: The view from Europe

November 4, 2020

As the results come in for the 2020 US presidential election, we will be compiling a selection of comments from European academics, journalists and other experts on this page. If you would like to have a short comment included, please email the Managing Editor at [email protected]
4 November
Nicholas Vinocur at Politico argues that regardless of the outcome of the election, Europe and the US are drifting apart in their approach to technology. From 5G security to Europe’s plans for digital taxes and the collapse of a transatlantic data protection agreement, the two sides have fundamentally different approaches and a Biden presidency would be unlikely to change this.
_________________________________

The American people have spoken. While we wait for the election result, the EU

Read More »

Framing risky choices: How the Leave campaign convinced Britain to take a leap into the unknown

November 3, 2020

Prior to the Brexit referendum in 2016, many observers expected that floating voters would swing toward Remain due to the perceived risks and uncertainty associated with leaving the European Union. Drawing on a new book, Ece Özlem Atikcan, Richard Nadeau and Éric Bélanger explain how the Leave campaign managed to reframe the risks associated with Brexit and win the referendum.
The UK’s decision to leave the European Union in 2016 defied the well-established idea that voters don’t like change or uncertainty. It has been perceived, both in policy and academic circles, as a major shock. But why did the British public vote to take such an important economic risk?
In a new book, we bring a new angle to this question by paying special attention to referendum politics and by placing the

Read More »

Book Review: The European Central Bank between the Financial Crisis and Populisms by Corrado Macchiarelli, Mara Monti, Claudia Wiesner and Sebastian Diessner

November 2, 2020

In The European Central Bank between the Financial Crisis and Populisms, the authors Corrado Macchiarelli, Mara Monti, Claudia Wiesner and Sebastian Diessner unveil the problematic relationship between the European Central Bank and European politics, and especially the populist and sovereigntist threats to its legitimacy and independence. It reveals how at times the ECB has had no choice but to make difficult decisions that impinged on the responsibilities of fiscal authorities to safeguard the European project, arguably going to the very limits of its mandate. This fascinating book is essential reading for those wanting to understand the difficult relationship between unelected central bankers and elected politicians, writes Lorenzo Codogno.
The European Central Bank between the

Read More »

Why the EU should work with opposition parties to avoid democratic backsliding

October 30, 2020

Policymakers and scholars of the European Union have been increasingly more concerned about democratic backsliding in member countries where the EU no longer possesses the ‘membership’ carrot for continued reforms. But is the EU really hopeless when it comes to helping members safeguard and promote good governance? Mert Kartal presents findings from a recent study which suggest that the EU can make a difference by convincing and/or empowering opposition parties in member countries to uphold good governance.
In the aftermath of the Cold War, the EU’s efforts to democratise post-communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe have attracted considerable attention. Among a few alternatives, membership conditionality has been the most popular explanation for the successful reforms

Read More »

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

October 29, 2020

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

Read More »