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Tag Archives: EU Politics

How the EU’s fiscal rules should be reformed

Two key principles have sat at the heart of the EU’s fiscal rules since the Maastricht Treaty: that governments should run budget deficits no higher than 3% of GDP and maintain a public debt no higher than 60% of GDP. Piotr Arak, Łukasz Czernicki and Jakub Sawulski argue the use of broad fiscal targets of this kind is no longer sustainable and that a new system is needed for the post-pandemic world. Current fiscal rules in the EU are unsustainable. Almost every member state is in...

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How trade unions lobby the EU over emissions trading

The role of trade unions in climate policies is often overlooked. Drawing on new research, Adrien Thomas shows how interorganisational bargaining with companies and employers’ organisations strongly influenced European trade unions’ negotiating positions on the latest reform of the EU Emissions Trading System. Trade unions have a sizeable presence in the high-emission sectors most impacted by decarbonisation such as manufacturing, extractive industries and power generation. In a recent...

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Group collapse and strategic switching: Why MEPs change their affiliations in the European Parliament

It is relatively common for MEPs to change their political group in the European Parliament, but what explains this behaviour? Drawing on a new study, Aaron R. Martin writes that while group switching is often assumed to be a strategic choice, over half of the switches that took place in the European Parliament between 1979 and 2009 were non-strategic moves triggered by the collapse of an existing group. Across the first seven European Parliament terms, around 10% of members changed...

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Innovative, digital, green, smart: Setting out a new growth model for Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe

Covid-19 has amplified the structural challenges that economies in Central Eastern and South Eastern Europe are facing. Áron Gereben and Patricia Wruuck write that the region needs to shift its approach to leave the threat of the middle-income trap behind and boost growth prospects in a post-pandemic world. Innovation, digitalisation, climate-change mitigation and a focus on skills should form the foundations for this new growth model. The ‘old growth model’ of Central, Eastern and...

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Understanding the role of European Council summits in reaching the Good Friday Agreement

One of the most sensitive issues during the Brexit process has been the impact of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union on Northern Ireland. Darren Litter argues that against this backdrop, the important role that European Council summits played in the Northern Ireland peace process has largely been overlooked. The European Council is currently holding a two-day summit focusing on diverse challenges such as Covid-19, setting priorities for the single market, and relations with...

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What Blanchard gets wrong: The puzzling persistence of managerialism in EU fiscal governance

The Covid-19 pandemic has prompted renewed debate over the architecture of Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union. Marco Dani, Dario Guarascio, Joana Mendes, Agustin José Menéndez, Harm Schepel and Mike Wilkinson respond to a recent proposal to overhaul the EU’s current fiscal framework. They argue that while the EU’s fiscal rules should undoubtedly be reformed, a more radical solution is required that puts democratic politics at the heart of the EU’s fiscal governance. When, after the...

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Holding frequent national elections may lead to lower turnout in European Parliament elections

If citizens are frequently called upon to vote in elections, are they less likely to participate? Drawing on a new study, Jeffrey Nonnemacher investigates whether the number of national elections held in a country has an impact on turnout levels in elections for the European Parliament. He finds that when states hold several national elections across a short period of time, there is an observable decline in turnout in the following European Parliament election, particularly among low...

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How transnational party alliances in the European Union facilitate learning between national political parties

Many political parties in European countries belong to transnational party alliances, which are most visible in the party groups of the European Parliament. But do these alliances influence the policy platforms adopted by parties in domestic politics? Drawing on a new study, Roman Senninger, Daniel Bischof and Lawrence Ezrow illustrate how transnational alliances help facilitate learning and policy emulation between national political parties. Research on party competition usually...

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What Thomas Hobbes might say about Boris Johnson and the Northern Ireland Protocol

The EU has indicated it intends to pursue legal action against the UK over the extension of grace periods for post-Brexit checks on certain goods entering Northern Ireland from Britain. Vittorio Bufacchi argues that while the UK’s approach may bring short-term benefits, these will be insignificant when set against the long-term reputational costs that come with breaking international agreements. Pacta Sunt Servanda: “commitments must be honoured”. We owe this phrase to the 17th century...

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How opposition to gender equality is expressed by radical right MEPs in the European Parliament

Issues affecting gender equality are frequently debated in the European Parliament. Drawing on a recent study, Johanna Kantola and Emanuela Lombardo present new findings on how radical right MEPs express opposition to gender equality during plenary sessions. The European Parliament is a unique transnational representative and democratic institution. It also has a reputation for being the most pro-gender equality actor among the EU’s decision-making institutions. The proportion of women...

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