Europedebate.ie

International perspectives on European politics and society

Has the EU Troika Adjustment Strategy Worked?

Regan_Aidan HDThe conventional wisdom among policymakers in Europe is that Ireland is recovering from the Eurozone crisis because it successfully implemented the EMU adjustment program (or the Memorandum of Understanding, MOU). This is broadly true, if one accepts the performance indicators used by the Troika (the European Central Bank (ECB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Directorate General (DG) for Finance in the European Commission). According to these actors, the fact that Ireland has re-gained access to international finance markets, in-itself, illustrates that their prescribed fiscal adjustment strategy has worked. The Irish government, they argue, have reduced their budget deficit, recapitalized failed banks and improved labor cost competitiveness. This has led to an improvement in the external current account imbalance, with the implication that the Irish are now in a position to pay-off their long-term debt. The seeds of an export-led recovery have been sown. Other counties should now follow the Euro-Irish strategy and impose similar austerity measures.

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Local and European Elections: Populist Politics or Effective Problem-Solvers?

Regan_Aidan HDElectoral turnout has been declining in all European parliamentary elections since 1979. This is part of a general decline in voter turnout across the western world. Political science research suggests that young people and those on low-incomes are less inclined to vote. This is the opposite for middle aged, middle-income earners. Middle-income voters are the core electoral constituent for most parties across member-states of the EU. This is an important observation. Until now, the young and precarious have been most affected by declining economic and employment performance in Europe. But at the same time they are also less inclined to vote.

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Euroscepticism and the protest vote: Do voters really support UKIP policies?

This blog post is the third in a series of posts that come from students of our Politics of the European Union undergraduate course. As part of the course, students were asked to write about an issue pertaining to European integration. The best blog posts have been selected to provide an opportunity to exceptional young scholars at UCD to contribute to the debate on the future of Europe, and to promote the insightful scholarship being undertaken at UCD to a wider public audience.

zackProfilePolThe United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK) has had a history of apprehension with regard to its membership within the European Union (EU), and closer regional, economic and political integration therein (Fitzgibbon: 2013; 105). This piece will examine the relationship between Euroscepticism in the UK and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), assess the support base for UKIP and will address the theories which seek to explain the support for UKIP.

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euandi – A voter advice application for the forthcoming European elections

James CrossWith the European elections fast approaching, informing voters about the politics and policies of the parties running in the election is an important undertaking. Of course, we cannot leave the provision of information to the parties themselves. The euandi project helps citizens make informed choices in their 2014 European Parliament (EP) vote.

Developed by the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, with the help of a cross-national team of scholars (including myself), the euandi project provides voters with a clear view of the European electoral campaign and their individual positions within it. Not only does the tool help people identify which political parties represent their views, but it also provides an innovative platform for community building, where people from all over Europe can connect with each other based on their political views. In addition, euandi will also be one of the largest public opinion measurement tools ever built. With the aim of attracting over 10 million users across Europe, it will result into the largest academic set of data available on public opinion in Europe.

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Iceland and the EU: Foul-weather Friends?

This blog post is the second in a series of posts that come from students of our Politics of the European Union undergraduate course. As part of the course, students were asked to write about an issue pertaining to European integration. The best blog posts have been selected to provide an opportunity to exceptional young scholars at UCD to contribute to the debate on the future of Europe, and to promote the insightful scholarship being undertaken at UCD to a wider public audience.

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Throughout the lifetime of the European project, enlargement has been a constant theme and relentless process. For the past decades the European Union has expanded in waves, to a background of constant negotiations with yet more prospective members. Often a highly contentious issue, each accession has attracts debate and the appetite for enlargement has been waning since the ‘big bang’ expansion of 2004, when 10 central and Eastern European countries joined. Despite this decline in support for enlargement, it remains a hugely successful EU policy, as each application and new member is affirmation that membership of this club is worthwhile and coveted; this is, by extension, endorsement of the entire project itself. Most prospective new members are Balkan or Eastern European, and naturally Ukraine (not yet an actual candidate country) is grabbing all the headlines at the moment.

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Varieties of Capitalism and European Integration

Regan_Aidan HDThe Eurozone crisis has resulted in a shift toward greater market liberalisation and flexibility rather than social protection and security. This seriously calls into question the notion of a ‘social Europe’, and the future direction of European integration more generally. In the study of comparative capitalism there has been a long debate on whether Europe integration has a ‘neoliberal bias’, which promotes convergence toward the Anglo-Saxon model of economic development. If so, there is a limited future for the social democratic countries of Northern European, the coordinated market economy of Germany, whilst it’s business as usual for the liberal market economies in the British Isles.

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The Problem with Enlargement

This blog post is the first in a series of posts that come from students of our Politics of the European Union undergraduate course. As part of the course, students were asked to write about an issue pertaining to European integration. The best blog posts have been selected to provide an opportunity to exceptional young scholars at UCD to contribute to the debate on the future of Europe, and to promote the insightful scholarship being undertaken at UCD to a wider public audience.

 

Marianne GrantThe next phase of European Union enlargement is set to be one of the most contentious yet. As is evident from recent clashes in the Ukraine, EU enlargement has the potential to provoke significant reactions from the Unions neighbours. As the EU approaches both Russian and Arab territory it is likely to experience more problems and it can be said that this will be a defining characteristic of a ‘new phase’ of European enlargement. This round has the possibility of being the most difficult, the most contentious and possibly most destabilising of all EU enlargements.

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More Strategists, Less Strategy: The Case for a European Defense University

Tamir-LandscapeIn December 2003 the European Council took one of its most ambitious and important steps so far in transforming the European Union into a unified and global security actor – it adopted and issued the European Security Strategy (ESS). To mark its tenth anniversary and reflect on its achievements, shortcomings and way ahead, the journal Studia Diplomatica devoted a special issue, edited by Professor Sven Biscop, to the ESS. Among the articles there is one by the current author which focused on a less well known aspect of the ESS, the call it entails to develop a European Strategic Culture as a way to further develop and institutionalize the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy. The article makes two arguments: first, that the EU does not need to construct a wholly new or common EU strategic culture; instead, a cohort of high-ranking security-related civilian and military officials must communicate and build upon existing shared threads of strategic culture, to form the basis for a European security-oriented worldview. Second, the best way to achieve this goal is through the establishment of a European Defense University designed to educate personnel to help promote the culture.

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A Dialogue with Prof Paul de Grauwe on the Power of Economic Ideas

Regan_Aidan HDWhy did the ECB not intervene in the sovereign bond markets when the crisis first erupted in Greece?

There are several reasons. One is German opposition.   Germans just don’t want to have it. Your question  then, might be, is why do the Germans not want it? Here it is a combination of different things. First, a basic misunderstanding that has not been explained to the Germans. The basic misunderstanding is they think this is just a case of creating money that will lead to inflation. This has a strong emotional content, an element of ‘just rejection’, it is something ‘bad’, it is very much emotional, linked to history, which makes people very upset. From my experience it is very difficult to talk to Germans about this, even German economists. That is one of the reasons.

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Lessons for the Ukraine crisis from a British television comedy

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A 28-year old British television comedy brings us salient lessons for the ongoing crisis in Ukraine. In it, a British Prime Minister is teasing out the implications of nuclear deterrence with his central European-accented scientific advisor. The adviser is pressing the newly installed Prime Minister to clarify the precise circumstances under which he will be willing to ‘press the button’ for a nuclear strike. The Prime Minister says, “I might, if I were given no choice.” But, the adviser replies, “…they will never put you in a situation where you have no choice. They’ll stick to their salami tactics.” This may indeed be what we are witnessing in Ukraine.

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