Security Through Integration? Europe’s Promise to Ukraine

IMG_1139This blog post is the first in a series of posts that come from students of our 2nd year undergraduate “Politics of the EU” course. As part of the course, students were asked to write about an issue pertaining to EU politics. 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 the EU, and to promote the insightful scholarship being undertaken at UCD to a wider public audience. 

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Europe, Ukraine and Russia: Where are we now?

cross.marieA Report from the Ninth Europe-Ukraine Economic Forum, Lodz, Poland, 24-26 January, 2016. By Marie Cross, Senior Fellow. Institute for International and European Affairs (IIEA)

On behalf of the IIEA, I attended a session of the Europe – Ukraine Economic Forum in Lodz, Poland on 24-26 January, organised by the Polish Foundation for Eastern Studies. It provided a useful opportunity hear the views of senior representatives from Ukraine and Russia and from the other states in Central and Eastern Europe, who were among the 350 or so attendees. There was also a significant representation from the EU, US and Canada. The sessions were organised along four panel discussions over 2 days. I chaired a discussion panel dealing with “Ukraine’s integration with the EU-a challenge for Europe, a homework for Ukraine”.

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‘Schuld I Stay or Schuld I Go?’ Germany, Greece, and the Politics of Debt and Blame

Luke FieldBy Luke Field, PhD researcher at UCD’s School of Politics and International Relations.

(with apologies to Joe Strummer)

The German word schuld has multiple meanings and translations, including ‘debt’, ‘guilt’, and ‘blame’. Whether this is a coincidence or a causal factor is not a matter for this blog, but it is certainly interesting, given that matters of debt in political economy are seen as moral issues as much as economic circumstances. This introduces a normative element to political economic problems. Indeed, The Economist recently suggested that cultural differences between Germany and Greece with regard to how debt is viewed may contribute to different perspectives on the Greek debt crisis and proposed resolutions.

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Ideology, Morality and Rationality: The Uncomfortable Bedfellows of European Integration

Ideology as Insult

Daniel-Listwa-webBy Daniel Listwa. MA in Philosophy and Public Affairs at University College Dublin.

As the Euro Crisis heated up this past summer, I observed as a level of consensus arose among American, and other English-speaking, audiences with regard to what was happening in the Eurozone: the Germans, driven by moral ideology, set out to extract their pound of flesh from the Greeks, who, in German eyes, had irresponsibly spent beyond their means. Supported by the frequently pessimist writings of leading Keynesian economists like Paul Krugman and Joseph Stigliz, this narrative presented the German government as irrational and misguided, stating for example, “[t]hey were not orthodox economists following their models to their logical conclusion” (Krugman, 2015a). Rather, they were ideologues, subjugating reason to “morality-play economics,” and “political preference,” which has led Germany to impose harsh austerity and vast reforms on Greece, to Greece’s detriment (Krugman, 2015a and 2015b)

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Saving capitalism: for the few or the many?

The Brave New World of Central Banking, Monetary Policy and Economic Inequality

Aidan RLet me start with an important empirical observation. Europe is the richest region in the world. Private wealth and private capital is equal to 6-7 times national income in most Euro area countries, even 8 times national income in some countries, such as Italy. Yet at the same time the public sector and European governments are poor, youth unemployment is at an all time high, and economic inequality is rising.

Europe has the highest capital/income ratio in the world yet economic growth is stagnant. To improve this we are being told that we need to reduce public sector deficits and that government debt is the problem. This is what we call austerity. Let’s think about that for a moment, as it is rarely commented upon. It’s indirectly discussed in Robert Reich’s new book: Saving Capitalism for the Many, not the Few.

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Social Democracy, a Second Leviathan?

Stephen O'ConnellThis blog post is the second in a series of posts that come from students of our 2nd year undergraduate “Capitalism and Democracy” course. As part of the module, students were asked to select and research a topic that is related to the global political economy of redistribution. 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 international politics, and to promote the insightful scholarship being undertaken at UCD to a wider public audience.

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Money for Nothing : Is QE increasing inequality?

DC

This blog post is the first in a series of posts that come from students of our 2nd year undergraduate “Capitalism and Democracy” course. As part of the module, students were asked to select and research a topic that is related to the global political economy of redistribution. 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 international politics, and to promote the insightful scholarship being undertaken at UCD to a wider public audience. 

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Merkel and Schäuble face an increasing number of party rebels

Version 2We are currently witnessing a new chapter in the politicisation of EU affairs in the German parliament, the Bundestag. German legislators were asked to vote on further aid measures for Greece three times this year, and support within Chancellor Angela Merkel’s and Finance Mininster Wolfgang Schäuble’s own party (the Conservative CDU) has gradually declined. On the 19th August, when the Bundestag ratified the third financial aid package for Greece, 1 in 5 Christian Democrats voted against the government. Who are these dissenters? Can the party leadership expect an increase in defecting voting behaviour?

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Gender equality in the EU: the mountain that gave birth to a mouse?

Lucie MartinUCD politics student Lucie Martin argues that on paper, gender equality is high on the EU agenda, but in practice major political and institutional hurdles remain.

In his 10 ‘Commandments’, President Juncker has committed to a more gender-balanced Commission; the European Parliament has maintained continued pressure on other institutions to present and adopt regulatory measures; and, just last month, Commissioner Jourova pledged to present a comprehensive legislative package on gender equality in 2016. This focus on gender equality shouldn’t come as a surprise; women can be the edge Europe needs to stay ahead in a competitive global setting.

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A Map of the Southern European Party System

AlexA guest post from Dr. Alexandre Afonso (University of Leiden).

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the rise of left-wing Euroscepticism in Southern Europe in the midst of the Eurozone crisis, with parties like Syriza and Podemos conquering power (in the case of the former) or appearing as serious challengers to mainstream parties (in the case of the latter). In the graphs below I have used recent data from the last round of the Chapel Hill expert survey 2014 on parties’ ideological placements, combined with the latest poll results I could find as of August 2015. The horizontal axis shows the position of parties on the economic left-right dimension, and the vertical axis their position regarding European integration. The size of the bubbles corresponds to to the electoral strength of each party as measured by polls. Here’s how it looks:

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