Brexit and the Idea of European Disintegration

Regan_Aidan HDBritain has voted to leave the European Union (EU), or more accurately, England has voted to leave. The majority in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar voted to remain. The opinion polls, the bookies and the markets did not predict this outcome. The mood of the nation, it would seem, is becoming increasingly difficult to measure. Or is it?

There is a lot of data suggesting that ‘immigration’ was the dominant concern for those who voted to leave the EU. This should not be too surprising. In the latest Eurobarometer data, immigration was cited as the main concern of UK citizens, alongside Germany and Denmark.

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Intergovernmentalism and the crisis of the Euro

AlShammaryThis blog post is the fifth 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.

The recent sovereign debt crisis witnessed during a tumultuous period of financial recession in Europe raises critical questions about the management of its seemingly multi-faceted system of economic governance. There is no doubt that the integration of economic systems at the supranational level comes with faults that end up affecting this economic union as a whole. This essay focuses in particular on the Greek crisis in order to explore the limitations of intergovernmentalism in addressing crises within the framework of regional integration. Further, it contends that structural challenges demean the current intergovernmental approach to solving existential problems related to regional integration.

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A victory for the ‘internationalist’ pro-Brexit left?

By Roland Erne*Roland

All European citizens have just been stripped of their European citizenship rights in Northern Ireland and Britain. Hence, no European right to vote in local elections, no European social rights (e.g. no European Health Insurance Card), and no European right to be treated equally anymore. What a ‘success’ for the ‘internationalist’ pro-Brexit left of Britain and Ireland!

As a result, European migration to the UK will be reduced significantly. But note, I mean student migration not labour migration.

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The Democratic Deficit of the Common Security and Defence Policy?

IMG_8819This blog post is the fourth 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.

The European Union (EU) has long been criticised in many of its aspects for lacking democratic legitimacy. Despite the presence of an elected European Parliament (EP), there are concerns that other institutions within the EU do not have the oversight or accountability that should be required of a supranational government. This is especially critical in the matter of security and defence, a policy area that is often cloaked in secrecy. The European Parliament and national parliaments, which do have democratic legitimacy, have only a limited range of power over the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and it’s actions. Whether this was an intentional action for leaders to evade domestic control or an unforeseen outcome of integration, it is clear that the CSDP is lacking in oversight and accountability. This democratic deficit within the CSDP creates several problems for both the EU and its member states, as it damages their legitimacy, continues a pattern of a lack of accountability in defence policy, and even further removes the European people from control over their peace and security.

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European Parliament election turnout: What is wrong, what has been done, and what further action could be taken?

Gareth Phelan PhotoThis blog post is the third 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.

Across Europe, voter turnout in European Parliament elections has been significantly lower than in national elections. As seen in Fig. 1, voters seem much more inclined to vote in their national level elections as opposed to those on the European level. Our aim is to examine the causes which produced such a phenomenon, before considering the measures introduced by the EU which seemed to encourage voter participation and, finally, what further action could be taken to close the wide gap we see in turnout between European Parliament and national elections.

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The Refugee Crisis: Pushing EU Integration to its Limit

JNCThis blog post is the second 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.

By the end of 2015, an estimated 1.2 million refugees applied for asylum in Europe [1]. The refugee crisis has put European Integration policies to the test, in particular the Schengen Agreement, which for many states continues to be questioned. In January 2016, Dutch migration minister Klaas Dijkhoff stated that EU member states would ask for permission to enforce strict border controls from May onwards, in order to control the staggering flow of immigrants from the Middle East and Africa [2]. The crisis itself, having stemmed from issues outside the EU has undoubtedly shed light on the conflicting interests of the various EU member states and their willingness to cooperate in times of crisis, thus posing one crucial question: can increased integration really work in the long run?

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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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