Don’t fear the Grexit (Unless you’re Greek)

Sam BrazysOver a month ago I declared that the Grexit was a fait accompli. As soon as Chancellor Merkel publicly declared it was a possibility it was the only end game. Why? Because Greek debt is (and has been) unsustainable and there were ever only two finishes to the crisis: debt-relief or Grexit. The former would be a nice thing to do in a world devoid of political reality, but, for several reasons, it is never going to happen. First, the overwhelming sense of many important creditor nations (and several peripheral ones) was that Greek debt has been a result of Greek profligacy, and those countries can’t ask their tax payers to foot the bill for early Greek retirement. Second, even if these leaders could summon the “statesmanship” necessary to face down their own electorates, relieving Greek debt would create an incredible moral hazard for the other Eurozone debtor nations. If Greece is worthy of a debt write down than surely Ireland? or Portugal? or Spain? How could the ECB, IMF or European Governments refuse? 250 billion € can be managed (heck, Quantitative Easing has printed that much already), a trillion+ would be a bit more challenging. Finally, while it has certainly been bad in Greece, many parts of the EU (and EMU) are still far poorer. As this chart shows, per capita spending on pensions of the Baltic states is significantly less than half that in Greece. Other social spending shows similar relationships. Those invoking the “morality” of debt relief in Greece must think that the Greek elderly are somehow more deserving than their Lithuanian counterparts. The Slovakian finance minister recently made clear that nominal debt relief is a “red line”.

read more

Greferendum: The Last Battle of Economic Ideas in Europe

Regan_Aidan HD

The Greek people have sent a resounding message to European institutions that they have had enough of their one-sided failed policy of austerity. The very fact that so many Eurocrats, policymakers, politicians and academics across the European continent, lambasted Alexis Tspiras and the Syriza leadership for daring to consult Greek citizens on whether or not they should accept the Troika bailout program, speaks volumes about just how out of touch they are with the impulses of democratic politics. In this commentary, Dr. Aidan Regan argues that the “Greferendum” can be considered the last battle of economic ideas in Europe and a direct challenge to the irresponsible economics underpinning the European policy response to the crisis.

read more

Whither Ireland and other Neutral and Non Aligned states in the new European Security Environment?

20140303-212650.jpgA fascinating and perhaps unforeseen corollary of Russia’s invasion, occupation and annexation of parts of Ukraine, is the reappraisal of security and defence in Europe’s neutral and non-aligned states. In the post-Cold War interregnum, these states were ideally placed to contribute to the construction of a new EU foreign and security policy grounded in collective security and active engagement in international security missions. Finland and Sweden in particular worked pro-actively to define an EU foreign policy shaped by a comprehensive security approach using the full range of tools at the EU’s disposal. Austria and Ireland overcame initial hesitancy to find themselves regular and sometimes significant contributors to UN-authorised, EU-led civilian missions and military operations in Africa, Asia and Europe – such as the Irish-commanded EUFor military operation in Chad in 2007. By Prof Ben Tonra, Head of School Politics and International Relations, UCD.

read more

Debunking Myths: What Really Explains the Irish Economic Recovery?


Regan_Aidan HDIt has been a truly remarkable few years for Ireland and the European Union. In the space of five years Ireland has gone from being the basket case of the European Monetary Union to it’s number one success story. Economic growth is now the strongest in the Euro area, and according to the most recent data, this growth is having a real impact on employment. The dominant narrative among policymakers in the EU is that other peripheral states of the Eurozone should follow the Irish adjustment back to the market. This leads to two important questions. First, what explains this remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Ireland? Second, why are other Eurozone countries who pursued a similar adjustment still struggling to recover? Dr. Aidan Regan argues that the Irish recovery has nothing to do with the Troika-led adjustment of austerity and everything to do with the path dependent effect of a state-led developmental strategy.

read more

Negotiating in Bad Faith: Who Should Decide the Grexit?

Regan_Aidan HD“It’s your fault, you got into this mess yourself”. “No, it’s your fault, you lent us all that money”. “You need structural reforms to generate growth”. “We have a humanitarian crisis on our hands”. “This is a Greek crisis of your own making”. “No, this is a crisis of the Euro area”. “You must implement reform if you want to stay in the single currency”. “You are trying to push us out of the Euro currency”. “This is about reform”. “No, it is about economic ideas”. 

read more

The Effects of Direct Effects: An Analysis of the Problems surrounding the implementation of EU environmental policies in Ireland and how they might be resolved

1174982_10200563944529498_160016177_naThis blog post is the third in a series of posts that come from students of our 3rd year undergraduate “Politics and Policy Making in 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. 

read more

Asylum Seekers Being Left to Suffer Under EU Policies

IMG_1215

This blog post is the second  in a series of posts that come from students of our 3rd year undergraduate “Politics and Policy Making in 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. 

read more

Development of Targeted EU Policy: Doping in Sport

AAEAAQAAAAAAAANoAAAAJDY5MjRhZWMxLTkwYTAtNDc4My04ZDBhLTM2ZTRiZmFhOTJiNQ

This blog post is the first  in a series of posts that come from students of our 3rd year undergraduate “Politics and Policy Making in 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. 

read more

Self-determination processes in the EU: The case of Catalonia

copy-DEI_logo2.jpgThe Dublin European Institute (DEI), the Institute for British-Irish Studies (IBIS) and the Public Diplomacy Council of Catalonia (DIPLOCAT) cordially invite interested parties to participate in a live streaming seminar on “Self-Determination Processes in the EU: the Case of Catalonia”.

The event takes place on Weds March 25th from 9am to 12.30pm in Newman House, St. Stephens Green, Dublin 2. Please RSVP to info@diplocat.cat.

Conference Program

Book Review: Which Policy for Europe? Power and Conflict Inside the European Commission

MODUCD’s School of Politics PhD candidate, Muireann O’Dwyer, reviews: Which policy for Europe?: power and conflict inside the European Commission. Oxford University Press. This book is based on comprehensive new data from insider interviews, internal Commission documents, and a database of personal and structural Commission features. It aims to uncover the dynamics of policymaking within the Commission, and the internal negotiations which shape Commission decisions. Muireann finds the book to be a rigorous and timely contribution to research on the Commission’s role in the EU policy process.

read more