Another look at ‘Europe’s New Fascists’

This recent story from The New York Times offers several chilling illustrations of the growing threat that extremist groups pose to democracy and human rights in Europe. As I have written in earlier posts, the protracted nature of the current economic crisis inevitably broadens and deepens public support for extremist agendas. The answer is notContinue reading “Another look at ‘Europe’s New Fascists’”

Scottish independence – it really matters

With all the attention given to who said what at the EU’s latest ‘crisis summit,’ it would have been easy to miss the news that Alex Salmond and David Cameron have agreed the basic details of a referendum on Scottish independence to be held in 2014. But even if you didn’t miss it, you couldContinue reading “Scottish independence – it really matters”

Back to the future? Fascism in Europe 21st century-style

European integration was launched in response  to the horrors that fascist dictatorship had meant for Europe in the 1930s-40s: war and genocide. In other words, fascism was supposed to be part of Europe’s past. During most of the postwar era, neo-fascist movements remained a marginal, albeit morally troubling, footnote in European politics. Virtually nobody imaginedContinue reading “Back to the future? Fascism in Europe 21st century-style”

Getting beyond Europe’s spend more / spend less debate

The debate over paths to economic recovery in Europe is often presented as a choice between austerity and stimulus. Less often heard in this debate is the range of options related to labour market reform. There are many ways that European states could reform their labour markets in an effort to promote sustainable growth, withContinue reading “Getting beyond Europe’s spend more / spend less debate”

The full Monti

Aidan Regan at the EUI has a fascinating account of Mario Monti’s thoughts on a range of European issues here. Monti is particularly keen on increasing the capacity for effective decision-making at European level, and indeed the slow-motion political response to the crisis in the Eurozone has revealed how badly this is needed. Monti wantsContinue reading “The full Monti”

Victory for Europe? Not yet

Over the last few weeks, various commentators described the multiple events of 12 September (yesterday) as the EU’s D-Day, a make-or-break final assault on the Eurozone crisis. One day on, things do seem to have gone quite well for EU stability: the ECB has announced an unlimited programme to buy bonds of Eurozone states (albeitContinue reading “Victory for Europe? Not yet”

Pure fantasy or realistic forecast?

The Economist published this week a lengthy and well-reasoned guess at the type of extreme options that some within the German government may — with emphasis on ‘may’ — be considering in response to the Eurozone crisis: namely, to break up the Eurozone by forcing a Greek exit, or even by forcing a multi-state exitContinue reading “Pure fantasy or realistic forecast?”

On economic crisis, democracy and European integration

The European media’s obsession with reading tea leaves from Frankfurt and bond yields from Madrid has blinded the public to the more fundamental issues at stake in the current crisis. This essay on the relationship between economic crisis, democracy and European integration by Nobel Prize-winning economist-turned-philosopher Amartya Sen helps to refocus the discussion.

The Myth of Exceptional Europe: The Failure of EU Foreign Policy

The notion of the European Union being an exceptional international actor is well established in the literature and dates from the very inception of ‘Europe’ as being a continental peace project. In today’s literature, while a number of variations on the theme exist, the dominant model is that of the Union as a ‘normative power’.Continue reading “The Myth of Exceptional Europe: The Failure of EU Foreign Policy”

No more integration without more representation !

Senior EU officials have just released a blueprint for another great leap forward in European integration, to be discussed by all 27 heads of state and government at this week’s summit meeting. Perhaps not surprisingly, this blueprint says little about the EU’s growing democratic deficit. Notwithstanding the urgency of the current crisis, it’s now highContinue reading “No more integration without more representation !”