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Category: Eastern Europe

Brexit: Britain’s Identity as Europe’s Empty Space

Written by Oliver Daddow.

In 2009, visitors to the Justus Lipsius Building in Brussels, home to the Council of Ministers, were greeted in the expansive entry foyer by a huge 3-D art installation called Entropa (see Image 1). It was commissioned by the Czech government to mark its Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Andropov’s ghost: language and society under global governance

Written by Mladen Pupavac and Vanessa Pupavac.

Frankly, we don’t know the society in which we live and work enough.

So General Secretary Yury Andropov warned the Soviet Communist Party Plenum in June 1983. Andropov’s speech was made a few months before one of us started a degree in Slavonic languages, and a year before the other began military service in the Yugoslav People’s Army. Andropov is now been quoted in the Russian media about the US political establishment, confronting not knowing the society in which they live.

The rude awakening of the US political establishment to the election of Donald Trump on 8 November is not the first political earthquake this year. There was similar political shock across the European political establishment at the British referendum result in June to leave the European Union.

Brexit: Europe’s new nationalism is here to stay

Written by Simon Toubeau.

It is something of a tragic irony that the European Union – originally constructed to lay to rest the atavistic nationalist impulses of the 20th century – is today behind the resurgence of such feelings across much of Europe. The British referendum that has delivered a vote for “Brexit” is the latest, dramatic indication that this nationalism is here to stay.

This nationalism has brewed largely in reaction to how the EU has evolved over the past few decades. What started as a common market grew to embrace a single currency, the Schengen area and integration in justice and home affairs. All this has diluted core aspects of national sovereignty: states have less control over macro-economic policy, borders and people.

How Macedonia found itself at the centre of Europe’s refugee crisis

Written by Ljubica Spaskovska.

Distressing scenes have been unfolding on Macedonia’s border with Greece, where police have been using tear gas on refugees attempting to break through a razor wire fence designed to keep them out.

Given the recent tone of the debate about the migrant crisis, it is all too easy to dismiss this response as heavy handed. But Macedonia is a small state caught up in a domestic crisis of its own. It aspires to join Europe but has seen many of its would-be partners turn their backs on this shared burden.

Introducing a new Nottingham project on the legacy of dictatorships

Written by Anja Neundorf.

Dr. Anja Neundorf from the School of Politics and International Relations started working on a new project that is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Secondary Data Analysis Initative. This project will study the legacy of past authoritarian regimes on its citizens’ political attitudes today. Here we are talking with Dr. Neundorf about this new research project.

How the European Union could still fall apart

Written by Ettore Recchi. 

Some say the true capital of the EU is not Brussels, where the European Commission, Council and Parliament lie, but rather Frankfurt, the seat of the European Central Bank (ECB). After all, it is the ECB that has done most to overcome the severest threat to European integration. In the wake of the sovereign debt crisis, ECB president Mario Draghi’s 2012 promise to do “whatever it takes” to rescue the euro is one of the most successful speeches ever made by a EU politician.

In Frankfurt, a short walk from the new ECB headquarters takes you to the Paulskirche. There, in 1848 an early parliament was elected by all the small sovereign states of the German-speaking world. It was an exciting moment, a forward-looking project towards a unified Germany. But the fire of enthusiasm was soon extinguished. The parliament lasted no more than a year, and in 1849 its representatives started to desert it until it was eventually disbanded.

Europe wades into debate over Poland’s constitutional crisis

Written by Fernando Casal Bértoa and Simona Guerra.

Poland’s prime minister Beata Szydło recently found herself summoned to the European Parliament in Strasbourg to defend her government over accusations that its commitment to democratic values is on the slide.

This was an unprecedented meeting. The parliament had called a debate under the auspices of a law introduced in March 2014, giving it the right to question a national government if it thinks a systemic threat to democracy is about to take place in a European country.

In Poland’s case, concerns were raised over government plans to limit the power of the national constitutional court, and change the way the media is governed and civil servants hired.

By welcoming Syrian refugees, Serbs hope to salvage their reputation

Written by Vanessa Pupavac and Mladen Pupavac.

Serbia’s reputation has suddenly been dramatically rehabilitated, taking it from being seen as the worst nation in Europe to being among the most open and tolerant. While Hungary is busy fencing itself in and authorising the use of rubber bullets against refugees and migrants, Serbia has been keeping its borders open and promising to be a good host.

As Andrew MacDowell asked in Politico: “Wait, the Serbs are now the good guys?

It’s certainly a sea change. Back in the summer, Bosnian Muslims attacked Serbia’s prime minister Aleksandar Vučić at a Srebrenica massacre commemoration. They were angry at the presence of the former ultra-Serbian nationalist Vučić, whose official condemnation of “this horrible crime” did not go as far as recognising the killings as genocide.

Regulating European Party Politics: Causes and Consequences

By Fernando Casal Bértoa

The question of how political parties are, and ought to be, regulated, has assumed increased importance in recent years. The legitimacy crisis experienced by the parties themselves, and also their progressive codification in public law, including national constitutions or party finance laws, have raised important questions, ranging from the motivations inspiring specific regulations to their effect on the parties and the party systems, and the underlying conceptions of the role and place of political parties in modern democracies.

Interestingly enough, and notwithstanding the fact that, both in Europe and elsewhere, political parties have increasingly (see figure 1) been subject to regulations governing their external activities or determining the way in which their internal organisation may function, none of the abovementioned questions has received the necessary attention, neither from political scientists nor from constitutional lawyers. Indeed, the few works dealing with the subject are mostly descriptive and lack a comparative dimension.