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Category: Eurozone

Euroscepticism during the debt crisis in Portugal and the mass media´s focus on national politics

Written by Britta Baumgarten and Vicente Valentim.

Portugal was one of the countries most affected by the European sovereign debt crisis. Following the external IMF/EU intervention on the country in 2011, the economic crisis and the current and future state of the European Union became a major theme in the public debate in the country.

Socio-economic drivers of the 2016 Italian referendum vote

Written by Silvia Merler.

On December 4th 2016, Italy held a constitutional referendum in which almost 60% of the voters decided against a reform proposed by the government. The vote triggered the resignation of Prime Minister Renzi and opened a phase of political transition that will lead to new elections in 2018. In light of the elections ahead it is important to understand the factors driving this vote.

François Fillon’s coup de théâtre shocks and dismays

Written by Paul Smith.

For much of the morning of March 1, the French media was buzzing with the news that François Fillon might be about to drop out of the 2017 presidential race. The rumours started flying the moment it was revealed, a little before 8am, that Fillon was postponing his trip to the Salon de l’Agriculture event in Paris, and would instead be holding a press conference at his campaign HQ. The announcement could not have been more last minute. Members of Fillon’s own team, waiting outside the exhibition centre, only found out by phone.

Italy says “No” to Renzi and she says it loudly

Written by Annalisa Cappellini

The Italian Constitution seems to be the biggest winner of the referendum on constitutional reforms that took place yesterday in Italy: in an era of political disengagement and low electoral participation 70% of Italian voters went to the polling station to have their say on its proposed modifications; over 19 million people (60%) said “no” to such changes. They said “no” to a reform the seemed to be both too rushed and badly written.

Matteo Renzi, on the contrary, appears to be biggest loser of this referendum, that he himself decided to turn into a vote on his government. He took a gamble, like Cameron did with the Brexit vote; Renzi took this gamble when all the political circumstances were in his favour but then the wind changed and he got wiped out, like many others political leaders.

How Marine Le Pen could become the next French president

Written by Paul Smith.

Never one to miss a bandwagon when it passes, Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right Front National, was one of the first European politicians to congratulate Donald Trump on his election victory.

For the demagogic populist Le Pen, Trump’s win, like the Brexit vote, is the victory of the “people” against the “elites”.

Setting aside the ludicrous nature of anyone claiming the victory of a billionaire who inherited his riches as a blow against the established order, Le Pen’s intervention is important. France is facing its own presidential election in April and May of 2017 and Le Pen aims to win it.

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.

Britain could become a global power – if it stays in the EU

Written by Mark Walters.

Even after weeks of campaigning, both sides of the referendum campaign have focused entirely on the short-term impacts of the debate. But the question really has to be where Britain will be in ten or 20 years from now.

And the future looks bright for Britain. It is actually on the brink of becoming the most powerful nation on the planet. But it has to remain in the EU to realise the ambition.

Before Brexit looked like a real possibility, the Centre for Economics and Business Researchpredicted that the British economy would overtake Germany’s as the largest in Europe by the 2030s.

The Referendum Result: We’ve Got It Now!

Written by Christopher Pierson.

Britain remains in the grip of referendum fever with each side producing more and more frightening images of the Armageddon that awaits us on the other side of 23rd June if we make the wrong choice.

Meanwhile, the Swiss (who are more used to this kind of thing) had a series of referenda last weekend, including one on the introduction of a guaranteed basic income for every Swiss citizen.  A guaranteed basic income is a payment made regularly to all citizens solely on the basis of their citizenship and paid to them irrespective of their working status, their income or indeed any other non-citizenship characteristic.   The idea (amongst it supporters) is not to provide a ‚minimum‘ payment (a floor beneath which no-one should be allowed to fall) but rather to support the maximum sustainable payment (consistent with other economic imperatives). The sum provisionally suggested for payment in Switzerland was CHF2,500 (about £1,765) per month.

Corrupt politicians can only look on in horror as Mr Integrity takes Italian presidency

By Catherine Gegout

Italy has a new president in the form of Sergio Mattarella, a 73-year-old constitutional judge from Sicily. Mattarella was elected to the role in the wake of the retirement of Giorgio Napolitano, who had held the post for nearly a decade.

The president of Italy has limited powers: he or she guarantees that politics complies with the Italian constitution, but real political responsibility remains with the government. However, the election of Mattarella is important for both the centre-left prime minister Matteo Renzi and his Democratic Party. Mattarella represents integrity, and has made no secret of his contempt for the kind of politics that has bolstered the interests of former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi over the years.

In securing the job for Mattarella, who is a former Christian Democrat, Renzi has humiliated his main rival Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister who is still leader of Forza Italia.