The Euro crisis is more than the breakdown of a currency – it is also causing a breakdown of trust between the EU’s members. Heather Grabbe argues that the competing narratives about who is to blame for the crisis have led to loss of trust that goes beyond the Euro. If the Germans cannot trust Greece to keep its financial house in order, then how can they trust Athens to keep the integrity of the Schengen area intact, or to recognise court decisions and arrest warrants? Now the EU’s task is not only to rebuild the Euro, but to rebuild trust in the institutions that allow EU law to be applied reliably across Europe.
Jan-Werner Müller presents a major account of political thought in twentieth century Europe. Müller argues that the Second World War was pivotal in shaping the democratic values so familiar in the European community. Although the author carefully considers the most familiar thinkers alongside those now forgotten, Bill Kissane feels that the book still tells only half the story.
Are 'modern societies' necessarily democratic societies and capitalist (or: market) societies? This is what most of the social sciences of the post-Second World War period have assumed, while only some strands of critical, often Marx-inspired approaches contested this connection. This essay briefly reconsiders the link between democracy and capitalism both in theoretical and historical terms to then advance a hypothesis about the current constellation of political and economic modernity which seems to be marked by a paradox. On the one hand, both democracy, apparently spreading through 'waves of democratization', and capitalism, as the outcome of economic globalization, seem to be without alternative. On the other hand, current capitalism is highly crisis-ridden and democracy, at least in Europe, witnesses strong signs of disaffection. In this light, the essay proposes to see the current constellation as the outcome of a democratic crisis of capitalism during the 1970s. The reasoning proceeds in five steps. First, we will reconsider theories that have assumed that there is a strong conceptual connection between democracy and capitalism. Secondly, we will briefly review the history of the relation between modern capitalism and modern democracy from their beginnings until the 1970s to refine the ideas about such conceptual link. These two steps...
"The Activation of Citizenship in Europe." Thomas Pfister. Manchester University Press. 2012. ---
In the past decade, welfare systems in Europe have experienced significant reforms, moving away from the idea of simple welfare compensation to greater investment in citizens’ social capital. This book looks at how this ‘social citizenship’ can be activated in national and European contexts by reinforcing political participation. Paulina Tambakaki finds that the book covers welfare modernisation across Europe over the past 15 years, with useful case studies from Germany, the UK and Hungary, but also that it is somewhat lacking in its discussion of exactly how and where political participation can reinforce social citizenship.
"Philosophy and Resistance in the Crisis: Greece and the Future of Europe." Costas Douzinas. Polity. May 2013. ---
This book is about the global crisis and the right to resistance, about neoliberal biopolitics and direct democracy, about the responsibility of intellectuals and the poetry of the multitude. Using Greece as an example, Costas Douzinas argues that the persistent sequence of protests, uprisings and revolutions has radically changed the political landscape. This new politics is the latest example of the drive to resist, a persevering characteristic of the human spirit. By asking if another world is possible, Douzinas presents some hope that the rebellion against austerity is perhaps a sign of a more democratic and equitable Europe to come, writes Jia Hui Lee.
"Democratic Institutions and Authoritarian Rule in South East Europe." Danijela Dolenec. ECPR Press. May 2013. --- Two decades on from the strife that plagued the former Yugoslavia, many see the widening of EU membership into Southeast Europe as signifying the rise of stable and functioning democracy in the region. In Democratic Institutions and Authoritarian Rule in South East Europe, Danijela Dolenec takes issue with this view, making comparisons with the far more democratically stable countries of Central Europe. Anne Corbett commends the book’s in-depth examination of the political structural legacies which have led to ‘locked in’ authoritarianism in much of Southeast Europe.
Across Europe, many politicians are increasingly using a populist, anti-European rhetoric to gain support, at the same time that European institutions are pushing to establish a sense of European community. By combining content analysis of the European Parliament and Commission’s online communications with staff interviews, Johannes Hillje finds that only a very small percentage of communications relate to the eurozone crisis or use European identity markers. He argues that European institutions can no longer afford to leave the debate on the crisis and future of Europe to others, and must work harder to promote a European identity.
Since its initial bailout by the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank in 2009, Greece has struggled to implement the agreed measures. Theofanis Exadaktylos and Nikos Zahariadis write that declining levels of public trust across Greek political institutions mean that the government’s efforts at reform will continue to be ineffective. They argue that a long-term change in cultural paradigms is needed to embed trust and enable reforms to take place.
Opinions on the EU’s democratic performance vary widely across the 27 member states. While
citizens in some states are highly critical of the EU’s institutions, others view them much more
positively. Pieterjan Desmet and Claes de Vreese argue that public opinion toward the
EU’s institutions can be shaped significantly by the quality of national political institutions within
a member state. In those states with well regarded political institutions, the EU is likely to seem
less democratic than it does to citizens living in a state with lower quality institutions.
The Politics of Precaution examines the politics of consumer and environmental risk regulation in the
United States and Europe over the last five decades, explaining why America and Europe have often
regulated a wide range of similar risks differently. It finds that between 1960 and 1990, American health,
safety, and environmental regulations were more stringent, risk averse, comprehensive, and innovative than
those adopted in Europe. But since around 1990, the book shows, global regulatory leadership has shifted to
Europe. What explains this striking reversal? Natalie Beinisch finds out.
Public unease with the European Union, Euro problems, and dysfunctional institutions give
rise to the real danger that the EU will become increasing irrelevant, just as its member states
face more and more challenges in a globalised world. Jean-Claude Piris, a leading figure in
the conception and drafting of the EU’s legal structures, works through the options available in
light of the economic and political climate, assessing their effectiveness. Reviewed
by Pierpaolo Perna.
There is general agreement that Europe has to go forwards or it will go backwards. There are concerns that a political union, which might be necessary to save the euro, would mean a further loss of national sovereignty, and that the European Union might become a new superpower. Within national capitals, politicians have for so long blamed Europe for difficult decisions, that they feel unable to mobilise political support for any new steps towards integration.
Until recently, the relationship between the United States and Europe constituted one of the most intimate in modern times. Indeed, as we ‘over here’ love reminding our American
friends ‘over there’, the United States was in the beginning a mere by-product of Europe – initially created by a rising European power in the form of Great Britain, then born out of a long war between Britain and France, and finally transformed into a world power in large part because of large-scale European migration between 1814 and 1914. Europe’s long twentieth century crisis, however, had a massive impact on the balance within this relationship, and by 1945 not only had Europe lost its place at the head of the international table but had become highly dependent on the United States itself. Still, in uncertain times, the US continued to need as many friends as it could muster, and whether one prefers to view the nature of the postwar
relationship in the more liberal sense of being a ‘community’, or in more realist terms as being one in which an American hegemon dictated terms to weak dependencies, matters less than in recognising how important the relationship was to become to both countries during the Cold War. Thus, Europe needed the US to survive in a bipolar world: the United States...
Just when parts of the European integration project seem to be in significant amounts of trouble, Chinese leaders are beginning to open their eyes to the need for more in-depth
cooperation with both the Union itself and with individual European countries. After years of relative neglect, when China’s main priorities have been the United States, the eastern Asian region, and the main developing economies (roughly in that order), Europe is now coming into fashion for discussion in Beijing, both as opportunity and threat. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that the global financial crisis of 2008 and the recession that followed have shown how dependent the Chinese economy is on European markets. The second reason is that some Chinese analysts have begun believing that Europe, in spite of its internal instability, may serve as a genuine balancer in international affairs during a period of US decline, helping
smooth the transition to a more multipolar world. There are both possibilities and challenges in these perceptions, but there is little doubt that for some time at least China’s interest in Europe will be at an all-time high.
"Right-Wing Populism in Europe: Politics and Discourse." Ruth Wodak, Majid KhosraviNik, Brigitte Mral (eds.). Bloomsbury Academics. March 2013. --- Right-wing populist movements and related political parties are gaining ground in many EU member states. This book aims to provide an overall picture of the dynamics and development of these parties across Europe and beyond. Combining theory with in-depth case studies, it offers a comparative analysis of the policies and rhetoric of existing and emerging parties including the British BNP, the Hungarian Jobbik and the Danish Folkeparti. Theofanis Exadaktylos finds that this is an excellent addition to the growing literature on the study of right-wing extremism and nationalism, useful for students and scholars alike.
The old cliché states, “Money doesn’t make you happy”, but is this really true? In new research, Carlos Riumallo-Herl finds that wealth had an insulating effect against depression for older workers who lost their jobs during the Great Recession in the U.S. He finds that in comparison to workers in the U.S., those in Europe with low wealth who were made unemployed at the same time did not suffer from depression. He argues that this can be explained by the greater generosity of European unemployment safety nets which mean that people did not have to draw on their own wealth whilst unemployed, and were thus more financially secure.
What do fictional portrayals of political issues say about the views within a society? Steven Fielding notes that while political fiction is an important part of British culture, portrayals of Europe and the issue of European integration are rare. Where the European issue is mentioned, it tends to be connected to corruption, or dystopian visions of the future in which a United States of Europe has superseded nation states. He argues that the fictional portrayal of Europe illustrates the depth of mistrust the EU generates in British citizens.
Since its origins, there have been competing views concerning the nature, scope and objectives of the process of integration and of the European Union. Attitudes towards Europe and European integration, both among political elites and citizens, have been much studied over the last 15 years. But there is no comprehensive analysis of these competing views of Europe at the supranational level. Stuart A. Brown reviews Nathalie Brack and Olivier Costa’s edited collection on the divergence in views about the European Union, which lends insight into its consequences for the functioning of the EU and its institutions.
The Introduction – together with the conclusion – provides a framework for the
three substantial contributions of this PhD project. It begins with sketching a
puzzle that motivates research on the political economy of structural reforms in
Europe, namely the inconsistency between the commitment of governments to
reform and the actual reform track record across the countries. It discusses the
nature and ﬁndings of the relevant multidisciplinary political economy literature. Paper One addresses the puzzle why the ﬁrst major post-war overhaul of
the German political economy – the ‘Agenda 2010’ reforms – was undertaken
in 2003 by a social-democratic government and not by any of the conservative
governments that preceded it. It ﬁnds that the lack of government cohesion, the
federal legislative system and corporatist structures remain important determinants for institutional stability and change in Germany. Paper Two develops
a theoretical argument as to why corporatist European economies may live
through extended periods of economic underperformance without signiﬁcant
reform. Building on this argument, it presents a formal model, from which it
derives a set of determinants for structural reforms, and ﬁnally illustrates these
by exploring the causes for reform in Germany and Sweden. Paper Three uses
a new database on labour market reform to show that corporatist structures
have an intermediating eﬀect on the determinants of structural reform policies.
It ﬁnds evidence that the interests of employer organisations and trade unions
matter for the labour market reform trajectories in countries with corporatist
features. Political partisanship and economic crises matter more in pluralist
This thesis explores the European Parliament's construction of European identity in enlargement discourse between 1962 and 2004. It focuses on the idea of "Europe" a constructed by the European Parliament over the past 50 years, analysing both the way which MEPs discuss the idea of Europe and European identity and also looking through the lens at the development of what has so far been a largely neglected institution in the historiography of European integration. The European Parliament is a common subject of political science studies, which often focus on the dynamics of party politics and elections. European identity is also a ubiquitous subject of many political science, sociological, and historical works. Historians of European integration, however, have dedicated little attention to either. This work thus places itself at the intersection of the literature on the idea of European identity, the European Parliament, and European enlargement.
The thesis makes a contribution to the understanding of the historical development of a European identity discourse with the enlargement context, showing how one amongst the Community institutions attempted to legitimise the expansion and continuation of the process of European integration through the discursive construction of a European idea. It traces the main themes that emerge over the years out of this construction...