Scotland has a history of its own when it comes to the concept of Union. From the Act of Union in 1707 with England and Scotland forming Great Britain, to the Scottish Devolution referendum in 1997 and the upcoming independence referendum in 2014, is Scotland setting a precedent also in the European Union?
The most common expression to describe the status of the European Union enlargement in the times of the Eurozone crisis is “enlargement fatigue”. But besides being more or less willing to accept new members, is the EU still as attractive, in a moment when it seems shaken by centrifugal forces?
In the current profound financial crisis, most European member states wish they did not lack the freedom of decision-making with regards to their economic and monetary policies. But there is one thing they have not surrendered to Europe: their national identity.
Call it “multi-speed”, “core Europe” or even “variable geometry”, there is one thing that we are sure of since Prime Minister Cameron’s speech last Wednesday: this terminology constitutes the new future of the European Union, but maybe also its demise.
“If you do not believe in miracles, you should not work in European affairs” said a German official about the budget negotiations. In fact, these negotiations highlight the lack of solidarity among member states in a time of crisis, and give an example of European disintegration.
Campaigning for another kind of Europe or leaving the EU altogether – catchwords we have been reading quite often in the news lately. Sonja Puntscher Riekmann, Director of the Salzburg Centre of European Union Studies and Vice-President of the European Forum Alpbach, explains to Nouvelle Europe why this discourse is not only limited to new, marginal parties and how they are setting the political agenda.
The rejection of the constitutional treaty by referendum in France and in the Netherlands in 2005, as well as the current threat of an in/out referendum on the EU in Great Britain, has cast light on the enduring debate about the democratic deficit and the crisis of legitimacy in the EU. What is at stake and are there possible ways out of this doom and gloom?
Sustainability – policy-making’s new buzzword. Definitions vary but by and large the consensus defines it as sense of the capacity to support, maintain and endure. Applied to environmental preservation and policy-making, sustainable development conveys the idea of efficient resource management so as to meet human needs while preserving resources and the environment for future generations.
The best known achievements in spaceflight are most likely Yuri Gagarin’s first human orbital flight and Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the Moon. Both have been achieved by the two space-superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union. Their dominance in the human exploration of space makes it easy to forget that Europe has a space programme as well.
2012 has been an election year in the European Union’s Eastern neighborhood. The year started with presidential elections in Russia, followed by parliamentary elections in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine. Even though the electoral saga continues in 2013 with presidential elections in the South Caucasus, the most critical elections are now behind us. What are the outcomes? Have elections brought the Eastern neighborhood closer to substantive, if not procedural, democracy?