Why should we care about the US presidential election? Yes, there are differences between Obama and Romney. And yes, these differences are all but negligible. But do these differences, these contrasts in the policies they propose, really relate to us?
In the last 2012 French Presidential Election, the surge of populism constituted a major component of the political campaign. In the United States, the Tea Party has caught media and politicians’ attention alike, gaining a strong political voice, as the designation of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate suggests.
While Merkel, Cameron and Sarkozy denounce multiculturalism as being a failure, a black president is running the US.
“The European welfare is dead”: This strong criticism reveals and justifies a certain rejection of the welfare state in the United States. Despite some evolution since the Clinton era and a revitalisation during the Obama administration, the forces pushing against its development seem to remain strong, using the media as its main support.
As we all know, ever since the 1980’s working class electorates in Europe have opted for far right parties in great numbers. Indeed, parties like the Front National in France or the British National Party went from being ultra-conservative to advocating a statist and economically protectionist platform.
“We know that anywhere in the world, where women prosper, societies prosper. In the interest of everyone is to include women in every part of society,” Catherine Ashton recently said in New York. Her statement shows well that the European Union defines itself as protector of women's rights in its actions at the European as well as the international level.
The economic crisis that continues to affect both the American and European economies has contributed to the re-launch of the debate on the negotiation of a transatlantic free trade agreement (FTA). While the establishment of a working group on EU-US trade relations shows the commitment of both parties’ to a thorough reflection process on the possibility of an FTA, obstacles to its realisation should not be underestimated. Furthermore, the impending US Presidential election raises the question of which candidate will be most willing to address these obstacles and work towards a more integrated transatlantic market.
There is a Hungarian saying that the Hungarians and the Poles are good friends and will stay together for better or for worse. This saying seems to be reconfirmed in some of today's socio-political debates. As far as abortion and other sexual, reproductive and health rights (SRHR) are concerned, “Hungary is polandising,” Judith Wirth, Policy Officer at NaNe Women's Association from Budapest, argued at the conference “Women, Gender and Feminism(s) in the V4 Countries”.
Women in Central Europe experienced the bloom of democracy and liberalized economies since they got rid of communist regimes. These transitions gave birth to many expectations, as did the 2004 EU accession. But what is the actual position of women in economies and particularly in labour markets? What are their challenges and future perspectives?
Is EU enlargement a successful foreign policy instrument? What are the effects of enlargement on specific countries? Where does the EU stand now and what is the future of enlargement? These are just some of the questions asked on 29 April 2011, at the conference “Candidate Countries: With or Without You?”