The EU’s foreign policy has sometimes been described as imperialist. However, the latest crisis in Libya demonstrates once more the EU’s resemblance to an Unidentified Political Object (UPO), with little sense of direction. Yet, should we put our heads in the sand and resign? No, it is high time the EU adopted a clear strategy and positioned itself in the international system of the 21st century. Rather than an empire or an UPO the EU could become a regional Ordnungsmacht.
The AKP, the Justice and Development Party, was created in Turkey in 2001 and won the general elections in 2002 with 34.3% of votes. While some see the AKP as a model of moderate Islam within more or less democratic framework, others regard it with suspicion as a party having a “hidden agenda” aiming to restore Sharia law in Turkey. How to explain the AKP’s discourse and success?
In the aftermath of the Orange Revolution of 2004 and following the Ukraine-Russia energy crises of 2005-09, the country’s ‘Western shift’ towards the EU appeared to be a mere question of time. Five years later, these expectations turned out to be too optimistic. How to explain the ‘enlargement fatigue’ on both sides of the frontier between Ukraine and the EU? And what influence can the UK have on the process?
The return of Roma from France to Romania and Bulgaria is not a new phenomenon. Europea Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) reported that France has been returning Roma to these countries under various schemes in significant numbers since at least 2007. What is new with expulsions of Roma that occurred in 2010 and why this issue never came into focus before? But before, passed the common picture and prejudice we have of them, what do we know about the European Romani population?
Euro-scepticism is said to be widely spread among British public. A quick look at the press seems to confirm it : virulent (and sometimes vulgar) frontpages against the EU help sell big newspapers by millions. But to what extent does it reflect the British public opinion ? Does it mean that trust in the EU is lower than trust in national political institutions ?
What is the Turkish public’s degree of optimism regarding EU-Turkey relations after this endless process of accession negotiations that is intermittently re-launched without ever being concluded? Does the Turkish public, today, actually want Turkey to be a member of the Union? Do the recent claims that Turkey lost its faith in the West reflect the truth?
Why British governments are traditionally in favour of enlargement? How to explain widespread euroscepticism in the UK? And what about the credibility of the Hungarian presidency? Maurice Fraser, a senior fellow in European Politics at the London School of Economics, shares with us his opinion.
Zeynep Özler, a Turkish expert for the Economic Development Foundation (IKV), sets out her viewpoint about Turkey's situation within the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM).
In the second part of this interview, Simon Hix, professor in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science, puts into perspective the use and reach of referendums in member states. He also gives us some pronostics about the future of political Europe.
Simon Hix is professor in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He provided evidence to the European Scrutiny Committee in the House of Commons during the parliamentary debates on the EU Bill. In this interview to Nouvelle Europe, he gives his impressions on the significance and relevance of this piece of legislation which requires a referendum before any further transfer of power to the EU.