Talking of the decline of the Left and the Right has become commonplace in European politics. The message is the same: they are are “old” categories which make little sense nowadays. If we accept as true the common knowledge of the convergence of the Left and the Right, there are two questions to be asked about it: the first is “why could this have happened” while the second is “is there anything that can be done about it?”
Thatcher’s TINA-Principle (“There is no alternative”) seems to apply in the European fabric of austerity measures. Economic refugees, downright cuts in public spending for welfare, health, pension and educational systems are their severe consequences. These are policy issues that traditionally concern the Left that leaves the policy room yet untrodden. How come?
In many European nation-states, traditional left and right-wing parties are increasingly challenged, by voters who express their dissatisfaction by not going to the polls or voting for newly emerged and/or extremist parties, and by these parties, which present themselves as an alternative. But neither of these challenges has fundamentally threatened neither the left-right cleavage nor the existence of traditional left and right wing parties in any member state.
This article aims to glance beyond the legal and administrative dimensions of EU enlargement and integration and examine conceptions and expressions of identity, suggesting the possibility that, although it is always difficult to judge success and failure in foreign policy making, the notion of identity, if approached with caution, can provide with useful hints for understanding challenges in external and internal EU politics. In this light, a few years down the line, what challenges has enlargement posed to the EU in terms of identity?
Lampedusa is emblematic for “The Other Euro Crisis”. The number of people who seek sanctuary in the European Union and the life-threatening extent to which they go for refuge render it necessary to revisit our Common European Asylum System with due regard to the New Year’s special: The Recast Dublin Regulation (Dublin III). “A brave new world or a lipstick on a pig?” that is the question.
2014, marking the centenary of the First World War, is a landmark year for Europe. It may seem as a macabre birthday, for some, to celebrate the kick-off of the deadliest century in Europe, with its First World War erupting in the summer of 1914. Others may think that 100 years is far away, and that Europe is now immune from war. So why is it important to celebrate the centenary of the Great War?
Danièle Nouy may not be a well-known name to many Europeans yet, but she has an important role: starting in 2014, the European Central Bank (ECB) will be responsible for the supervision of the major banks in Europe. This is only a first element of the ‘Banking Union’ that Europe has called for since the financial crisis. Others have to follow - otherwise the ‘Banking Union’ will remain toothless.
Greece takes over the presidency of the Council of the European Union at a particularly trying time - for Greece and the whole Union. Before the European Parliament, Prime Minister Samaras underlined that Greece has suffered more than any other country before in the EU. Despite, Greece tries on its commitment to implement structural reforms. In the context of tense EU-Greek relations, are we to expect a radical reorientation of EU policy from the Greek presidency?
In the abundant Eurosceptic speech of the British Conservatives, one bête noire stands out: the Working Time Directive. First adopted in 1993 and twice modified since then, this piece of European legislation compels EU member states to adopt minimal norms of working time arrangements. As the debate heats up over its revision, let us ask an important question – is it just costly red tape?
Postcard-pictures of crispy brown Schnitzels and majestically dressed empress “Sissi” have circled the globe so many times that they have become the first images popping up in everyone’s mind when thinking of Austria. But what do you find when you dig a bit deeper, from the well known clichés to the real ‘typical’ traits of Austria? 130 young Europeans have given their answers.